How Tricks and Prison Propelled an Iranian to Fame

Seeking to be famous, Iranian Fatemeh Khishvand decided in 2017 to use social media and her gifts with editing and makeup to create a controversial character who soon gained popularity in her country and internationally.

The first news about “Sahar Tabar”, the name she used on her Instagram profile, said that she underwent more than 50 plastic surgeries to look like the actress Angelina Jolie, reaching a divergent result.

She soon gained the nickname “Angelina Jolie Zombie”, reaching 500 thousand followers on the social network and receiving messages with criticism.

The popularity caused many of her followers to question her about the veracity of the photos, which had clear visual distortions.

In an interview given to Russian newspaper Sputnik in December 2017, she was asked if the photos were true and took on the “hoax”, guaranteeing that she had not lied about the matter and blaming the local media’s interpretations for the rumor spread.

“It’s all makeup. Every time I post a photo, it makes my face even funnier. It’s my way of expressing myself, a kind of art. My followers know that,” he said.

“People must be living in the 18th century, without having seen or heard of any kind of technology, or makeup,” he joked, publicly acknowledging the lie to another newspaper.

After being called 'Angelina Jolie Zumbi', a woman was arrested and deleted her Instagram profile - Reproduction of social networks - Reproduction of social networks

After being called ‘Angelina Jolie Zombie’, woman was arrested and deleted her Instagram profile

Image: Reproduction of social networks

She also denied that she had any interest in looking like Angelina Jolie or the main character in “Corpse Bride”

To the Russian newspaper, however, she confirmed that she had at least three plastic surgeries to invest in her own self-esteem: a rhinoplasty, lip fillers and liposuction.

The procedures, according to her, cost 10 million Iranian reais (equivalent to R$1,300).

The young woman said, at the time, that her family members were against the surgeries, but ended up supporting her choices. She also said she didn’t care about critics’ comments on social media.

“I ignore negativity,” he said.


With the name of Sahar Tabar, an Iranian woman modified her face digitally and with makeup - Reproduction of social networks - Reproduction of social networks

With the name of Sahar Tabar, an Iranian woman modified her face digitally and with makeup

Image: Reproduction of social networks

In October 2019, when she was 19 years old, the influencer was arrested along with two other women for the crimes of blasphemy, instigating violence, buying property illegally, insulting the country’s dress code and encouraging young people to commit corruption.

She deleted her profile on the social network and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which created international repercussions.

“Her joke ended up in prison. Her mother cries every day to free her innocent daughter. Angelina Jolie, we need your voice here, help us,” said journalist Mashid Alinejad, from DailyMail, in a post on Twitter. in December 2019, when the young woman had been detained for over a year in Qarchak prison.

In 2020, she contracted covid-19 in jail and even asked for release because of the disease, but the request was denied.

According to IranWire, the prison in which Fatemeh was held is considered one of the worst for women in the country. In June 2022, the newspaper published a complaint about the arrest, stating that there was a lack of food, frequent prescription of tranquilizers for inmates, contaminated water and overcrowding in cells.

She gained freedom this week, showed her face in public for the first time after being released, and once again made headlines around the world when she gave an interview showing her real face to a state newspaper in the country.

Upon leaving prison, Fatemeh Khishvand, posing as "Angelina Jolie zombie"gave an interview to a state TV - Video Playback - Video Playback

Upon leaving prison, Fatemeh Khishvand, posing as “Zombie Angelina Jolie”, gave an interview to state TV.

Image: Video playback

According to a transcript made by the channel, the woman said that she will not use social media again and that she was in search of fame when she became an influencer.

“The internet was an easy way to do that. It was so much easier than becoming an actress. I will definitely never download Instagram on my phone again,” the woman said.

The motivation for the girl’s release was not detailed by the Iranian government, but the suspicion of the international press is that it was a reflection of the protests that take place in the country after the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, killed in the custody of the Iranian morality police after failing to wear the hijab, the obligatory veil that covers the head of women, correctly.

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