On June 22nd, a brave woman revealed that popular TikTok photographer, Bryant Eslava, had exploited her for racy photos back in 2012.
The woman, who went by username @watssuptho, tweeted that she had contacted Bryant via Tumblr in 2012 hoping to work together as she was eager to get signed to a modelling agency. “He posted about taking photos of followers,” she explained. Her account and the subsequent thread have since been deleted.
“He exploited me making me believe it would help my career.”
She attached screenshots from their Tumblr conversation, in which Bryant pressured her to send him unclothed photos despite her objections.
“Hello! I am responding to your post about shooting followers (Well, taking their picture),” she first wrote to Bryant. “To make it short, I’m a 6’3 girl who’s been trying to find a modelling agency that would want someone so tall, and I’d be so honored to have someone like you take my picture! I love everything & all your pictures & with that, have a nice day!”
Bryant responded to the young woman, saying he would “love to take” her photos and asked her to email him pictures of herself in a black bra and black underwear. “They can be taken from your iPhone. I want to show some of my Agency connections your photos to see if they’re looking for someone like you.”
“I am very interested, however is it possible to just send the pictures clothed?” she asked. “I’m not wearing anything extravagant, I just feel a little uneasy about sending photos like that. If it is absolutely necessary I will do what I can! I appreciate the offer so much, thank you!”
Bryant responded, “Agencies typically want to see photos like these because they want to see your body figure and height. At this point it is necessary, but yes of course do what you can! You deserve to be signed!”
The young woman replied, saying she will do “whatever she can” and Bryant sent her his email address and phone number.
The woman alleged that after she texted him photos in her bra and underwear, Bryant asked for nude photos because “agencies expect you to” provide those for jobs. While she didn’t have access to her old iPhone to prove the text exchange, she provided a screenshot from the email she sent him with her nude photo.
“Once he received the nude photo, I never heard back from him, regarding modeling or anything at all,” she tweeted. “He never asked my age, or confirmed it. His Twitter is @BryantEslava I can’t be the only one this happened to.”
Now, Bryant has responded.
The creator, who recently found mainstream fame as the resident Hype House photographer, posted a statement to Twitter, confirming the woman’s story and admitting his fault.
Bryant has taken photos of some of the world’s biggest viral stars, like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, Emma Chamberlain, and James Charles.
“A few days ago some screenshots resurfaced from my Tumblr blog from 2012. I wish that I could say these screenshots were fake because of how embarrassing they are, but they aren’t, and I wanted to take some time to address them head on,” he wrote.
Bryant went on to explain that when he first started in photography 8 years ago, he wanted to get into the fashion industry. He was excited about the attention he was getting from both industry professionals and girls.
He apologised to the girls he exploited, writing, “Before I say anything further I want to apologize to the girls I was in contact with for making them feel uncomfortable or hurt by asking them for these photos. I’m very sorry.”
“I’m not proud to admit it,” he said. “But it took me a few years to realize how inappropriate and wrong this behaviour is.” He said this realisation is when he decided to leave fashion behind and move into influencer photography.
Bryant claims he has grown a lot as a person since those days, but he still has some work to do. “I realized I haven’t done a great job of showing my followers and community who I really am, and this honestly has been a wake up call.”
He finished by saying he hopes to prove to his followers, clients, and aspiring collaborators that he is not the same person he was in the past and is committed to learning, growing, and treating everyone with the “utmost professionalism.”
Sincerely hope these actions are far, far behind him.