A whole different kind of fish

Taylor Ferguson

Imagine falling in love with someone you’ve never met face to face before, or how about calling someone your significant other whom you’ve never actually spent time with. These days online dating has become some what of the norm, but what happens when the person you think you’re talking to isn’t really who they say they are?

Meet Kristen Parkers, 22, a beauty school student of Saint Clair, Mich. Shortly after a car accident she was involved in, Kristen met a guy named Mike from Sterling Heights, Mich. on Facebook after he commented on one of her photos. The two hit it off and began an online relationship that lasted three-and-a-half years. In most of their conversations Mike was always cheering Kristen up about her glass eye, an effect from the head on collision with a semi.

Even though Mike and Kristen only lived 40 miles apart, they never actually met face to face. Mike always believed it was because she had apprehensions about him seeing her injury. In reality, Kristen Parkers was actually Kristyn Hillock.

“My boyfriend left me after the accident, and I didn’t know what to do anymore,” Hillock said. “I felt so ugly and unwanted, so I made the profile as a mask to hide behind.”

A person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites by using someone else’s online pictures and information is called a catfish. The catfish’s fake online identity is created is to deceive someone into a relationship with them, a relationship that might not have been so easy to get in the real world.

“I used Kristen Parkers as a name and just pictures of some random, pretty girl,” Hillock said.

Kristyn and Mike exchanged “I love yous” after only a month of talking, called each other boyfriend and girlfriend and even discussed how many kids they wanted in the future.

“I loved talking to him; I talked to him all day everyday,” Hillock said.

However, after many unsuccessful attempts to meet the love of his life,  Mike reached out to Nev Schulman, the host of MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show.” Schulman and his filmmaker friend, Max Joseph, used all of the information Mike provided them with about Kristen to do a little digging to find out if she was being legitimate or if she was “catfishing” him.

After researching, Schulman found out that there was no Kristen Parkers in St. Clair but there was a Kristyn Hillock with the same birth date, address and was enrolled in beauty school – all of which was information Mike had granted to them. Hillock had lied about her last name and the spelling of her first, although Schulman discovered everything else she had told Mike about herself was true.

“Catfishing made me feel guilty and bad,” Hillock said. “I wanted to come clean.”

When Schulman and Joseph finally arranged a meeting for the two, Kristyn looked nothing like her pictures. Mike was angry but listened to Kristyn’s apologies and eventually said he was glad he could help her through a rough time and that they could still be friends. Once the cameras stopped rolling though, Mike’s tune changed.

“We were friends, but the other day he told me he didn’t like me because I wasn’t attractive,” Hillock said. “I feel like since he thought the show was over now he could be an ass to me.”

Hillock said Mike used to be a completely different person when they talked before but since he saw the real Kristyn his feelings all of a sudden changed.

“If I hadn’t have catfished with Mike I might have ended up taking my own life but then again I don’t think it was fair for me to hurt him.” Hillock said.

Although she hasn’t catfished since and never plans on it again, Hillock has helped others who have reached out to her on her fan page.

“I tell them to come clean now before both of them get hurt,” she said.

Since Mike and Kristyn’s episode aired on Aug. 6, Hillock has since graduated beauty school and is waiting to take her state boards.

“I realize now that no matter how bad things get the best thing is to be yourself,” Hillock said.3

Still living in Michigan, Hillock has moved on and found a new boyfriend. “We’re taking a step back and going slow.”

To learn more about Kristyn check out her Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/kristynhillock