She's not a model, but her face wound up in ads around the world

Shubnum Khan

(CNN)Shubnum Khan's face has appeared in McDonald's ads in China, India and South Korea, on a French dating website and in a promotion for a trek in Cambodia.

Friends have spotted her on food advertisements, banking brochures, eye clinics and, more commonly, on makeup websites testifying to the efficacy of products she has never used.
However, Khan is not an international model, nor did she receive any payment for the various global commercial campaigns she appeared in. Khan's is a cautionary tale of the snap decisions we make that can come back to haunt us in often unexpected ways.
    As a student, Khan unwittingly signed away the rights to her image in exchange for free prints during a photo shoot.
      Those pictures ended up as stock images, used commercially all over the world in campaigns and fake product testimonials.
      Khan recounted how she first discovered her image was used in a campaign six years ago, in a now-viral Twitter thread she posted to warn others about taking care to read the small print on contracts.
      She said she thought nothing of the agreement with the photographer until a friend alerted her to a Facebook post in 2012, where her face was being used to promote immigration in Canada.
        "That's when I started to do some research and found the images online," she told CNN via email.
        "Naturally I was shocked and ... confused. I studied the pic and agreed that it was me. Now, I didn't mind that I was promoting immigration in Canada, but I couldn't understand why my face was in a paper all the way on that side of the world," Khan said.
        Over the years, her face would pop up randomly and in countries from America to China, selling products in ads, billboards, magazines.
        She said she has no idea how many countries her ads have appeared in.
        One of the adverts showing Shubnum Khan.
        "I have heard about adverts in South Africa, (the) USA, London, China, India, Brazil, Uruguay, Canada and Kenya and then I guess you can't really put a country to the adverts online," she said.
        Khan said she contacted the photographer, who reminded her of the agreement.
        He told her he sold the photos to companies specializing in stock images and warned that they may still appear in unusual places, although he has said he will take her images down.
        However, Khan says she has no hard feelings towards the photographer and blamed herself for not reading the small print. "Look, at the end of the day, I signed the document without reading it. I don't agree with the way things were done to us, but I know I have myself to blame in this situation."
        "I thought it was to give him permission to use the photos for his portfolio. We didn't read the small print. I know. It was stupid," Khan, who lives in Durban, South Africa said.
        Khan, an author who is working on her second novel, said she was amused to see that her nationality became fluid depending on the nature of the advertising campaign.