NEW ZEALAND, May 5 — A controversial incident in which a Playboy model posed nude atop a sacred mountain in New Zealand serves as a reminder that travellers keen to partake in the ongoing Instagram trend should think twice before dropping their drawers or taking off their tops.
It’s become the social media equivalent of scratching “Sarah was here” on trees or affixing love locks with declarations like “John loves Julie” onto bridges: taking photos in the buff against iconic landmarks and tourist sites and sharing them with the world.
A few years ago, it was “The Topless Tour” movement which saw women take off their tops, unhook their bras and pose with their backs to the camera on paradisiacal beaches and snowy mountain peaks.
Since then, the trend has travelled south — as in south of the beltline.
Because the latest trend in the social media travelsphere is for travellers — most of them young and cheeky — to drop their pants at scenic sites around the world as part of the #cheekyexploits movement on Instagram, which has a dedicated account followed by 193,000 fans.
Many followers have taken the concept further by posing completely nude, an ongoing social media trend that has gotten model Jaylene Cook into trouble.
Last week, Cook posted a striking photo of herself standing on the peak of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand, wearing nothing but a hat, gloves and running shoes.
“WE DID IT!! This was BY FAR the hardest thing I have ever done! Both mentally and physically. 2 minutes out of the car park I was already hurting, sweating and ready to turn back,” she wrote proudly in her caption.
“But it’s amazing what you can accomplish with the encouragement and support of your partner!”
Others weren’t nearly as impressed, however, with some followers and critics upbraiding the model for disrespecting a sacred Maori site.
The story from New Zealand has since garnered headlines around the world.
“There is protocol around the way you behave on spiritual land. This woman has not bothered to consider the beliefs of the first people of the nation,” wrote one critic.
If the incident has echoes of familiarity, that’s because a similar incident occurred in 2015, in which about 10 Western travellers stripped down and posed for a photo on Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, also considered a sacred site.
Some locals blamed the stunt for angering the gods and causing a magnitude 5.9 earthquake which killed 18 people about a week later.
Four of the hikers pled guilty to charges of public indecency and were jailed for three days, fined and deported. — AFP-Relaxnews