More than six months ago, TechCrunch shined a light on Shirley Hornstein, a master photoshopper who pretended to know important people to make herself credible in Silicon Valley.Hornstein would find pictures of celebrities like Justin Timberlake, stick her face in the photo, and say she knew them. She used the connections to land gigs. She also claimed to work for Founders Fund to up her social status. BetaBeat also says she committed credit card fraud.
Now she’s written a blog post explaining why she swindled and lied. Titled “An Honest Apology,” Hornstein is asking forgiveness from those she wronged. She says she’s been lying her entire life.
“I have spent the last 26 years (or, my entire life) lying to, deceiving and manipulating everyone around me, including myself. It finally, publicly, and devastatingly caught up to me last year and I made the decision to stop,” her post begins.
She blames her actions on lifelong insecurities, lying so people would like her; she has never liked herself.
Here’s an excerpt:
What I did was wrong, and I’m ashamed of my behaviour. I’m just offering an insight into the “why’s” a lot of people have asked me about, “why’s” about which I was always too much of a coward to give them an answer. I’m incredibly insecure, and I have been struggling with my insecurities for most of my life. Lying became my coping mechanism, because it allowed me to cover up everything I hated about myself – my body, my (normal) upbringing, my (non-ivy) education, my job (or sometimes lack thereof), my (nonexistent) friends, and my constant fear of being unimportant. I could hide all those things with elaborate stories of grandeur that I thought would make people like me. I didn’t want to be myself because I didn’t like myself – so why would anyone else like the real me? Over the years those lies made me feel confident, and as the lies got bigger my behaviour changed to match the lies. I started drowning myself in debt to keep up appearances, attended events I cared about (but couldn’t afford) and made promises I desperately wanted to fulfil, but knew I couldn’t. Everything spun out of control. So far out of control, that I completely lost touch with who I actually am, and as a result, my life fell apart. It’s an insufficient explanation, not an excuse, but the only way this gets fixed is if I start being honest about why I’ve been doing this for so long.