When fitness blogger Ashy Bines exploded onto the online sphere, few could predict how divisive her success would be.
Immediately, her taut tummy and blonde braids seemed to sell a promise – ‘do-as-I-say-to-look-how-I-look’.
Of course, when Bines fell onto our radar when fitness wasn’t yet a commodity, and social media was a land of blurry selfies – not brand building. We had no blueprint for what it meant to be an online success. The messy overlap between being a ‘fitness blogger’ and promoting health advice to the public quickly became problematic, and with that, so too did the brand of Ashy Bines.
However, ask the company about its controversies and they’ll tell you – as they told News Corp this week – that they are “an open book with nothing to hide”.
Bines, who has a combined social media following of more than five million, sells fitness programs, diet guides, athletic apparel, supplements and an app to willing subscribers.
If nothing else, for Bines, it’s been a dramatic few years. These are just a few of the reasons her name has featured in headlines since her business went global.
Food blogger sues, alleges plagiarism
On Wednesday, food blogger and 26-year-old Brisbane mum Allie Dodds expressed her intent to sue the fitness star for more than $150,000 in damages, alleging Bines lifted a number of recipes and photos from her blog.
Dodds, who runs a blog called Mealspiration, accuses Bines of stealing at least five of her recipes and publishing them in a 2012 e-book.