Doing it for the ‘gram can have serious consequences. One Instagram model learned this the hard way while on vacation in the Bahamas—and had a shark chomp down on her arm while she was posing for photos in the water.
It happened when 19-year-old Katarina Zarutskie waded into the ocean in an area rife with nurse sharks. As her boyfriend and his family stood on the beach, they snapped photos of Katarina, who was apparently unaware that she was about to become shark bait. The impromptu photo shoot ended when one shark swam up to her and bit her left arm.
Zarutskie has about 30,000 followers and runs a blog called Vogue and Vegetables. She’s since made her Instagram private, so her original post is no longer visible online. According to Buzzfeed, she initially posted about her ordeal with the caption, “PSA: Sharks are cute and can nibble at times if not careful.”
In several interviews, Zarutskie talked about her shark encounter.
“A lot of locals that were just excited and encouraging me to swim with them and I saw it as another opportunity to connect with nature,” she told Good Morning America. “Next thing I knew, I was underwater and I felt this and then pulled my hand above my head and I knew I couldn’t get my hand in the water,” she said later in the interview. “When they see blood, that means food. Adrenaline was kicking in and I just knew I needed to get out of the water.”
She told Florida news station WSVN that she’s been taking several medications to treat her wound, which doctors are monitoring. But she has no regrets.
“[My boyfriend and his parents] were screaming at me not to do it,” she said. “It’s just a once in a lifetime experience … I don’t regret it.”
Though this is a promoted experience featured on the Staniel Cay Yacht Club website (where Zarutskie tagged her photo), swimming near potentially threatening sea creatures is concerning. Plus, but it seems like social media pressure could have played a role in Zarutskie’s decision to pose in shark-infested waters.
Instagram, as we all know, is not reality. But sometimes that line is blurred. Back in 2015, more people died attempting to capture the ultimate selfie than from shark attacks. Jjust a few days ago, three popular YouTubers died while standing on the edge of a waterfall in British Columbia. From Zarutskie’s injury to these recent deaths, remember that no snap is worth such a sacrifice.