Photos via Gage Skidmore Remix by Jason Reed

The cult of Meitu, China’s global phenomenon selfie app

The people we know, as you've never seen them.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Jan 19, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:26 am CDT

Meitu, a Chinese selfie editing app that allows users to put different filters on their photos, has spread online to the rest of the world in the past few days after it became immensely popular in China. But now that the internet has its hands on it, a lot of people are using the app to edit photos of everyone but themselves.

The app is free through Google Play and the App Store, and once you download it it’s fairly easy to use. You can upload your own photos or take a selfie through the app, and then you’ll be able to edit your photo and place colorful filters like “Angelic,” “Mermaid,” or “Baroness.” The app’s mission is “to make the world a more beautiful place.”

Some have already started to push the limits of what the app can do by running photos through it multiple times. It sometimes works on pets, although Meitu won’t use the photo if it doesn’t recognize “any human faces.”

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And some even have tested out what Meitu can do when the effects are rendered on celebrities as well as beloved and memeable characters.

But a portion of users have taken the app to beautify the world’s politicians, world leaders, and the influential. Meitu certainly adds a literal twinkle to their eyes.

And some of them have taken to uploading several photos of President-elect Donald Trump in order to make him inauguration-ready.

The internet is a weird place.

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2017, 12:32 pm CST