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Influencer accused of cultural appropriation for 'spa water' recipe

Influencer accused of cultural appropriation for 'spa water' recipe

Health and wellness influencer Gracie Norton posted about the drink late last month on her TikTok.

An American influencer has been accused of cultural appropriation after social media users pointed out her 'spa water' recipe was the same as the popular Mexican drink agua fresca.

Health and wellness influencer Gracie Norton, who has over 550,000 followers on TikTok, posted about the drink late last month.

In the now-deleted video, the Indiana-based social media star claimed the beverage aided digestion, was ‘anti-inflammatory’ and packed with ‘antioxidants’.

Norton said of the recipe, which consists of water, cucumber, lime juice and sugar: “And it’s personally just my favourite way to stay hydrated.”

Her posts soon sparked backlash, where many TikTok users voiced the similarities between Norton’s ‘spa water’ and agua frescas, a fresh juice drink found throughout Mexico and central America.

TikTok creator @strawberrryc0ugh captioned her video about Norton’s recipe: "Girl made an agua fresca and passed it off as ‘spa water’”.

While another user @themadzness noted in a video of their own that "they are now gentrifying agua fresca".

The backlash over Norton’s ‘spa water’ recipe subsequently spilled over to Twitter, where people continued to claim the drink was cultural appropriation.

One user tweeted: "Calling agua fresca ‘spa water’ is the biggest form of cultural appropriation I have seen yet."

"Being Latina is like a trend now…don’t get me started on ‘spa water’. It’s pretty annoying, you can love what we have to offer but don’t take credit for it," another penned.

Following the furore, Norton removed the videos about the drink from her TikTok, and shared an apology to her Instagram Stories.

According to a screenshot online, she penned: "Recently I filmed a spa water series, which I titled incorrectly. The proper name for this drink is agua fresca, and the origin belongs to the Latin community.

"Many of you have let me know that you would feel more comfortable if the videos were completely removed, so that is what I have done."

The 24-year-old added that her content is “about celebrating the many ways we can show our bodies love through trying new recipes,” and that she is now “aware” that it is her “responsibility to continue to educate myself on the origin of those recipes”.

“I sincerely apologise to the Latin community and those of you that I have offended.”

Since the public apology, the influencer claimed she had “nothing but good intentions” sharing the recipe on TikTok, but now understands why many took offense.

She told The Sun: "After talking with several people who commented on the situation, I now understand why I have offended so many people. I had nothing but good intentions, and was hoping to share a recipe I thought may help people with their PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] symptoms.

"However, upon reflection, it has become clear to me why this was so harmful to the Latino community.

"I hope that in time, everyone will know how much I have learned from this experience and that I am truly so sorry to the people I have offended."

UNILAD have contacted Gracie Norton’s rep for comment.

Featured Image Credit: @gracie_norton/TikTok