A popular American etiquette expert has earned thousands of loyal followers for her etiquette classes, bestselling books, and Instagram page — but she was shocked to learn that one of those followers was covertly stealing her content and reposting it as her own.
Myka Meier, New York Plaza Hotel’s etiquette instructor and the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, is known for posting fun videos where she demonstrates Do’s and Don’ts of table manners and other polite behavior.
But when she recently began fielding questions about her so-called ‘understudy,’ Myka learned that she had a copycat on the other side of the globe: a Middle Eastern woman with her own etiquette school who has been recreating all of Myka’s videos and passing them off as her own.
Exposed! Myka Meier (left) , the etiquette instructor for the Plaza Hotel in New York, frequently shares etiquette tips on Instagram — but noticed that she now has a copycat (right)
About six months ago, Myka (pictured) started receiving messages about her ‘understudy’ who was posting near-identical content
She found that Farno Rezaei-Farsse (pictured), who runs the Middle East-based Fars School of Etiquette, was ‘replicating my Instagram account and lessons from my book’
Myka’s etiquette tips have appeared on TV and in her books, ‘Modern Etiquette Made Easy: A Five-Step Method to Mastering Etiquette’ and ‘Business Etiquette Made Easy: The Essential Guide to Professional Success’.
Last year, she spoke to DailyMail.com about the signature positions that members of the royal family revert to when they’re in the public eye, and previously detailed the most important manners to teach children.
But it turns out, someone else making bank off of her success.
Farno Rezaei-Farsse also bills herself as an etiquette experts and runs the Turkey-based Fars School of Etiquette, where she promises to teach clients about social etiquette, including dining, style, and afternoon tea customs in English culture.
But while she may design her own curriculum for the private courses she teaches, she hardly appears to be dreaming up original content for social media.
Myka (left) is known for her cute videos in which she silently shows the right and wrong way to do things, like stir a hot drink
Myka (left) noticed that Farno (right) poses nearly identical videos after she does, sometimes within hours
Some of Myka’s most popular posts are her short instructional videos that teach the right and wrong way to do something in a matter of seconds.
In past clips, Myka has demonstrated how women should exit a car (to avoid revealing anything they don’t want to), what to do with a used napkin at the end of a meal (fold it next to the plate, don’t crumple it on top), and how to eat shared dip on a table.
And Farno, it seems, was quite inspired by these videos.
Several of her videos offer the same exact tips presented in the same exact way. Farno appears to have studied Myka’s movements gestures, and replicates each one — including the way Myka smiles and wags her finger back after demonstrating the ‘wrong’ way to do something.
Occasionally, Farno even appears to replicate Myka’s outfits, like the time she wore a black and white checkered look to show how to bend down to pick up something that’s been dropped — just like the black and white checkered look Myka wore to demonstrate the same tip.
How to: Occasionally, Farno even replicates Myka’s outfits, like the time she wore a black and white checkered look like this one to show how to bend down to pick something up
Style inspo: Farno (pictured) not only gave the same tip and demonstrated it with the same motions, she also wore a similar outfit
Myka, who trained in Switzerland and in London under a former member of staff of Her Majesty the Queen, said that she finds Farno’s behavior humorous but deceptive
In one video, Farno replicates Myka’s tip and gestures — and also adds an animates a line under her teacup, like the arrow Myka animated on her video
In some cases, she’s uploaded her own video within hours of Myka sharing the original content.
Myka, who trained in Switzerland and in London under a former member of staff of Her Majesty the Queen, said that she finds Farno’s behavior humorous but deceptive.
‘It is baffling and slightly funny when I post and only hours later it is reproduced without acknowledging where it came from. Good etiquette is about being kind and respectful, so it’s just ironic,’ she told DailyMail.com.
She explained that she first noticed she had a copycat about six months ago when others brought it to her attention.
‘I started receiving an outpouring of messages saying I had an impersonator who was replicating my Instagram account and lessons from my book, only with subtitles in another language,’ she explained.
‘People started asking if she was my understudy.
‘It is baffling and slightly funny when I post and only hours later it is reproduced without acknowledging where it came from,’ Myka told DailyMail.com
Myka is unhappy that Farno is ‘monetizing off people thinking they were receiving an education from someone they thought was affiliated with me’
‘At first I was flattered, but then I realized she was monetizing off people thinking they were receiving an education from someone they thought was affiliated with me, when the truth is I have never met or spoken to this person.’
Myka said she tried to contact Farno about stealing her content but got no reply.
‘When I politely reached out to her directly via Instagram DM, she did not respond and blocked me,’ she said.
Her team also contacted Instagram’s intellectual property and copyright department, but unfortunately, Instagram said there was nothing they could do since Farno is not literally posting Myka’s posts.
‘It’s surprising because they give public figures the verified badge so people can’t pretend to be you, but then again, apparently they can,’ she said.
‘I just feel bad that so many people have been tricked. I love my students around the world and feel awful for those deceived.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Farno for comment.