A model who posed unclothed on the top of a mountain in New Zealand has angered locals.
Jaylene Cook, 25, climbed to the top of Mount Taranaki with her photographer boyfriend Josh Shaw, 27 recently. After summiting the 8,261-foot high volcano, Cook took off a majority of her hiking gear and wore just her sneakers, beanie, and gloves for a picture.
While the photo, which was shared on Instagram Saturday, has recieved more than 15,000 likes, the Maori tribe in the region claim the move was culturally insensitive because the volcano’s rim is considered sacred.
Dennis Ngawhare, a spokesperson for the local Maori tribe, told the BBC, the move was “culturally insensitive.” He added, “I don’t think the picture itself is offensive or obscene — it is just inappropriate to take on top of Mount Taranaki because it is a place with great deal of importance for the Maori community.”
But Cook has defended her decision to pose in the buff, saying that she and her partner did their research on the history and cultural beliefs surrounding Mount Taranaki before hiking to the summit.
“There was nowhere that we read or were told that it was a bad thing to do, and we believe that it still wasn’t. We see nudity as art and pure and natural,” she told Newstalk ZB. “I respect everyone’s views and opinions and I’m sorry that people felt we were being disrespectful — that was never our intention,” she continued.
Despite conflicting reports, Cook says that she and her boyfriend have received “overwhelming support from local Maori and people from everywhere saying they’re not offended at all — they love the photo and it’s encouraged them to embrace their bodies as well.”
Cook is far from the first adventurer to mark an important occasion in her birthday suit. In fact, there’s currently a cheeky new travel trend sweeping Instagram. Travelers are sharing pictures of themselves without any clothes on with the hashtag #cheekexploits, with the photos generally being picked by an account of the same name with nearly 200,000 followers.
Yet while the trend has been attracting plenty of attention, it hasn’t come without controversy — and Cook’s just the latest example.
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