Like so many other aspiring models, 19-year-old Stevie Alger signed on to promote a local swimwear brand via Instagram. She agreed to do a photoshoot with Aquadiva Swimwear, and plug their wares to her 43,000 followers.

But a harsh message from Aquadiva’s owner caused Alger to disassociate herself from the brand completely — and accuse them of bullying.

The trouble started when owner Allison Appleby messaged Alger on Instagram to let her know they’d be displaying her photo in their store.

In Instagram messages that have since been deleted, Appleby said she would be using a photo of Alger from their Instagram account on a “huge poster” in their physical storefront. Alger expressed her hesitance about using that specific photo.

“I just don’t really like that photo of myself and my boyfriend and all my friends will be there competing so I’m just self conscious but I know I can’t really do anything about it,” Alger wrote.

That's when Appleby blew up.

“This is such a rude and immature way to treat us,” she wrote. “You don’t seem to be self-conscious in your latest post with the way you are portraying your self image — sitting with your legs so far apart! It seems like you are just like a lot of other Insta girls — so fake.”


Shocked, Alger responded that it was “one of the meanest and rudest messages I’ve ever received.”

“I think it’s fair for every girl to feel self conscious from time to time,” she wrote.

Now, Appleby is accusing Alger of hurting her family-owned business by speaking out.

"She got one nasty bitch slap from me and now I'm getting hate mail from people who don't know the full story,” Appleby told The Daily Mail Australia, adding that, “If I could take it back, I would.”

"The power of Insta influencers is very terrifying,” Appleby continued. “How they can tear down family businesses in a matter of hours... it's not healthy for any of us.”

Alger, for her part, is staying out of it.

“I absolutely think what she said and how she has handled herself is wrong in so many ways, but I think it will be best to end it here to hopefully move on," she told Daily Mail Australia. 

"I'm a huge believer in standing up to bullies and I'm lucky to have [boyfriend] by my side to help me. I'm very happy that at least we made a point and hopefully she will never treat someone like that again.”