Social media tags show that thousand of others have posed with the sharks in the Bahaman resort: KATARINA ZARUTSKIE
The Exuma islands in the Bahamas are famous for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and endless photograph opportunities.
So when model Katarina Zarutskie visited with her boyfriend and his family last month, she was keen to make the most of the beautiful sights.
After a family lunch in an area known as Staniel Cay, Katarina spotted people snorkelling and interacting with a pack of nurse sharks nearby.
Despite concern from her boyfriend's family, she was keen to get into the waters to get some photographs with them.
Child of the Sea'
The 19-year-old is due to start a double-degree in nursing and business in Miami, and is no stranger to the ocean, having grown up doing water sports in her native California.
"From my previous knowledge from surfing and scuba diving, I know nurse sharks are usually very safe," she tells the BBC. "I've seen countless photos of people with them on Instagram."
The fish have become a local tourist attraction, encircling the local docks and featuring in thousands of tagged photographs online.
She says that after a few minutes posing, a local resident on the pier encouraged her to lie back and float in the water.
"At this point people were starting to take photos and right as I lay back, after a few seconds, I was pulled under," she says.
Her boyfriend's father was photographing Katarina at the time, and accidentally caught the whole incident in a series of images.
'Stupid Instagram Model'
She is upset at the way she has been stereotyped and accused of being social-media obsessed and careless. The model did not even plan to upload the images to her social media page until she was approached by journalists about her experience earlier this week.
Katarina also rejects accusations she ignored local advice or went into the water during feeding time.
"They took the information they wanted and really spun the story in a way that I'm a stupid blonde Instagram model," she says.
"I've definitely received a lot of rude and hateful comments from people that were saying ridiculous things."
"But it's the internet right? I guess you know you have to take it with a grain of salt and it comes with the territory."