The Inauguration’s Podium Disinfector Is Now a National Icon

Inauguration Day has made an unlikely star out of one man: The Disinfector-in-Chief.

During the ceremony broadcast on Wednesday, all eyes were obviously on President Biden and VP Kamala Harris. But given the fact that we’re still in a pandemic, the nation also couldn’t help but turn their attention to the official podium disinfector’s essential work in between all the speeches and performances. And needless to say, it didn’t take long for the tweets about our new “American Hero” to start.

Related | Bernie Sanders Is the First Inauguration Meme

“The real star is this podium disinfector,” as one person wrote. “He gets so much screen time.”

“Shouts to the podium disinfector—the hardest working man on inauguration day,” a second tweeted, while a few admirers argued that he should “receive the Medal of Honor” (amongst other accolades) for being “the hardest working man on inauguration day.”

Podium Disinfector Guy is an American hero.

— Lindsay L Miller (@lindsaylmiller) January 20, 2021

The real star is this podium disinfector, he gets so much screen time 😂

— MELLA (@hellaMELLA) January 20, 2021

Petition for the podium disinfector to receive a Medal of Honor

— Catherine Rinaldo (@crinaldo28) January 20, 2021

Shouts to the podium disinfector – the hardest working man on inauguration day

— Michael O’Mara (@MOMshomecooking) January 20, 2021

Meanwhile, more people wondered how they could land the coveted job, with several joking about how they were looking to apply for the position of Disinfector-in-Chiefs.

How do I get the job as the podium disinfector

— Amirah (@amirah___s) January 20, 2021

how does one become the official Inauguration podium disinfector

— Colleen Wachenfeld (@colleenwach) January 20, 2021

Next time, I wanna be the podium disinfector! Where do I apply?

— Terri Thelin (@mrsthelin) January 20, 2021

Sounds like “podium disinfector” is going to be a big hit at the next career day. Until then though, see what else people are saying about our new national hero, below.

We are even cheering for the podium disinfector. 🤣

— Holly Frey (@surliestgirl) January 20, 2021

shout out to the podium disinfector guy #Inauguration2021

— 🎶☕ Stardust 🍷🎶 (@stardust1006) January 20, 2021

The national podium disinfector for MVP doeee

— chaddybe (@chaddybe) January 20, 2021

Who’s the Official Disinfector of the Inaugural Podium?

— Ruthenator👻🐶😬 (@rudiedudie) January 20, 2021

Can we take a moment to thank the man that keeps disinfecting the podium? You’re doing God’s work (or the CDC’s work but that sounds less grandiose) 👏👏👏🙏

— Nelson (@MarcNelsonBass) January 20, 2021

But who disinfects the podium disinfector?

— stephanie gutierrez (@stephaniesits) January 20, 2021

Photo via Getty

J.Lo to America: ‘Let’s Get Loud!’

To quote Senator Amy Klobuchar, “Well, that was great.” Following the Inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris today, Jennifer Lopez took to the podium to perform — and there was just a lot going on.

Related | Bernie Sanders Is the First Inauguration Meme

Wearing a shimmering all white pantsuit and coat made up of pieces from Chanel’s Fall 2019 and 2020 ready-to-wear (“not couture?”) collection, J.Lo sang a version of “This Land Is Your Land,” which then turned into “America the Beautiful,” which then became a Spanish recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. She then threw in a little bit of her 1999 hit single, “Let’s Get Loud,” just for good measure.

In an Inauguration that’s already given us cozy Bernie and Lady Gaga serving Mockingjay teas, J.Lo sufficiently upped the ante with her performance. Its whiplash-inducing escalation, swinging into an over-the-top, borderline camp crescendo is, as it turns out, just what we needed from J.Lo. It was just enough for us to collectively perk up, right before we let our eyes glaze over as a US President, for the first time in four years, spoke in complete and coherent sentences again.

im still so confused https://t.co/t64ab61pkX — zach (@zach)1611161744.0
My cat when JLo broke into “Let’s get Loud” 😂 https://t.co/HemrhcnFGU — Sarah Kaplan (@Sarah Kaplan)1611161399.0
“Well that was great”
-Amy Klobuchar following JLo — julio torres ~* (@julio torres ~*)1611161526.0
j lo fighting the urge to break into the extended 11:11 hex hector vocal remix version of waiting for tonight — Desus Nice (@Desus Nice)1611161121.0
“this land is your land, this land is my land from Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to LA, New York, Vega… https://t.co/Fv1p2YceLP — NICHOLAS DANTE (@NICHOLAS DANTE)1611161890.0

Photo via Getty

Trump’s Note For Biden in the White House Is Now a Meme

After four odious years, the end of Trump’s presidency is finally here. And to the shock of many, he apparently left Joe Biden an unexpected surprise on the way out.

Despite refusing to attend the big ceremony itself, Trump reportedly followed presidential tradition (for what feels like the first time ever) by taking part in a small Inauguration Day nicety: Leaving Biden a note in the White House.

Related | Let’s Enjoy Some Second Impeachment Memes

Granted, given Trump’s continued refusal to acknowledge his election loss and the way everything’s unfolded since then, it’s not a stretch to think that his note could be something curt or insulting. But without any confirmation about the contents of the note, Twitter has run with the news in the best way possible. That’s right, cue an infinite number of crayon and kindergarten scribble jokes.

pic.twitter.com/MHqw3aIy7Z

— Steve Blackwell (@ImperiusRex1) January 20, 2021

Did it look like this?#trumpNote pic.twitter.com/L7ixZxH7xq

— Ohio Libertarian Democrat (@BuckeyeVote2020) January 20, 2021

Even better though are the memes that reference iconic letters from pop culture, including the anonymous note left for Sammi on Jersey Shore, Arrested Development’s “dead dove” bit, and even that infamous Sex and the City break-up note.

https://t.co/Ijm9Uxj6xI pic.twitter.com/EiRDL4sjoJ

— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) January 20, 2021

trump’s successor note pic.twitter.com/lnWEbD8Dt4

— lucy (@lucywbarron) January 18, 2021

Trumps note to Biden pic.twitter.com/BQ5AGXAivX

— Mikey V (@___MikeyV) January 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/5lISC5dQzm

— LizardQueen910 (@LQueen910) January 20, 2021

That said, we personally think the most likely possibility is a simple note, written in Sharpie and proclaiming his victory — temper tantrum-style, of course. Or maybe just a blank piece of paper. After all, who ever really knows what Trump’s up to? But at the very least, now we can all care about it a little bit less.

pic.twitter.com/C4AqnvbGGN

— Barb’s Keto Comfort Zone (@aday_barbara) January 20, 2021

pic.twitter.com/WZFyklV6XR

— Radio Gunk (@RadioGunk) January 20, 2021

Photos via Getty

Lady Gaga Was the Unofficial Meme Queen of the Inauguration

On the day before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Lady Gaga was in DC to rehearse her national anthem performance for the inauguration. But it was her white caped Givenchy moment that had the internet really buzzing, if the reaction to her two photo ops is any indication.

Related | Bernie Sanders Is the First Inauguration Meme

The first image — an artfully staged portrait at the Capitol from a low angle — drew many comparisons to Princess Leia and other Chromatica jokes. She subsequently met with the National Guard, which spawned just as many glorious memes.

Couldn’t resist. https://t.co/BL3tVgptoy https://t.co/ED4zisCIHf — eric (@eric)1611092879.0
Lady Gaga accidentally being sworn in as president tomorrow https://t.co/0oSGOQojQD — nicole boyce (@nicole boyce)1611092943.0
[twitter_embed https://www.twitter.com/rhymeswithbeg/status/1351659435459018753 expand=1]
“Do you guys like Oreos?” https://t.co/nw9Y0bGeai — Harry Hill (@Harry Hill)1611092329.0
chromatica: the fempire strikes back https://t.co/efwS9GdjoB — ßr∞klyn (@ßr∞klyn)1611091269.0
Life imitating art (2021)

Princess Leia Lady Gaga https://t.co/FyAWAIjPrR — Alert (@Alert)1611106132.0

The next day, Gaga arrived to the inauguration in a custom white double-breasted Alaïa coat with matching mask before changing into a custom haute couture gown by Schiaparelli for her performance. The red ball skirt and navy jacket was paired with a gilded brooch in the shape of a dove carrying an olive branch, which Gaga later posted with a caption urging everyone to make peace with each other.

Related | Why the Inauguration Looks Signal a New Era for American Fashion

“As an American living in Paris, this ensemble is a love letter to the country I miss so dearly and to a performer whose artistry I have so long admired,” said Schiaparelli Creative Director Daniel Roseberry, who originally hails from Texas. “Maison Schiaparelli is honored to have this chance to dress the iconic Lady Gaga on this historic Inauguration Day. God Bless Lady Gaga and God Bless America.” Her look was style by the duo of Sandra Amador and Tom Eerebout.

Naturally, the memes were out of control, many of which alluded to the Hunger Games.

Gaga at the Inauguration (2021) https://t.co/PGXTF8Ylfr — Partna ˣ (@Partna ˣ)1611160721.0
When you have to sing at the inauguration at 11 and win the Hunger Games at 12 #InaugurationDay https://t.co/UBiawzcuNH — Betches (@Betches)1611161039.0
Not Gaga wearing the mockingjay pin #InaugurationDay https://t.co/4rwGMUlYDk — LET IT BURN (@LET IT BURN)1611160777.0
Can’t believe they are inaugurating a President at the Lady Gaga concert, I wonder what she’ll do next tour https://t.co/iQStiIhoVE — Gaga Struggle (@Gaga Struggle)1611162655.0
the trajectory of lady gaga’s career is a national treasure https://t.co/8yFMXgU99W — matt (@matt)1611160969.0
Lady Gaga went from Star Wars to Hunger Games real quick. https://t.co/VD1BWfAyAT — 〄 (@〄)1611162355.0

Photo via Instagram and Getty

Chrissy Teigen Responds to Criticism Over Her Horseback Riding Post

Chrissy Teigen is responding to the backlash surrounding a recent post about her new hobby.

This past weekend, the star shared that she had taken up horseback riding per her therapist’s suggestion, writing that it was something she was doing “just for me, as I have absolutely nothing currently lol.”

Related | Chrissy Teigen Opens Up About the ‘Brutal’ Months After Her Pregnancy Loss

“Today begins my journey into the horse world,” she continued before posting a photo of her new horse. “I hope this dude likes me. he’s so handsome and appears lazy, I love.”

My therapist says I need something that I do for just me, as I have absolutely nothing currently lol. Today begins my journey into the horse world. I hope this dude likes me 😩 he’s so handsome and appears lazy, I love pic.twitter.com/1Ytejb4L6J

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 16, 2021

That said, while Teigen’s tweet alluded to using horseback riding as a way to cope with her pregnancy loss, many online took issue with her statement about having “nothing,” especially given that many are struggling amid the pandemic.

“A lot of people are unemployed and struggling to feed their family in the midst of a pandemic,” as one person wrote. “Maybe now isn’t a great time to say you ‘have nothing’ so you bought a horse to entertain yourself.”

Meanwhile, others called her out-of-touch and implored her to “read the room,” with one person writing that “the ‘let them eat cake’ inability to read a room is tiring.”

“‘Absolutely nothing’ is clearly a matter of perspective, I guess,” they added. “Other people’s nothing’s sure seem a lot darker and inescapable right now.”

A lot of people are unemployed and struggling to feed their family in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe now isn’t a great time to say you “have nothing” so you bought a horse to entertain yourself.

— Lady Long Limbs (@ladylonglimb) January 17, 2021

People are dying, ma’am.

Read the room.

— Valkyrie Thunderbitch (@ValkyrieLadyK) January 16, 2021

“Absolutely nothing” is clearly a matter of perspective, I guess. Other people’s nothing’s sure seem a lot darker and inescapable right now. The “let them eat cake” inability to read a room is tiring.

— KS (@KevSpilker) January 16, 2021

And though some defenders pointed out that she was trying to heal from the recent loss of her child, Teigen herself came forward on Sunday evening to address critics of her post by writing, “A lot of u really misinterpreted this tweet and I guess that’s on me.”

Chrissy and her husband recently lost a child in the midst of the aforementioned pandemic. Maybe now isn’t a great time to tell her what she does or does not need to heal.

— Rochelle Dolim (@MariposaX) January 17, 2021

“I didn’t say I have nothing, I said I have nothing I do for just me,” she continued. “A convo with a therapist. A hobby. Cause I lost a baby. And I’m figuring myself out. And i didn’t buy a horse. But oh my god, what if I did?”

Not only that, but she also ended up retweeting a tweet about how she was “poisoned by wealth and privilege” by asking “why are you guys reading into this so much?”

“The boredom,” she added, before later responding to the same critic in another follow-up tweet that said, “What do you want from me.”

“An essay about me, thinking about you?,” Teigen said. “It’s my Twitter. I’m talking about me?”

See Teigen’s response to the backlash, below.

a lot of u really misinterpreted this tweet and I guess that’s on me. I didn’t say I have nothing, I said I have nothing I do for just me. A convo with a therapist. A hobby. Cause I lost a baby. And I’m figuring myself out. And i didn’t buy a horse. But oh my god, what if I did? https://t.co/AYKI37VicV

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 18, 2021

why are you guys reading into this so much? the boredom. https://t.co/yikciER8LW

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 18, 2021

I do understand. What do you want from me, an essay about me, thinking about you? It’s my Twitter. I’m talking about me? https://t.co/XJOIYF7aMJ

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 18, 2021

Photo via Getty



The TikTok Turning 2000s Movies Into Period Dramas

The Regency aesthetic is back. Netflix’s Bridgerton has embellished the era of Jane Austen with string quartet covers of Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish, becoming TikTok’s latest musical project in the process. Meanwhile, in this post-folklore world, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was re-scored to Taylor Swift’s “Champagne Problems.” On TikTok, period pieces are being taken to new heights of modern sophistication.

At the intersection of the period aesthetic and modern pop culture, you can find Madelaine Turner (@madelaineturner). She’s adapting 2000s movie classics into period dramas on TikTok. Approaching five million likes, her recent uploads have transported the characters and narratives of Mamma Mia and Mean Girls to the Jane Austen era.

Related | Here’s What the Bridgerton Cast Looks Like Without Costumes

“Truthfully, I’ve just been looking for an excuse to dress up like Lizzie Bennett since I was 11 years old,” Madelaine tells me as we discuss her latest work: Jane Austen’s Mamma Mia, which garnered attention for its original twist on the much loved ABBA jukebox movie. The TikTok sees Madelaine as an 18th century Sophie who makes the “scandalous discovery” that her mother has had “not one, not two but three romantic entanglements prior to [Sophie’s] birth.” Madelaine’s attention to detail is exquisite: framed portraits and newspaper clippings of her three possible fathers, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgård, appear amongst era-appropriate props and accessories.

“I really nerd-out when it comes to fashion history,” Madelaine details. “I altered an old dress I had in my closet to resemble the ‘Regency’ silhouette and was able to fake the rest with scarves, fabric and jewelry I had on hand.”

@madelaineturner

ummm 💗 Contemptible Ladies #parody

♬ original sound – Madelaine Turner

So why Mamma Mia? “I was in a YouTube rabbit-hole and ‘The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays ABBA’ popped in my recommendations,” Madelaine explains. “The first song that came on was ‘Mamma Mia’ and it was immediate. Like, ‘Yeah, Regency era Mamma Mia. Duh!'” Madelaine’s self-professed fondness of a “sweeping, beautiful narrative with tension and yearning” offered direction to the stylistic essence of Regency romances in her posts.

Madelaine’s follow-up, Contemptible Ladies, took Mean Girls and transformed it into a Pride and Prejudice-style TikTok orchestrated to Missy Elliot’s “Pass That Dutch.” Floral decorations, pastel colors and slow-mo fans flutter in this period version of the 2005 classic. “Amongst unmarried ladies, there are three who preside over the lives of all others,” Madelaine narrates as socks are pulled up high and bows are neatly tied. There is Kitty Smith (Karen Smith): “Pretty as meringue, just as much substance.” Greta Weiners (Gretchen Wieners): “She knows everything about everyone, that is why her bustle is so large, it is full of secrets.” Last but certainly not least, “mortal sin takes human form in Georgiana Reginalds” (Regina George).

Related | A Complete Guide to the ‘Ratatouille’ TikTok Musical

Madelaine comments that the process of transforming Mean Girls into a Regency setting was made easier by the fact that the film’s dialogue “is so iconic.” However, she remarks that mastering the “blend between era-appropriate verbiage and keeping the essence of the quotes” is at the core of retaining a link to the original source material.

Mean Girls and Mamma Mia work better as period pieces than you’d think. “I find films focused on women and girlhood translate surprisingly well to the Regency era. In those works, you tend to see much more of a nuanced exploration of social hierarchies and interpersonal relationships — the same elements Jane Austen was exploring in her own novels,” Madelaine clarifies. These stories of womanhood that resonate across centuries are the throughline of Madelaine’s posts. As her TikToks gain in popularity, so does Madelaine’s creative expectations: “As my projects get more and more ambitious, I’ve started buying costumes specifically for videos. The Mean Girls parody has been my most extensive to date. Total disaster zone of lace, flowers, fabric, ribbons and dresses for 48 hours!”

With her visual sensibilities somewhere between Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson, Madelaine describes her style as “hyperactive and oversaturated.” She is drawn to “punchy dialogue and dreamy montages,” adding: “I’d like my work to take that energy and sparkle and ground it with a feminine softness and beauty.” Madelaine’s TikTok contributions are remarkable for both their visual effort and production value, as evident in one of her most popular uploads to the platform: The Anderson Guide To Surviving A Global Pandemic. Madelaine replicates Anderson’s signature aesthetic with a seven-step guide to living through the pandemic, paying homage to the director’s distinct symmetrical composition and refined color palettes. Although, on the topic of Anderson, Madelaine explains her approach to filmmaking is nothing like the director: “I’m very messy; very much ‘get in front of the camera and figure it out as you go.’ I shoot everything in my apartment, by myself; so the pressure to plan and execute in the way a typical film set would require is non-existent.”

@madelaineturner

I really had too much fun making this 💗✨

♬ original sound – Madelaine Turner

As a one-woman team, apart from the occasional collaboration with her brother, the heart of Madelaine’s period drama adaptations are in her artistically quaint production. “My videos tend to have a bit of a lo-fi feel anyways, so I don’t mind phone-quality footage,” Madelaine states, adding that she enjoys “the creative exercise of resourcefulness.” It is this resourcefulness that balances a homemade nature and the resemblance to her references: “it’s such a rush when you realize that the thing that takes the scene to the next level is just hiding in your closet, or just needed to be hot-glued to something else!”

Although Madelaine’s high-society visual style is sophisticated and imaginatively inspired, she originally began posting on TikTok to “combat quarantine isolation.” Now, the platform has become her way to showcase short-form narratives and creative storytelling. The positive reception and innovative possibilities have given her a glance at “an entirely new career path.” While TikTok is widely regarded as a social media app, Madelaine nods to how the platform can exist as “something between a portfolio and playground” where she can perform varying degrees of “experimentation with visuals/characters.”

@madelaineturner

little story for @besamecosmetics ❤️ #film #makeup

♬ original sound – Madelaine Turner

Refreshing much-loved movies of the 2000s by transplanting them into the Jane Austen era has established Madelaine as a TikTok auteur of feminine sensibility and the Regency aesthetic. Currently a screenwriter but with the “ultimate goal” to direct, she proposes that maybe, in the future, she’d be able to create “large-scale versions of what [she’s] doing now.”

On a final note, we discuss the possibilities of other movies that would make brilliant adaptations. Perhaps, The Princess Diaries? “I think there’s so much to work with! As long as ideas come, I will make them… I just have to try to capture it before the spark fades.”

Screenshot via TikTok

Netflix Can’t Keep ‘Bridgerton’ Sex Scenes Off Porn Sites

Netflix’s Bridgerton is one of the hottest shows of 2021 so far — in more ways than one. It’s so steamy, in fact, that porn sites are now getting in on the action and posting pirated scenes for its aroused viewer base. Meanwhile, Netflix is reportedly struggling to get these clips pulled.

Speaking with the Sun, an insider familiar with the show, the cast and Netflix itself, said that Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page, who play socialite Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings respectively, are reportedly “devastated” that their work on the show is being exploited on adult platforms.

Related | Here’s What the Bridgerton Cast Looks Like Without Costumes

“Bridgerton’s sex scenes appearing alongside some of the most obscene material the web has to offer has sparked horror and anger,” the insider said. “Raunchy set pieces have contributed to the buzz but it is a prestige drama based on best-selling novels. To peddle scenes as pure smut is beyond the pale.”

Netflix has issued warnings about the “misuse of their intellectual property” to porn platforms, but it seems as if it is hard to keep it going.

Dynevor recently spoke with The Wrap about the importance of the intimacy on display in Bridgerton, detailing what she thinks it says of her character’s evolution.

Related | TikTok Is Already Working on ‘Bridgerton: The Musical’

“It was a story that was really important to tell,” she said. ” It never felt like the sex scenes were just there for the sake of the sex scenes. They really told a story. They told Daphne’s sexual evolution and it was really important to get them right.”

Dynevor continued, “She’s very empowered and she really does have her own voice and she doesn’t want to love anyone that she doesn’t love — even though she’s not really sure what love is when we first meet her. But also, no one has told her about her sexuality, she doesn’t know what sex is or lust or all of those feelings. So we get to discover that with her on the journey, which is a really lovely aspect of it, along with the female gaze that runs through the show.”

Photo via Netflix

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Vagina Candle Went Up in Flames

One of Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina-scented candles combusted into a fire in a woman’s living room earlier this month. The Sun reports that 50-year-old Jody Thompson, who won the product in an online quiz, was taken by surprise after she lit it and the flame erupted.

Speaking to The Sun, Thompson said: “The candle exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere.” She continued, “I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room.”

The candle, with its scent literally named “This Smells Like My Vagina,” was eventually tossed out the front door. “It could have burned the place down,” Thompson said. “It was scary at the time, but funny looking back that Gwyneth’s vagina candle exploded in my living room.”

Related | Goop Is Sold Out of Vagina-Scented Candles

Paltrow’s candle, released earlier this year, is the latest product from her company Goop that’s worth more than $250 million. The actress launched the company as a newsletter in 2008 and it’s grown to become a massive entity.

Goop has also had its fair share of controversial moments in the time since, such as its fiasco with the $66 jade egg that was claimed to improve “feminine energy” when inserted inside of the vagina.

It looks like Paltrow and Goop can add that the vagina-scented candle explodes to its list of features on the Goop website.

some old woman praying next to her goop candle today https://t.co/1PCk5urMeV — ً (@ً)1611007884.0
Relaxing with a nice Goop vagina candle. https://t.co/cjJBUBJ4Ea — Ironically Bravo (@Ironically Bravo)1611016923.0
the girl who bought the goop exploding pussy candle https://t.co/Ul0SKpsY0L — gotta peep em humbled (@gotta peep em humbled)1611019442.0
Gwyneth’s coochie candle exploded and left Goop all over somebody’s walls? https://t.co/HpLvzAs7rj — April (@April)1611018044.0

Photo via Getty

Why Is Everyone Talking About Kylie Jenner’s Shower?

Another day, another Kardashian fail that’s gotten the internet talking. However, this time it’s not a photo-editing mishap. Rather, it’s Kylie Jenner‘s shower.

This past weekend, the star took to her Instagram Stories to show off her $36 million Los Angeles mansion, including her luxurious pink marble bathroom. But instead of seeing it as a flex, most people online were less than impressed with the relatively small shower head and its “pathetic” water pressure. And needless to say, it didn’t take long for the roasting to start.

Related | How Kylie Jenner Became a Middle Eastern Meme

“Kylie has so much money and her water pressure looks like this,” one person wrote next to a photo of the running shower head, before a second commenter asked for “someone get that gal a plumber pronto.”

Meanwhile, another viral tweet side-eyed Jenner’s water pressure with a note about the mansion’s price tag, while a respondent jokingly compared it to a DIY water bottle shower head.

kylie has so much money and her water pressure looks like this pic.twitter.com/xhvmD8pOgH

— ً kayla (@KIWIBL00M) January 17, 2021

Why is nobody talking about how shite Kylie Jenner’s shower is? The water pressure AND the size of the shower head. Someone get that gal a plumber pronto pic.twitter.com/SY4l9q7Txf

— Caitlin (@caitlinsincs) January 17, 2021

pic.twitter.com/FPrCDL0mNZ

— Señor Rosky (@RoskySenor) January 17, 2021

Mostly though, people seemed to take pleasure in the fact that they had a better shower set-up, with several tweets talking about how their “flex of the day” was having better water pressure than the multimillionaire.

flex of the day: my water pressure is better than kylie jenner’s pic.twitter.com/IPEMQ9kuPd

— kelly ✰ (@tpwkkellyy) January 18, 2021

Somebody told me I got stronger water pressure then Kylie Jenner 💀 PLS pic.twitter.com/efU8RiU5jy

— Arrington (@arrington171) January 18, 2021

Granted, Jenner herself has yet to publicly address the buzz surrounding her supposed plumbing issue. But before her assistant gets on the phone with Home Depot, you can see what else people are saying about her shower, below.

the plummers after the installed a shower w/ that sucky water pressure in kylie jenner’s mansion pic.twitter.com/KmyFD48GMZ

— yeehaw🤠🇺🇸 (@holymolymemes) January 18, 2021

Me: I’m not gonna judge anyone anymore
Me after seeing kylie jenner’s water pressure: pic.twitter.com/w8sH0MLFeZ

— holly (@hollyelaine2004) January 18, 2021

40 mins to wash your conditioner out with that trickle

— Norwedge (@Norwedge) January 17, 2021

Imagine being rich and having such terrible water pressure. pic.twitter.com/UnGCY6ggfm

— Liam (@LiamLogan96) January 17, 2021

Photo via Getty


TikTok Star Nathan Apodaca Joins Biden’s Inauguration Day Parade

Viral “Dreams” skateboarder Nathan Apodaca – a.k.a. 420Doggface208 — is officially joining the Inauguration Day festivities.

That’s right, word on the street is that Apodaca will appear at Joe Biden’s virtual inauguration parade on January 20. And from the sounds of it, our favorite Fleetwood Mac fan has already recorded a video for the event that features his trusty longboard — and hopefully a bottle (or two) of cranberry juice.

Related | The People’s King

According to TMZ, sources close to the inauguration planning team said that they loved Apodaca’s uplifting TikTok and “humble response” to his subsequent virality, all of which made him the perfect person to feature in the parade. And he’s also in good company for the inauguration ceremony and celebration, which will also feature appearances from the likes of Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, and more.

Granted, this is only the cherry on top of Apodaca’s stand-out year. After all, ever since his incredibly vibey video went viral in October, he’s been able to get a brand new truck, buy a home, and get engaged to his girlfriend, Estela. But now with the president’s seal of approval, we can definitively say that he’s living the real American “Dream,” and it’s well deserved to say the least.

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A post shared by @Doggface208 (@doggface208)

Photo via TikTok / @420doggface208

TikTok Launches Incubator Program For Black Creators

TikTok is launching a brand new incubator program for Black creators.

On Wednesday, TikTok announced the imminent launch of “TikTok for Black Creatives,” a new initiative investing in rising Black creators on the platform.

Related | Make the Internet: Five Viral Black Creators on Owning Their Voice

“Without [Black creators], TikTok would not be the vibrant and creative community we aspire to be,” the company wrote in a blog post about the program. “Black creators on TikTok have been a driving force for our community, from starting trends to fostering connection to introducing new ways to entertain and inspire others, and we’re committed to continuing to elevate and amplify their voices.”

According to the announcement, the three-month program would “focus on nurturing and developing 100 talented Black creators and music artists” through community-building forums, educational events with TikTok executives, and motivational town halls featuring successful Black entrepreneurs and celebrities.

Additionally, TikTok is partnering with MACRO — a media company dedicated to amplifying POC voices — to create grants for a smaller group of artists and creators, which can be used for production equipment, educational resources, and other creative content development tools.

Applications for the incubator program are open until January 27. Learn more about TikTok for Black Creatives, here.

Photo via Getty

Esty Is Roller Skating Straight to Stardom

Incredibly smooth on wheels, Esty’s almost always grinning in her viral TikTok and Instagram clips. She dons striking graphic makeup looks. Her fits are comfy but markedly stylish. And her mix of Latinx rhythms with trap and R&B make for bop-along melodies, ranging from silky, high-octave singing to pointedly portentous rapping.

Followers of roller skating — the social media quarantine surge, specifically — already know Esty. Reaching almost 160K social followers, the first-generation Dominican-American stands out not only because she also makes music, but because there’s something, screens be damned, especially joyful about her.

“The people around me are like, why are you so happy?” Esty tells PAPER, laughing. “Or even through skate videos. People see that, and it’s infectious. I love being able to spread that.”

But this is all recent: only in the past year or so has Esty begun to pinpoint her creative niche. Her new EP, Transform, marks a critical point in her journey.

Related | A Complete Guide to the TikTok ‘Ratatouille’ Musical

Around seven years ago, Esty was distinctly unhappy. At the time, she faced the prospect of mega-fame — and chose to walk away from it. “It was my first foot into the music industry and it scared me a little bit, you know?” the artist tells PAPER. “Sometimes people get fear of success, where you kind of see yourself being so close and you’re like, ‘I don’t know, wait a minute. Is this something that I really want?'”

Looking back to the era of her 2014 debut EP, Darkroom, Esty says, “I see my old self, and I’m like, she was so sad.” She’d been squeezed into a style not her own — and a person is not a franchise. “People want you to be one thing and you’re like, well, that’s not what I am,” she says.

Persona-shaping pressures like what Esty experienced are not uncommon; they lurk in every corner of the entertainment industry. And while, when it comes to any creative output, some mentoring can be helpful, there is undeniably a power dynamic at play when a newcomer is taken in by someone well-established. Why wouldn’t someone acquiesce to the guidance of those who’ve already made it? They know what’s best, right? Not necessarily. Getting stuck in someone else’s vision sinks artists all the time.

Everything moved quickly for Esty after attending a Hollywood music school briefly in her late teens; she’d relocated to Los Angeles at 16 from the east coast. She soon fell into a personal assistant gig for an artist signed to Atlantic Records then, at an industry party, she met Tyga’s producer, who invited her to record what ultimately became Darkroom.

A hip-hop website went as far as to describe Esty as Tyga’s protege. While that wasn’t exactly accurate, the two did collaborate, and became, to a degree, friends — which by proxy included hangs with Kylie Jenner.

But Esty feared what living under intense public scrutiny might be like. Moreover, Etsy felt she was at “her most inauthentic” ever. She could feel the situation chipping away at her soul.

She considered leaving LA for the more familiar and familial — her mother and five sisters are in Rhode Island, and the family lived in New York before that. Her father currently lives in the Dominican Republic, where both he and Esty’s mother are from.

@goodgalesty

POV? ✨ ##fyp ##holidayvibes ##introvideo ##rollerskating ##viral @arianagrande

♬ pov – Ariana Grande

Rather than retreat elsewhere, though, Esty stayed. She did stop making music for a period, though. “I went into hiding,” she says, “to do the self-work.”

Cathartic is the EP released between her first and most recent. It’s mostly love songs, written as her relationship progressed with her now-husband. Esty went back to her first instrument, the guitar, and leaned into an indie soul vibe. She cared little if anyone else heard or liked the music she’d made; she’d written it for herself.

For the first time, writing brought her joy — unlike under the pressure of her first EP. “During that whole Darkroom EP, I didn’t have fun writing at all. I didn’t even know what that was like,” she says, adding that she long tried to bury that time in the back of her mind. (Tyga wasn’t the problem, Esty notes. She describes him as a nice guy.)

But the journey wasn’t over; it never is. Meditating and grounding herself helped: “Just spending more time in my mind,” she says. Skating has been a source of healing, she adds. “All that has made me want to be the most authentic person I can be, because I realized that’s when I’m at my happiest — when I feel free.”

In November of 2019, remembers asking herself: “Who am I? What’s my message? What’s my purpose in life?” Heavy into Sailor Moon, the eponymous character became a starting point from which to write and, in a way, for Esty to see herself. On “Por Ahi,” she calls herself the “Sailor Moon Dominicana.”

When celebrity came calling once again, Esty was ready.

Released late last year, her first Spanish-language single, “Mantequilla,” a percolating pop cut perfect for gliding, and which multiple times references the sport both directly and indirectly, became a catalyst for the career surge.

Related | Ahoy There, Here Are Some Great Sea Shanty Playlists

Having picked up roller skating nearly three years ago, Esty was enjoying the early days of the ongoing spike in skating content on socials — a phenomenon of the pandemic but, to be clear, is not a revival of the sport itself. (Black skaters have kept the culture thriving in the decades since the Civil Rights era, during which they fought for space and rights at segregated rinks, and continue to own everyone in terms of talent to this day. The end.)

Between creating her own clips, albeit casually, Esty reached out to other skaters, one of them being Ana Coto, who’s often credited with sparking the socials trend and boasts more than 2 million followers. And so she was shocked when Cotto took her up on the suggestion to soundtrack a clip with “Mantequilla.” In rapid succession, waves of fellow skaters echoed the move, sharing their own clips, and engagement on Esty’s own posts soared, too.

At the request of users asking for more content, Esty, surprised and flattered, began creating more clips, primarily with manager (and also one-person production team) Yvonne Rodriguez filming. Her next single, “Por Ahi,” released in April, kept momentum going; the mesmeric track even had its own dance challenge (on skates, obviously).

Esty continued to put her self-work in praxis through music from there. “That’s kind of the beauty of Transform,” she says. “I’m growing into myself and I’m realizing there’s more important things in the world — other than me.”

Over a techy-trap twist on a dembow rhythm, she sings against racial profiling on “Déjenme.” Esty wrote the lyrics after watching an older white woman single out a Black teen for parking at an old nursing home in Venice, in front of the beach where, of course, plenty of other people had also parked, but were not also being harassed.

“He was maybe, like, 18,” Esty says. “You can clearly park out there. Stuff like that just pisses me off. You could tell it was rooted in something else. She came out and was like, ‘You can’t park here. You need to move your car or I’m going to call the police.'”

Like many others, Esty’s gotten more involved in social justice this year, and the things that “make her blood boil” seep into her songwriting now. She’s glad for this; it feels natural. “You want to do something about it and you want to stand up for people and you want to stand up for your family, for the right to be alive and to be in this country. You want fairness and you want justice,” she says. “And that’s kind of, that’s just what that whole EP was about.”

Only just more than five minutes long in total, Transform is an intentional collection that, with “Dejenme” bookended by its eponymous intro, a send-off to bad energies and a prayer for protection, and “Otra Vez,” where Esty is more confrontational, the vibe ominious — like she’s marched right up to this Karen, who verbally pelted that Black boy with prejudice, and tells her to fuck right off.

Another single is on the way very soon, Esty tells PAPER. She describes the new producer she worked with as her musical soulmate.

What matters most, though, is that Esty is steadfast in the life-long pursuit of finding herself, of shaping who she is: “It’s not a character anymore. It’s who I am,” she explains.

We know whatever comes, whether more of the joy she exudes now, another mood altogether, or some combination, will be true and real. We know it will be the Esty in control we’ve come to know this year. It’ll be Esty as she wants us to see and understand her.

“I’m going to keep skating, I’m going to keep writing,” she says. “And I’m going to keep trying to be 100 percent myself and who I was born to be.”

Photography: Blair Cadwell

Mary-Kate Olsen’s Zoom Divorce Sparks Memes

Today in things that feel depressingly dystopian, the internet’s been forced to reckon with the reality of getting divorced over Zoom. And weirdly enough, it’s all thanks to Mary-Kate Olsen.

If you didn’t hear before, Olsen initially filed for divorce from Olivier Sarkozy last April. However, her petition was put on pause due to the ongoing pandemic, which led to her asking for an emergency court order.

Related | Mary-Kate Olsen Officially Files For Divorce

In the filing, Olsen claimed the divorce had to happen immediately because of the May 18 deadline Sarkozy had given her to move out. And while the motion was denied at the time, Olsen was later able to file a second time in late May after New York courts began to reopen.

For obvious reasons, the subsequent proceedings had to take place online. But after screenshots from their divorce finalization meeting were leaked online earlier this week, Twitter naturally fell into a meme-filled tailspin, with many calling the Zoom divorce photos a “work of art” or an apt reflection of their mental state. And though we personally agree with both of those statements, you can take a look at the memes and judge for yourself, below.

mentally i’m at Mary Kate Olsen’s zoom divorce proceedings pic.twitter.com/Xpixc86ABb

— currently practicing positivity (@GRNTUB) January 14, 2021

BREAKING: Jason Derulo has fallen down the stairs at Mary-Kate Olsen’s zoom divorce proceedings pic.twitter.com/y9sdjO7UJV

— 🙄✋🏾 (@ArGeeJae) January 14, 2021

mary kate olsen getting a divorce via zoom always ahead of her time pic.twitter.com/NqJFbehVoG

— ⿻ (@dewycheek) January 14, 2021

imagine the stress of dressing for Mary-Kate Olsen’s zoom divorce …. this judge-approved screenshot is a stunning work of pandemic art https://t.co/zMsiXO7Jpk pic.twitter.com/mBUPudH5qq

— rachel handler (@rachel_handler) January 13, 2021

put the zoom proceedings of mary-kate olsen’s divorce at the moma stat! pic.twitter.com/a4kN1JBY9s

— guilherme (@gmacho) January 13, 2021

mary-kate olsen divorce proceedings. zoom on canvas. 2021. pic.twitter.com/gHwVJudTgT

— emilaria colldwin (@emilycolIins) January 14, 2021

Here’s what the participants of Mary Kate Olsen’s Zoom divorce proceedings would look like if they were all Italian B.M.T. Protein Bowls from Subway pic.twitter.com/Sc7u1y7Vcj

— ben “slenderben” flores (@limitlessjest) January 14, 2021

Beautiful and haunting that one of the first times we see Mary-Kate Olsen smile in the last decade is during her divorce hearing pic.twitter.com/LgGt9NvNfU

— Fran Fine (@miggythotz) January 14, 2021

Photo via Getty

Don’t Be Surprised by the Success of ‘Drivers License’

A week ago, the words “driver’s license” evoked cursed memories of teenage trips to the DMV. Now they immediately trigger the grandiose bridge of Olivia Rodrigo‘s debut single.

“Red lights, stop signs / I still see your face in the white cars, front yards / Can’t drive past the places we used to go to,” the 17-year-old Disney star sings, haunted by reminders of the person she thought she’d have forever. “Drivers License” paints a picture of Rodrigo driving through the suburbs while reeling in the wake of a breakup. At the song’s pinnacle moment, she concedes: “‘Cause I still fuckin’ love you, babe.”

A sudden viral success, over the weekend of its release “Drivers License” surpassed 15 million global streams, breaking the record for the most streams in a single day for a non-holiday song previously held by Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings.” A day later, on January 12, Rodrigo broke her own record as the track exceeded 17 million global streams, according to Spotify. It currently boasts close to 70 million streams on the platform. Poised to top the Hot 100 next week, “Drivers License” is 2021’s first major hit. And while at first glance its massive success seems to have come from nowhere, insiders would have seen this song coming. It’s the product of years of pop trends… as well as a long tradition of rumoured Disney co-star romance.

‘Drivers License’ Is the Lovechild of Taylor Swift, Lorde and The 1975

As a student of the modern pop music spectacle, Rodrigo’s songwriting feels confessional, in the vein of Taylor Swift and Lorde before her. It’s also clear that she comes from the generation of young adults who swayed beneath pink LED lights to The 1975’s “Somebody Else.” On “Drivers License,” she transports listeners directly into her past experiences while making it feel as though they’ve lived through the same thing themselves, no matter how specific the details.

While skeptics may be quick to write her off as an imitation of her influences, the glimpses of unreleased material Rodrigo has teased on social media — rough demos like the emotionally unsure “Crazy” and the curious “Gross” — distinguish her as a budding artist, writer and storyteller who’s just getting started. A potential beacon for her own generation, she’s skilled enough to stand her ground beside her contemporaries in music without being overshadowed by them.

Disney Can Still Turn Teens Into Stars

Rodrigo’s role as Nini Salazar-Roberts on Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has positioned “Drivers License” to be compared to the early releases of former Disney stars like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. While there are parallels in the use of the network as a music career launching pad, Rodrigo likely has far more artistic freedom than the generation of Disney kids who came before her, who were locked into a PR strategy that prohibited them from ever growing up. Just look at Aly & AJ: it took them 14 years to release an explicit version of “Potential Breakup Song.”

Something that hasn’t changed since the Demi and Selena era is all that Disney drama. TikToker Gabe Escobar (@gabesco) was quick to explain why “Drivers License” has been labeled the new “7 Things,” in reference to Miley Cyrus’ 2008 single about what she loved and hated about Nick Jonas (though you might say the song actually veers closer to Demi Lovato’s melodramatic “Don’t Forget”). Totaling more than six million views, Escobar’s videos utilize screenshots of Instagram likes, comments and posts to support his theories about the timeline of Rodrigo’s alleged relationship and break up with her High School Musical co-star Joshua Bassett, and the supposed other girl (fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter).

Related | The 2020 Pop Girl Gift Guide

The strongest piece of evidence investigators like Escobar are running with is the lyric, “And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about.” When Rodrigo initially uploaded the “Drivers License” demo to Instagram back in July 2020, a video that now has over half a million likes, it was played on piano and featured the lyrics “And you’re probably with that brunette girl” and “I don’t believe you when you say I did nothing wrong.” In both versions, she delivers each lyric of the song with the grasping intensity and honesty that drew listeners to her in 2019 with her first Hot 100 entry “All I Want,” from the High School Musical series soundtrack.

But So Can TikTok

Countless technological innovations over the past decade and a half have changed the way the music industry operates, but TikTok has completely altered the course. And TikTok loves Olivia Rodrigo. The singer’s post about “Drivers License” uploaded on release day using the song’s official audio now has over 23 million views and is the first of more than 251,900 videos featuring the track to be uploaded to the platform. The #driverslicense tag has amassed 888.5 million views, and the song itself has basically become its own subsection, known to users as “Drivers License TikTok.” Users have taken to writing alternate versions of the song that portray the perspective of the track’s subject and the “blonde girl” mentioned in the second verse –– and making the occasional POV video of the license, driving instructor and seatbelt.

All this is to say that even without the drama videos dissecting the love triangle between Rodrigo, Bassett and Carpenter, “Drivers License” probably would have been a hit on the platform purely for its ability to capture the depth and melodrama of teenage emotion.

Is This the Dawn of a New Era?

With an EP written in quarantine set to be released later this year, Rodrigo will be expected to prove that “Drivers License” isn’t an anomaly. Anticipation is already bubbling as listeners scour her Instagram for more unreleased songs, like “Pay Grade,” in which she refuses to act as an unhinged guy’s mother or therapist (think, Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour”) and her song “Apocalyptic Crush” that lands somewhere in between Paramore’s “Misery Business” and Taylor Swift’s “Better Than Revenge.” One of Rodrigo’s all time idols, Taylor Swift, has already extended her seal of approval, commenting on her Instagram post showing “Drivers License” beneath the latest Evermore bonus tracks on iTunes: “I say that’s my baby and I’m really proud.”

The narrative of “Drivers License” is still unfolding. But the chance to watch one of pop music’s potential next big players emerge so quickly and organically, without needing a push from their label, doesn’t come along every day. This feels reminiscent of the rise of Billie Eilish in 2019, or Lorde in 2013, or even an early career Swift, with a kick of TikTok virality.

That isn’t to put the pressure of expectations on Rodrigo, but when you have a song like “Drivers License” that resonates with millions nearly instantaneously, it’s definitely cause for excitement.

Photo via Getty

Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Dress Repeat Set Twitter Ablaze

Donald Trump has become the only president in US history to be impeached twice. To nod at just how big of a moment this is, and perhaps as a good luck charm for the vote to happen, speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi wore the same outfit from Trump’s previous impeachment vote. People across Twitter couldn’t get enough of it.

Pelosi kept it simple, wearing a black dress with a mandarin collar and gold collar necklace. The only difference this time was a floral print face mask. Her outfit sent an important message: that what Trump did was as serious, if not more, than what he was impeached for in 2019.

Related | Let’s Enjoy Some Second Impeachment Memes

Judging by the fact that a majority of the House of Representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach Trump, it proves that many of the officials believed the same thing — even if they weren’t as bold to repeat the same outfit that they wore the first time around.

Sensing the power of the moment, People took to Twitter to write about Pelosi’s now iconic dress. Check out the best reactions, below.

I love that Nancy Pelosi has an impeachment dress. It’s such a power move. #ImpeachmentDay https://t.co/RbirishCGA — Kim Winters (@Kim Winters)1610588802.0
NANCY PELOSI HAS AN OFFICIAL IMPEACHMENT OUTFIT https://t.co/PYCuXyyrQd — Meena Harris (@Meena Harris)1610594465.0
Can’t help but wonder if Nancy Pelosi’s #impeachment dress will be hung in the Smithsonian one day… 🤔
ICONIC!!! https://t.co/bbREaSQC39 — Kamm (@Kamm)1610589931.0
Nancy Pelosi rockin’ that little black impeachment dress 👌

2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . 2020 https://t.co/5rvEEd2DzX — Mariana Perez (@Mariana Perez)1610579709.0
Damn Trump, Did you notice that Nancy Pelosi wore the same dress for both impeachments?

Nancy literally has a “Tr… https://t.co/CeVj9IkYuk — Elena Anderson💙🌊 (@Elena Anderson💙🌊)1610610516.0
Nancy Pelosi wearing the same dress to both impeachments is a level of petty I dream of achieving. https://t.co/v3VFxIiaeD — K. Renae P. 💙🧡💚 (@K. Renae P. 💙🧡💚)1610594586.0
A new use for the classic little black dress https://t.co/naAwOQuqmX — Connor Lounsbury (@Connor Lounsbury)1610585947.0
Nancy Pelosi wore the same dress for the second impeachment as she did for the first.

The Trump Impeachment Uniform https://t.co/wKSYMoxQVJ — Jack©️ 🇺🇸 (@Jack©️ 🇺🇸)1610587303.0

Photo via Getty

As Mayor, Andrew Yang Would Bring Hype Houses to New York

Andrew Yang, formerly a Democratic presidential candidate, has announced that he’s planning to run for mayor of New York. And as part of his goals and promises, he wants to bring TikTok Hype Houses to the city.

In a recent video released on Jan. 13, coinciding with his 46th birthday, Yang announced that he was officially entering into the crowded field of applicants that are looking to succeed the current mayor Bill de Blasio.

Related | Aaron Sun Tells It Like It Is

He posted a video showing him walking around empty streets and speaking with residents. He captioned it with, “I moved to New York City 25 years ago. I came of age, fell in love, and became a father here. Seeing our city in so much pain breaks my heart.”

He continued, “Let’s fight for a future New York City that we can be proud of — together.”

I moved to New York City 25 years ago. I came of age, fell in love, and became a father here. Seeing our City in so… https://t.co/BCD8poby1m — Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸)1610586097.0

One thing that Yang believes New York can be proud of is TikTok houses. On his official website, Yang detailed why he wants to bring it to the area. “Similarly, our administration would also work to attract content creator collectives, such as TikTok Hype Houses, where young artists collaborate,” he said. “We need to help create similar artist collectives that utilize new technologies.”

Another action he’s pushing for is a universal basic income, something that he speaks about in the two-minute video.

Related | Frankie Is Now the Most Famous Jonas

“We need to realize Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a guaranteed minimum income and get cash into the hands of people who need it most,” he said.

After also claiming that he wants to “bring New York City into the 21st century by getting everyone high-speed Internet so our kids can learn,” Yang even poked a joke at the city’s abysmal basketball team. “Maybe we can even save the Knicks,” he said.

Check out Yang’s announcement video up above.

Photo via Getty

Katy Perry Is the New Face of Pokémon

It’s wild to think, but this year marks Pokémon’s 25th anniversary — and that can only mean one thing: Finally, Pikachu is legally allowed to rent a car. It also means that the beloved video game and entertainment franchise is gearing up for a year-long celebration full of collaborations and events around the world to mark the landmark year.

And right out of the gate, fresh off a Pokémon GO collab with Gucci and The North Face, Pokémon is rolling out a musical partnership with Universal Music Group called P25 Music, headlined by none other than Katy Perry. Specifics about what P25 Music will entail are still under wraps, but the yearlong program is said to feature surprise musical events with a range of pop stars, from up-and-coming talent to marquee names like Perry, off the major label’s roster.

Related | The North Face x Gucci Collab Is Coming to Pokémon GO

While Perry might like a somewhat random pull to headline the program (Jigglypuff’s agent could not be reached for comment), the new mother is actually, like the true ’90s kid she is, a self-professed lifelong fan of Pokémon.

“Pokémon has been a constant in my life from playing the original video games on my Game Boy, to trading Pokémon TCG cards at lunch, to the adventures of catching Pokémon on the street with Pokémon GO,” Perry said in a statement. “I’ve even visited the Pokémon Café in Japan while on tour! It is an honor to be chosen to help celebrate a franchise that has given me so much joy in the last 25 years, and to be able to watch it evolve in the ways it’s provided that kind of electric joy for the kids in my life and around the world.”

Fans are encouraged to visit the official 25th anniversary website to keep up-to-date on all of the year’s planned celebrations and while they’re at it, take a trip down memory lane with a brand new video that encompasses Pokémon’s entire 25 year history.

Photography: Christine Hahn

Aaron Sun Tells It Like It Is

When asked to describe himself, the first word Aaron Sun used was “ordinary.”

“I live a very ordinary life,” he said with a slight laugh. “I don’t live any differently from any other teen. I have college plans, I do a lot of academic stuff, I’m not fancy, I don’t live in LA, I’m not Charli D’Amelio. I followed a very similar path to other teenagers my age.”

Related | Frankie Is Now the Most Famous Jonas

However, the 18-year-old Vancouverite is inarguably far from ordinary on TikTok, where he’s garnered over 6 million followers thanks to his hilarious mirror selfie rants and love of a melatonin gummy. And though there’s something to be said about the relative normality of the stories he does tell, it’s safe to say that few can talk about accidentally “deep throating an egg” or being stuck with the Zoom username “Big Bussy Princess” as cheekily as Aaron.

@aaronheyaaron

my eyes are close

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

brb leaving forever

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

I hate it here ✨

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

don’t try this at home

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun

Even though he’s quickly become a TikTok staple, it actually took him an incredibly long time to download it in the first place, as he initially believed the platform was absolutely “ridiculous.” But after a close friend “guilt-tripped” him into supporting them on the app, he finally realized it was much more than just dancing and lip-syncing. And from there, he started going viral almost immediately after posting videos this past summer — much to his own surprise.

“The first week after I got the app, I just randomly came up with an idea to use one of the trending audios, and so I made a video in the darkness of my room just for fun,” he said. “When I came back to the app like half-a-day later, it had over a million views. And after that it was like dopamine, serotonin, brain chemicals, and I was so excited about that so I kept making videos. A few days after, another one of my videos blew up, and it just kept happening again and again, and I just got pulled into this funnel.”

@aaronheyaaron

#fyp

♬ hahaha i do that – Tik Toker
@aaronheyaaron

#fyp ahaha

♬ original sound – John Robert Bell
@aaronheyaaron

this is a joke!!!! 😳 #fyp

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun

According to Aaron though, his most popular TikToks tend to be the fed-up, spur-of-the-moment rants he does in front of his bathroom mirror, in which he vents about “what made me angry today or what’s something that bothered me.” But regardless of whether he’s talking about beefing with small children or an annoying conversation with his cousin, he said all of his videos are outlets that allow him to cope with the frustrations of his day.

@aaronheyaaron

I stay having beef with little kids

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

meow ugly

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun

“I always try to turn something that makes me upset or is bothering me into humor, because I feel like that’s how I’ve always coped with my anger,” he said. “The way I structure my content and the way I make my videos is largely the way I would cope with my issues if I happened to have a bad argument or a tussle with one of my family members or my parents. Or something was really bothering me, I always found it would make me feel a lot better if I made a joke out of it in my head as opposed to crying about it in the corner of my closet.”

Aaron added, “A lot of the jokes I’d make in my head would end up being self-deprecating. And I really tried to stay away from this idea that everything has to be positive 100% of the time, because I knew that wasn’t realistic and through my own experience it wasn’t always possible. So it was sort of about taking what you had in the moment and making the most out of it. I guess I wanted to see if other people shared that same idea, that same understanding.”

On the topic of relatability though, Aaron also said he often tries to act as a “brutally honest” mouthpiece for the kind of rage felt by many who are regularly forced to face racism, misogyny and queerphobia, but may not be able to articulate or act on their anger in the moment. Because whether he’s talking about the gross guys who rate women’s attractiveness or the horrifying, anti-Chinese comments made by an elderly man on the bus, he’s found that a lot of people want to listen to what he has to say.

@aaronheyaaron

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

💅

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun

“I try to find things that not only make me angry but make a lot of people angry. Or those things you wish you could say but you don’t because there’s a societal expectation that you’re a good person and you’re not going to punch an old person,” he said, before adding that he’s also been heartened by the growing visibility and warm reception of young, queer and Asian creators like himself.

“I think I’m really glad to be part of this largely Gen Z-motivated movement where everyone is learning to be more open and [ignore] what sets people apart,” Aaron added. “A couple years ago it would’ve been really difficult for someone like me to gain a platform. Not because people are directly prejudiced toward Asian people, but because people with Chinese features weren’t super out there or publicized. So I think the more people who show up in social media who aren’t cis or white, the better.”

@aaronheyaaron

Asian mothers ✨

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

and that’s on being insecure

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

robert if u see this goodbye

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun
@aaronheyaaron

Richard if you’re watching… hit me up

♬ original sound – 🔅aaron sun

Granted, he’s still found his newfound viral fame to be difficult at times, especially as he continues to grapple with the “constant battle” of setting realistic expectations for success and navigating his visibility and relevancy on the ever-changing internet.

“This creator world, it really starts to seep into this [mindset] where you’re expecting yourself to be successful and you’re creating this dependence on constantly creating viral content. Which is impossible because TikTok is constantly changing, people’s interests are shifting, and it’s really hard to keep up with,” he said, explaining that he almost quit TikTok entirely the first time it happened. “I think the biggest surprise for me was when I realized I was no longer making content for fun, but because I held myself to this standard of ‘You have to be on the For You Page’ or ‘You have to get over a million views on each video.'”

And though he still struggles with this at times, Aaron went on to add that he’s since entered a new phase where he’s been forced to reevaluate what he was doing and whether his approach was healthy. That said, what always helps is reminding himself of the catharsis he feels whenever he’s able to express his anger and frustration in a video, no matter how many people see it.

“A couple years ago it would’ve been really difficult for someone like me to gain a platform […] The more people who show up in social media who aren’t cis or white, the better.”

“I think the more time passes, and the more I learn how to manage myself and my own emotions and understand my place on the app, I’ll reach a certain point where I’m totally comfortable where I am. Just so I don’t feel constantly like I’m reaching for more or scared if I’m buried under what’s going on,” Aaron said, before reflecting on his belief that TikTok is a “spur of the moment” phenomenon.

“Because at some point in time, people are going to put down their phones and won’t come back to something they used to enjoy,” he said. “But for the moment TikTok is providing me with a lot of good experience and a lot of valuable lessons. So I’m okay with just going with whatever comes up.”

Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.

Photos via TikTok

TikTok Is Already Working on ‘Bridgerton: The Musical’

Dreams do come true, because it looks like Bridgerton: The Musical could be TikTok‘s next big project.

Earlier this week, musician Abigail Barlow posted a video wondering what it would be like if everyone’s latest Netflix obsession was turned into a musical production. And though most people would just float the idea and leave it there, much like the creators of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Barlow ended up taking things into her own hands by writing a few songs based on the show — and the results are going viral.

Related | A Complete Guide to the ‘Ratatouille’ TikTok Musical

The first is called “Burn For You,” a yearning duet that takes place during Daphne and Simon’s honeymoon. Meanwhile, the second is a number written from Penelope Featherington’s perspective as she longs after Colin Bridgerton, while the third is another, more lovelorn song for Simon.

No word yet on when we can expect a fourth installment, but according to a follow-up TikTok, Barlow’s already been working on turning it all into a much bigger project. Not only that, but judging from Netflix’s official Twitter account, they’re big fans of the idea as well!

Absolutely blown away by the Bridgerton musical playing out on TikTok

Standing ovation for @abigailbarloww & @nick_t_daly pic.twitter.com/hoHsDtNyAE

— Netflix (@netflix) January 13, 2021

So while we wait for her to make the full-fledged musical a reality, listen to her first three songs for yourself, below.

@abigailbarlowww

I’m pitchy but I’m having too much fun writing this ✨ ##IsThisAvailable ##fyp

♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow
@abigailbarlowww

##bridgertonmusical

♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow
@abigailbarlowww

THIS IS THE MOST FUN IVE HAD WRITING IN A LONG TIME! Also can we talk about @emilythebear ? She’s the yin to my yang✨ ##bridgertonmusical ##fyp

♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow

Photo via Netflix



Let’s Enjoy Some Second Impeachment Memes

Well, it’s official. The Democrats, plus a fair few Republicans, actually did something. An impeachment vote has passed in the House of Representatives, which means President Trump faces a trial in the Senate for “incitement of insurrection.”

The Senate won’t meet until later this month, probably after Biden’s inauguration. Even Mitch McConnell seems on board this time, but we won’t hold our breath. Until then, we can bask in that rare bit of good political news. Even celebrate a little. After all, how many times do you see a sitting President get impeached twice?

Related | The Memes From Trump’s First Impeachment

The best way to enjoy this better-late-than-never moment is, of course, via memes. Many of them featuring girl group TWICE. Here are the best ones we’ve seen so far.

trump got impeached not once but https://t.co/sFPpUKDESH — boo (@boo)1610573983.0
how many times was he impeached https://t.co/WA6tieJIu2 — claire (@claire)1610574795.0
How many times has Donald Trump been impeached now?

@xtina https://t.co/dlY345Skbv — It’s…..Darren Collier’s account🌱💙 (@It’s…..Darren Collier’s account🌱💙)1610576126.0
how many times was Trump impeached https://t.co/2URYm1wcgS — marv 🦌 (@marv 🦌)1610573214.0
donald trump is now the first Nanny guest star to get impeached twice https://t.co/BR5Q23NTFK — Funny Or Die (@Funny Or Die)1610573271.0
“i would’ve impeached Trump a third time if i could.” https://t.co/ajzT1KLTZZ — david ehrlich (@david ehrlich)1610571823.0
I didn’t even know you could be impeached twice. I thought it was like dying — chrissy teigen (@chrissy teigen)1610573937.0
Who is the only U.S. president to be impeached twice?

https://t.co/QAqKaLuy67 — Saint Hoax (@Saint Hoax)1610574467.0
why would you frame it that way https://t.co/zMZzUF2TQt — Ben Rosen (@Ben Rosen)1610575180.0
” how many times did trump get impeached ? ” https://t.co/jZtzyp2jO0 — Sacha 🎅🏼❄️ (@Sacha 🎅🏼❄️)1610574415.0
How many times was Donald Trump impeached? https://t.co/iE90BDRzuF — Christian Zamora (@Christian Zamora)1610574735.0
The impeachments https://t.co/S8DPL0ceX7 — Harry Hill (@Harry Hill)1610574773.0
first home alone 2 actor to be impeached twice i’m guessing — hunter harris (@hunter harris)1610574041.0
millions of impeaches peaches for me — very relevant band (@very relevant band)1610575974.0
https://t.co/99aXjgWqRQ — Americana at Brand Memes (@Americana at Brand Memes)1610574817.0
https://t.co/xWEQ8HAuAA — out of context parks & rec (@out of context parks & rec)1610580134.0

Photo via Getty

Get Bleached Brows Without Committing

In the beauty world, it can feel like a new celebrity makeup brand is launched every single day. So when something special comes along to disrupt the entire community landscape, we’re here for it. London-based makeup artist and drag illusionist Alexis Stone has just announced the first product of his own breakout brand, SENSORIUM, that goes beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

It’s no surprise that Stone would develop products transcending traditional beauty brand rollouts. In the past few years, his content has evolved beyond creating celebrity illusion makeup looks by transforming into a platform that comments on social validation, modern beauty standards, sexual consent and more. Last year, he even created a CGI animation, named EssentialXO, that serves as a reflection of society’s obsession with influencers and pop culture.

Stone describes SENSORIUM Beauty as “a beauty brand that enables you to achieve your own idea of beauty — not to conform, but to transform.” The first product launch is SENSORIUM’s Brow Engineer Collection, which serves as a multi-purpose high pigment paint that can “lighten, enhance or remove” your brows (say goodbye to the days of glue and powder for all my drag girlies). Priced at $16.95 for each individual Brow Engineer (or $39.95 for the collection), it also serves as a lid primer, crease cutter and brow carver.

PAPER caught up with Alexis Stone to talk about SENSORIUM Beauty and the first product launch, available today online.

How did SENSORIUM come to life?

Throughout the 10 years of using, testing and experimenting with makeup, I noticed there were fundamental elements and products missing within the makeup industry that I needed to achieve my own idea of beauty. I believe I have challenged current beauty standards as of the last few years with my own aesthetics and works, so creating an encompassing platform and brand enables me to continue to do what not only I do best, but also provide these key perfected products to other artists to further their visions. I simply want to create tools that enable others to express themselves. Sensorium: the parts of the brain or mind concerned with the reception and interpretation of the sensory stimuli — broadly, the entire sensory apparatus.

Related | Introducing Alexis Stone’s Latest Endeavor: EssentialXO

The Brow Engineer is such a multi-purpose product. What are all the ways we can use it?

For years we have seen brow-focused products, from pomades, pencils, staines, fibers, but nothing on the market that transforms the brow by lightening when it comes to cosmetic makeup. Not only does the brow engineer come in three lightening shades — platinum, bleached and ash — designed to mimic the effect of “bleached brows,” but the multi-purpose formula allows artists to use as they wish. From lightening the brow hairs, carving the brow, cutting the crease to concealing this setting smudge proof, highly pigmented paint allows artists to temporarily change their appearance in what is perceived to be the structure of the face.

What was the process of creating the formula for Brow Engineer?

I knew going into formulation what I was looking for. This being said, it is still an incredibly lengthy process. Making sure I created a formula that was not only pigmented enough to cover the darkest, thickest brows like mine, but to also give the finest of hairs a realistic bleached brow effect was tricky — but achieved within 12 months. Making sure the product set enabling wearers to feel secure was also a key goal. Any MUA will tell you about having to use concealer, foundations, face paints to try and bleach a brow on a stubborn model who refuses to bleach them with hair products, so that is exactly what this product solves and more.

“I have lived my own personal life to this ethos: one life, as many faces as possible.”

“Transform, don’t conform” is SENSORIUM’s motto. What does that mean to you?

For years, I have lived my own personal life to this ethos: one life, as many faces as possible. For those who are uninspired by current beauty standards, for those who have felt that they have been conforming and want to rebel.

You kicked off a PR list search on your Instagram to find up-and-coming creatives. Why do you think it’s important to leverage rising talent rather than use existing beauty stars to help promote your brand?

It’s important for me to support up-and-coming talent because I remember not so long ago being where many feel they are at. Knowing there are people who support what I do is heartwarming — those who get excited by what I do and what’s next to come. The easiest decision is to help them as they have helped me.

Related | Why I Leaked a Sex Tape With My Body Double

What other products will we be seeing in 2021?

2021 has scheduled product releases throughout — products that have been signed off, products that are still being perfected. As anyone in the makeup industry will tell you, nothing ever goes according to plan, but what I can only hope for is by the end of 2021 you’ll be able to achieve a full face using SENSORIUM products.

For more information, visit sensoriumbeauty.com.

Platinum
Bleached
Ash

Photos courtesy of SENSORIUM Beauty




New UFOs Just Dropped

In hindsight, it was more than a little hubristic to think that we would be free of 2020’s deranged, evil clutches come 2021. Less than two weeks into the year and 2021 has already come out swinging with everything from an attempted coup to Jeffree Star and Kanye West dating rumors. Not to be outdone, fresh off a Berghain rebrand, the CIA has followed up on one of 2020’s more overlooked sub-plots with a brand new trove of declassified documents on UFOs.

Dating all the way back to the ’80s, the CIA has released hundreds of documents containing the sum total of the agency’s knowledge regarding Unidentified Ariel Phenomenon, otherwise known as UFOs. For the first time, the public is now able to download these declassified reports and search them thanks to online archive, The Black Vault.The site’s founder, John Greenewald Jr., says he obtained the documents as a result of years worth of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which were then uploaded to a CD-ROM.

Related | Aliens Said We Can’t Hang

“Around 20 years ago, I had fought for years to get additional UFO records released from the CIA,” Greenewald told VICE. “It was like pulling teeth! I went around and around with them to try and do so, finally achieving it. I received a large box, of a couple thousand pages, and I had to scan them in one page at a time.”

Thanks to Greenewald, now all of these documents are available to the public for download as PDFs, making them easily searchable for other intrepid UFO researchers out there.

This was the CD, as received from the CIA. https://t.co/XA4VggETqM — 🇺🇸 T̷h̷e̷ ̷B̷l̷a̷c̷k̷ ̷V̷a̷u̷l̷t̷ 🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸 T̷h̷e̷ ̷B̷l̷a̷c̷k̷ ̷V̷a̷u̷l̷t̷ 🇺🇸)1610036671.0

Ranging from mysterious explosions being heard in a remote Russian town to a Bosnian fugitive claiming the Pentagon is in regular contact with extra terrestrials, the reports range from circumstantial to anecdotal. Given the sheer glut of documents in this latest release, it’s tough to make a distinction between what’s genuinely noteworthy and what’s merely a metaphorical invocation — but the timing is rather conspicuous.

Buried in the COVID-19 omnibus bill responsible for those $600 stimulus checks was a legislative deadline for the Pentagon to release all UFO information within the next six months. Given everything that’s gone down in the past week, it’s understandable that this news flew under the radar (some UFO humor there for you), but the move has been a long time coming.

Related | Demi Lovato Says She’s Been Contacted By Aliens

After the Pentagon declassified footage and recordings of three infamous UFO sightings, the Department of Defense created a special Unidentified Aerial Phenomena taskforce to investigate and support various agencies’ efforts to identify flying objects, and promised to be more forthcoming with their findings, disclosing updates and new information biannually.

However, still no word as of yet as to why the Galactic Federation won’t return our calls though.

Photo via Getty

Verzache Reviews Versace

Zach Farache, known to his fans simply as Verzache, had one of the first real viral TikTok sounds when “Needs” garnered hundreds of millions of hits after names like Charli D’Amelio, Benji Krol and Tony Lopez set it ablaze in 2019. But despite its 120 million streams on Spotify alone, Verzache says he isn’t chasing a hit (“I’ve gotten over the hump of trying to ‘make more’ of this”) and instead has focused on putting out more music “that’s honest.”

The 23-year-old has spent the pandemic writing and producing 19 tracks for his 2021 album, My Head Is a Moshpit, which features lead single, “Messed Up,” with its angsty, acoustic-driven sound. “That was a dope first single to choose,” Verzache says. “One of my favorite ones from my album.” He’s since released two more tracks, “Calling,” and, “Look Away,” both of which reflect his bedroom-pop roots — that chilled out, melancholy sound Gen Z has taken to.

To better get to know Verzache, PAPER asked the self-described “regular dude” to review these 10 Versace styles (get it?), from swim briefs to bedazzled travel mugs. See what he had to say, below.

Bathrobe

Yeah, no dude, oh that’s pricey. Honestly, I like the pattern. I think it’s sick. I would wear it. This is something that my girlfriend would probably get for me. But, I don’t know, when. Hoping soon. The floral on the back is sick. I would wear this at like, a finale show, or like, I’d make a movie in my house and just wear this. And be like a character in a movie I make. But seriously when I was in quarantine I made some stupid video movies at home with my dad filming. I would definitely wear this robe in one of them. I have some ideas, so I see potential in this robe, you know?

Swim Briefs

Wow, that is confidence. That is what I call that. Dude, is it swim briefs? I mean, I would wear it as underwear [laughs]. I don’t know if I would swim in those. I think this is for dudes, just ripped wearing these looking great, balling in this. Is that me? [Laughs] Nah.

Slippers

Wow, we got these Baroque slippers. I heart Baroque slippers. Wow, that’s Boujee. The yellow, you know honestly I wouldn’t wear it. If it was black, the black color way, I would wear it. But this is not for me, dude. I’m taking a pass, a hard pass. But if they gave it to me for free, I’d wear them, ya know?

Travel Mug

Oh yes, that’s icy as hell. Dude, that’s fire. I don’t know what Starbucks I’m going to with this, but this is crazy. This is some shit you’d see Riff Raff holding. Probably Drake has a couple of these, couple hundred of these in his house… just for sipping. Sipping some juice [laughs].

Silk Shirt

It’s actually sick. The patchwork is dope. I love the colors, the colors here. I feel like this is something I would wear in 20 years, to an event in like 20 years, if I was feeling flamboyant. It’s time to make that move, ya know? This is my new phase. Yes, now it’s time, now it fits me, it suits me. I have a big beard then, it will all make sense then. It will be cool. But yes, I think that’s a fun shirt. Ya gonna get a lot of comments, comments and compliments. But yeah, I would not wear it right now.

Sneakers

Ok, wow. Ok. So, we have some colors to choose from. But it’s not one color, it’s a bunch of colors. It’s tough, these are a bunch of out-there colors. Woah, the bottom! There is like a brain. It’s like a Medusa brain. I love that it reminds me of Nike when they started putting those, there was like one year when iPods were coming out, when they started putting like the Nike chip in the shoes. That’s what this looks like to me. This is a pretty cool shoe. It’s out there, though. You’re asking for someone, you’re asking for attention.

Hat

Woah, no, no, no, not the half hat. No dude, stick to what you’re doing. It reminds me of the guy from Batman. What’s his name… Harvey Dent? Two Face.

Bracelet

It’s big, but it looks pretty cool. The pendant, the Medusa looks cool. This is some bronze, though. They took all the pennies from Canada and made this, I think. We don’t have any pennies in Canada anymore. It’s only 5 cents, 10 cents and a quarter. Now, I know what happened to all the pennies. They took the copper and made this bracelet.

Swim Shorts

These are hard. I like these a lot. I would wear these as boxers and I would swim in them, but I would also wear them as shorts… outside, with, yeah, a hoodie or something. That could be cool. Yeah, this is a good product. Wait, it’s $475. It’s worth it though because I could use it for all those things: I’m swimming it in, I’m freaking sleeping in it, I’m showering in it. I never take it off, perfect.

Bag

Medusa Studded Bag, Ok, I get what they’re trying to do here. You know, I need to look at the dimensions of this thing. I think it’s cool but ya know, you’re flexing with this. I’m feeling like a punk rock vibe. With the leather spiky bracelet. This is the boujee version of that. I could see like a PlayBoi Carti or Young Thug wearing this. If you’re wearing this I’m gonna ask for a selfie with you. That schwag is pretty cool.

Verzache photos courtesy of Verzache/ Versace photos courtesy of versace.com


Ahoy There, Here Are Some Great Sea Shanty Playlists

Once lurking in uncharted waters, the niche genre of sea shanties is currently swelling from the depths and going bizarrely mainstream. Characterized by deep vocals and creative duets, with hooks that could harpoon Moby Dick himself, these cheerful sailor songs are currently trending across TikTok, Twitter and beyond. Internet life hasn’t been this nautical since that cringey time when people were changing their Facebook language to “pirate.”

2021 is the year of the sea shanty https://t.co/ohOAGvkbtC — Tim – Poster of Hugo Pics (@Tim – Poster of Hugo Pics)1610404381.0
SeaShantyTok keeps getting better https://t.co/yWLEHzlPlB — Peter Fries (@Peter Fries)1610080722.0

Shanties are so popular on the internet right now that they’re definitely about to get milkshake ducked. Here, I’ll start: most of the sailors who originally popularized these tunes were British colonists brutally invading and raiding the New World. But for now… let’s consider them a problematic fave.

can you be a little more sensitive about posting sea shanties on here… some of our husbands chose the sea over us… — JP (@JP)1610484129.0

Sea Shanty TikTok is actually predated by a hearty online tradition of sea shanty listening that appears to have kicked off with the video game franchise Assassin’s Creed and its various soundtracks. Today’s viral “shanties” are actually a broad church, incorporating Irish folk songs, deep cuts from The Hobbit and catchy 19th century antipodean whaling anthem “The Wellerman.”

Related | A Complete Guide to the ‘Ratatouille’ TikTok Musical

Things are getting a little weird out here, for sure. Truly, this is what it’s like to live in a world without a new Lorde album. But whatever! Embrace it. If you’re ready to graduate from the For You page and start enjoying sea shanties in their pure form, perhaps in the background while you work or drive or rig up your barnacle-clad sailing vessel before hitting the high seas, sea shanty-heads have got your back. They’ve created a wealth of Spotify playlists to enjoy, and we’ve dug through to find the bops.

You’d better start believing in sea shanties, Miss Turner. You’re in one. Pass thee aux and buckle down for a stormy night of balladry, below.

Sea Shanties for Beginners
Horny Shanties
Sad Girl Shanties
Gamer Shanties
Angry Shanties
Sea Shanties With Horses in the Back
Literally Just the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Score

Illustration via Getty

Frankie Is Now the Most Famous Jonas

For many Gen Z-ers, Frankie Jonas has become an icon in his own right — and it’s all thanks to TikTok.

In the span of a few months, the younger brother of Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas has quickly accrued his own fervent following thanks to his self-deprecating jokes, outlandish stunts and extreme commitment to the bit. But whether it’s hurling himself off a 10-foot rock, crying in the bathroom or tattooing Tana Mongeau’s name on his leg, if there was ever a platform where his “nihilistic, chaotic and entropic” content would thrive, it’d most definitely be the Gen Z-dominated app.

@iamfrankiejonas

#dixpicks #@dixiedamelio #pleaseconsidermyforthehonorofyourcreatorofthemomth

♬ Carmina Burana – O Fortuna – Hugues Reiner
@iamfrankiejonas

#duet with @jackerytabletop #welcometothefrankiejonasclub #gonebutnotforgotten

♬ original sound – Jackin’ Around
@iamfrankiejonas

Reply to @tanamongeaulol #tanamongeaulol #ilovemyfans #iamandalwayswillappreciateyoursupport #gottastayhumble #howsmyegodoing #imindestructable

♬ Oblivion – Grimes

“I think Gen Z has a very specific language that we’ve grown up in. And every generation thinks it’s so astronomically different than the last one, but ours feels so much faster and sarcastic with a nihilistic twist that makes other people confused,” Frankie said when asked about what’s behind his newfound virality. “It can be harder sometimes for me to make content for voices outside of my generation, but I think that I’m able to bridge it in some regards to a place where it’s acceptable.”

After all, raised on a steady diet of Reddit threads, 4chan boards and Eric Andre, it comes as little surprise that his off-kilter sense of humor tends towards the absurdist, sardonic and self-effacing. Granted, while his brand of uniquely unhinged comedy has been able to find its home on TikTok, Frankie — who only started his account this past fall — admitted that the platform’s reputation as “the dancing app for children” meant he was against joining it for a very long time.

@iamfrankiejonas

#fyp #frankiejonasisgoingtohell #hesamistakeandadevilworshipper #burninhellfrankiejonas #marijuanaisforsinners

♬ The Home Depot Beat – The Home Depot

“I kind of didn’t get it and thought I was super cool for not having an account — that I was like this counterculture, ‘I’m against the man, yo!’ [kind of person],” he laughed, before explaining that he only downloaded the app after finally getting “called out pretty hard by [his] girlfriend” for constantly sending her old TikToks that had been reposted to Instagram.

“So I downloaded it and after two hours, I woke up from a For You Page coma. And then I made my first video and just became obsessed,” Frankie said. “A monster was made in a day and I just didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop scrolling and making videos, and eventually it blew up.”

Initially though, Frankie said he started off by just “making whatever [he] wanted,” which was refreshing as it “felt like nobody was watching.” His account really began to take off in November after he started making videos spoofing a couple viral challenges, including the celebrity lookalike trend using a photo of — you guessed it — his brothers.

“I made a video about my brothers thinking that no one’s going to see it and that it was just going to be for me doing a trend. Then people saw it and people thought it was funny,” he said, before mentioning another video in which he referenced his 2016 marijuana citation as a way of “introducing himself as his high school rumor.”

“That was sort of this moment of ‘Oh, wait. I’m doing my own thing and it’s working and it feels good and it’s exciting,'” Frankie continued. “That was a big moment for me, and then I just kept making whatever I thought was funny, because suddenly there were all these people who were also enjoying it.”

@iamfrankiejonas

#greenscreen #fyp #iamfrankiejonas #itwouldreallysucktobefrankiejonas #ifyoueverfeelforgottenjustrememberfrankiejonasexists #jonasbrothers #jobros #pp

♬ original sound – Marianna Vega
@iamfrankiejonas

#fyp #frankiejonasisgoingtohell #hesamistakeandadevilworshipper #burninhellfrankiejonas #marijuanaisforsinners

♬ The Home Depot Beat – The Home Depot

However, as someone who grew up with “weird feelings about being in the public eye” and has always felt somewhat ambivalent about social media, Frankie also said he was initially “confused” by his online popularity, explaining that it all felt “so based in this other world that I wasn’t familiar or comfortable with.” Because of this though, he’s still continually surprised by things like having a “militarized force of Gen Z fans” and getting his very own WikiFeet page, not to mention the way his brothers’ are now jokingly referred to as “Frankie’s brothers” across the app.

@iamfrankiejonas

#@nickjonas #ithinktheygotanewfavorite

♬ Sexy Bitch (feat. Akon) – David Guetta

“The biggest ‘Oh, shit’ moment of this whole thing was the night that [Nick posted on] TikTok, and his comment section was filled with people spamming him saying, ‘Aren’t you Frankie’s older brother?,'” he said with a hint of lingering disbelief. “And I just sat there, I didn’t sleep all night. So I was like, ‘Wait, I had nothing to do with this. This is completely out of my hands.'”

But what does his family think about all of the jokes? Well, according to Frankie, they’ve all been “really supportive” of his rise to social media stardom, as proven by a handful of TikToks duets and videos featuring cameos from his brothers.

@iamfrankiejonas

#@kevinjonas #FelizNavidad #hamthrow #tiktokismydomainandiamagraciousruler #mylittlepony #duet #familyvisit #livandmaddie #kevingotepicsmacked

♬ Lol – Michael Squiggs
@nickjonas

#duet with @iamfrankiejonas @jonasbrothers #siblings #foryou

♬ Sexy Bitch (feat. Akon) – David Guetta
@iamfrankiejonas

#greenscreen #fyp #iamfrankiejonas #itwouldreallysucktobefrankiejonas #ifyoueverfeelforgottenjustrememberfrankiejonasexists #jonasbrothers #jobros #pp

♬ original sound – Marianna Vega

“We have a really close-knit family, and I think everything has just been attempted to be in good taste and with the eyes of fun,” he explained. “But they kind of love it. I mean, they’re excited for me that I’m enjoying myself. The whole thing is exciting.”

Granted, what’s been equally as exciting is the support he’s received from his new TikTok community, who he said encourages you to be your weird self and embrace that wholeheartedly.

Related | Nowstalgia: Jonas Brothers’ Second Coming

“I love it and I’m so grateful. It’s such a wild, wild ride,” Frankie said, before taking a moment to marvel at the “fascinating idea” that he’s been able to find an online niche that loves him for his eccentric sense of humor. “I think the craziest thing has been being able to form connections with people online and with this community by being myself. And that, to me, is so incredible and something that I genuinely thought might not ever be possible.”

He went on to laugh, “So I’ll generally just continue to make a fool of myself on the internet as much as possible, and for as long as people are willing to laugh at my burps and my farts and my twerks and my shitty Gen Z humor.”

Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.

Photos via TikTok

Cams.com Wants Pete Davidson, MGK to Eiffel Tower Fans

Cams.com wants Pete Davidson and Machine Gun Kelly to take their friendship to a whole new level — all while making their fans’ ultimate sexual fantasy come true.

Recently, the popular camming site issued an open letter asking the stars whether they’d consider a virtual Eiffel Towering session, AKA high-fiving each other while “double-teaming thousands of fans in the shape of the City of Love’s most prominently erected monument.”

Related | Jason Derulo Responds to Porn Offer After Thirst Trap Removal

“Dear Pete Davidson and Machine Gun Kelly,” Director of Strategy Development Gunner Taylor began in the letter, “While the world has watched with bated breath as your bromance unfolded over the past two years, many of your *ahem* enthusiastic fans have recently taken social media by storm to express their desire for one simple wish: to be Eiffel Towered by the two of you.”

Taylor then went on to detail the company’s brilliant plan, explaining that they wanted to offer them the opportunity to engage in an “intimate camming session with the real Eiffel Tower glittering in the Zoom-esque background.” And though they clarified that there was “no need to whip your dicks out,” it definitely wasn’t “frowned upon.”

Related | Break the Internet: Pete Davidson

“In return for you stamping users’ virtual passports, we would be willing to pay you up to $1 million to broadcast on Cams.com,” Taylor continued before adding, “Take some time and think about my offer. If you’re interested in penetrating this large fanbase, reach out to me and we can set you up with a verified profile where you can start earning money and making your adoring fans’ dreams’ come true.”

Granted, neither Davidson nor MGK have responded to the offer yet, but you can be sure we’ll keep you updated on whether your dreams actually become a reality.

Photos via Getty

At Least Zac Posen’s Instagram Sparks Joy

It’s been just over a year since American fashion witnessed the closure of what had once been one of its most gleaming businesses. In November 2019, Zac Posen shuttered his eponymous label after eighteen years — when Cardi B wore two Posen dresses for her January 2020 Vogue cover shoot, Posen called it a “proud finale” for the label. And what a nearly 20-year act it was.

When Posen launched the company in 2001 he was 20 years old, with over 16 years of experience already in his rearview (he started designing at the age of four). He was part of an emerging crop of young designers in a post 9/11 world that were called upon to help reshape the narrative of a downtrodden New York City. But his story really begins a few months earlier. “The dress of the season wasn’t on a runway,” reported the New York Times magazine in a February 2001 feature. “It was a little number whipped up by a genius in training.” Even then, barely out of teenagehood, Posen was self-assured in his pursuit of creating beauty. “I’m an artist and an anthropologist,” he explained. “And I’m searching for a place where clothing transports, protects and enhances the wearer.”

Related | How Isaac Mizrahi Fell Out of Love With Fashion

Now, somehow still only forty, Posen seems happier and more at ease than ever. He didn’t tell me this, so much as I began noticing it on his Instagram feed. I wasn’t alone. “So this is what happens when you quit fashion?” designer Kingsley Gbadegesin asked on Instagram accompanied by the hot face emoji. “Happiness looks good on you, Zac.”

Prior to the closure of the business, the Posen Instagram was giving you standard fashion label fare. Lots of dresses, pics of Posen with celebs like Rihanna, Demi Moore and Eartha Kitt (!!), and the occasional and very necessary throwback.

We’d get the occasional selfie, but the light was often obstructing the view.

That all began to change when Posen made the slight but noticeable shift toward giving the people something else we want: more of him. It started appropriately with a throwback to a younger, shirtless Posen from his debut in Elle Magazine before we graduated to present day. In April, we got the emergence of plant daddy. By June, his brimmed hat began causing palpitations. And by September the pecs and abs were on full display. Two days later: Arm too emerged. To quote Justin Bieber: “I love arm.”

The hits just kept coming.

And coming.

And coming.

So, I decided to call up Posen to chat about his fashion past, his fashion future, the IG pivot and our shared love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Zac, I just have to say as a fellow gay Jew and lifelong fan of your work, it is an incredible honor.

Thank you.

It’s been just over a year since you announced the closure of your business. What has the last year been like for you?

Well, it’s been as wild as I think it’s been for many. Personally, it has been a time of reflection, a time of healing, a time of introspection and lots of learning about myself. I started my company so young and really ran my business for almost 20 years. So for most of my adult life, through many different types of rhythms and as a company evolves as a living thing itself, it’s kind of what I knew. I started working in fashion at 16, and there was no looking back. So it was the first time that I had ever been in one place for probably more than two weeks since I was 22. And the first time that I wasn’t in continual creation of a collection and all the components that go into that. So it was a real change of pace. And I think the greatest thing that I was excited about, and I’d always dreamt about and never had the experience to do, was to watch the seasons and nature change from sitting in one place. And it was really kind of incredible because you really feel the surprise of mother nature and how uncontrollable it is and all its elements.

Related | How to Start a Fashion Label During a Pandemic

How has that stillness changed you professionally?

I’ve continued my one-of-a-kind couture business, and so that enabled me to really take time with each piece. In my past experiences, the second I would be finished draping a piece or a gown it was out of my hands. And this gives me the ability to step back and reflect on pieces and perfect them or redo them. Also, I ended up just looking at the purpose of fashion. In September I did this installation in Central Park, and that was really about bringing a creative process and showing the resilience of New York City and how important impromptu creative ventures can be. And it wasn’t about finished clothing; it was about the process of making clothing and what would come out when I brought my mannequins into Central Park. It was also a love note to the city. So my creative process has gone in many different ways outside of clothing.

Any projects you’re working on that you’re particularly excited about?

I’m working on quite a few different entertainment projects within the food space, gardening space, scripted, etc. I like storytelling. That’s a big part of what I did in fashion and it’s exciting to be able to have the time to develop and reflect. I think we lived in a moment when everything was so fast paced and everything had become — even if we didn’t want it to be — slightly disposable. And I think that in a sense, this crazy time we’re living in creates this refocus on value, on what it takes to craft something or make something and time to perfect things. As we look to the future, I’ve always been looking at technology and I’ve always been looking at how technology exists with craft because I think human craft remains, but it kind of gets explored and showcased through digital today. So we have to remain human and tactile.

I was going to ask if you ever hope to revive the brand one day, but it sounds like the brand still lives on. But do you ever hope to revive the brand as we, the consumer, once knew it?

No, definitely not. I think that fashion is rapidly changing. I think what defines fashion in some way is changing. The brand still exists. I am a consultant. But I’m very happy working on my solo pieces and giving them the attention that I feel that they need. And I think culturally the world is different. And I think that retail has changed. I think the consumer has changed and I think overall the whole model has to be really, really looked at. And that’s something that I am constantly thinking about. That being said, there’s some interesting stuff worth exploring like the potential of working for another brand in the future. We’ll see. What I have the time to do now is really look into myself and think, “is this right?” Because I was so much on the go 24/7 for so long. It’s been a really exciting time where I’m able to refocus and to really be healthy. I’ve always been healthy, but it’s difficult when you’re traveling to the extent that I was traveling and doing so many collections and. It’s been great to be able to focus on that: get fit, get strong and get ready for the next chapter. The next act.

I interviewed Isaac Mizrahi last year and one thing that he said that really stuck with me was his falling out of love with fashion. “I just hate it,” he said. “I think it’s the worst.” I’m curious if that resonates for you at all?

I’m pretty passionate and I’m definitely in love with fashion. How does that resonate with me? I think that fashion is a very difficult, challenging industry. Building luxury is a lifelong pursuit. Building a brand takes a very long time. I have no hard feelings for my experience. I’ve learned so much and became very wise as a creator and as a leader and really got an incredible business education. I don’t live with regrets and I feel very fortunate to have the experience I had. And I think that fashion itself will always have a really important place for me. I think the industry itself I’ve watched change through so many different cycles. When I entered fashion it was really the old system. I watched that system evolve into digital. I watched a generation of American talent be groomed. I’ve seen talent leave the industry and the rise of influencers, social media, and direct-to-consumer. So I’ve seen the evolution and I know it will evolve multiple times more in my future. And I’m pretty excited to either watch that happen or be able to be at the forefront leading that.

I vote forefront. But let’s go back to the getting fit comment you made earlier. Is it fair to say that the closing of your business directly correlates to your health journey? I know you mentioned finally having time.

Absolutely. I think that this time period gave me the opportunity to really look inside and really ask big questions and ask myself had I fallen out of love with fashion — which I did not. But also I think living a different paced life was really healthy: eating healthy and exercise. I mean, I started seriously exercising for the first time, where I was exercising every day and training, and that’s been really good for my mind and getting through this time. I’ve been doing a training of yoga alternated with a kind of ballet training workout and then swimming through the summer.

Now on that note, we’ve gotten a lot more behind the scenes of Zac in the past year, particularly the latter half, on Instagram. Was that a decision you gave thought to or it just kind of happened?

Well, I really treat my Instagram pretty naturally — for better or worse. In the past, my Instagram was really balanced between Zac the person and Zac the brand, and when the brand closed and COVID hit shortly thereafter, I think everybody was spending more time at home and so it was really a natural progression. I think that I use social media to give a glimpse into my world and to share my passions, to teach, to inform, to educate. But at the end of the day, content is about entertaining. And part of growing up in the public eye is understanding that you have the ability to help people, to open people’s eyes to things that inspire them, excite them and entertain them. So, you know, that’s how I treat it. Teaching people how to cook, how to garden, motivating people to exercise, to live healthy, teaching them about history at times, or books I’m reading, movies I’m watching. I use it in a pretty uncalculated way is what I would say, but pretty honest.

So speaking of educating people about history, you posted a photo not that long ago with a caption that read: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which immediately made my eyes bulge. Are you a closet Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and was that your coming out post?

God, my love of Buffy… that’s so funny. Well, I know you’re a big Buffy fan. I mean, I definitely watched it in the heyday and I definitely have amazing memories from my teenage years in New York with Sarah Michelle — the fabulous Sarah Michelle — and what a force she was in New York City. I definitely used to watch Buffy. I mean, I love watching entertaining great shows, so that’s where the caption came from.

In what way did that caption correlate to your shirtless body, I’m so curious?

It randomly popped up in my head. That was a full like random association with the photo.

Obviously you are someone who a lot of young designers look to as one of the blueprints for launching a successful brand from a young age. Who are you looking at? Who are the young designers that you have your eye on, that are inspiring you?

There’s a jewelry designer named Jameel Mohammed. I think he’s really, really talented. I like Craig Green. He’s really interesting to look at. Marine Serre. I think of the excellence. She knows how to cut clothing really well. It’s an interesting take on street fashion, and the techniques are there and I just liked the whole brand.

Let me end by asking you this. There’s a ton of young people right now who have just graduated or will graduate in May and are going to walk out and enter into a rapidly shifting industry. What advice do you have to young designers, whether they be recent grads or those currently in school about how to move forward and make a path for themselves in an industry that has an uncertain future in terms of how it will be shaped ahead?

I think it’s up to the generation that’s coming out to really shape the future. The more knowledge the better, I would say. Get your hands dirty and start actually making clothing and really refining and defining your brand. I think this time gives an opportunity for new creators to really perfect and refine and define their vision of what they want to do if they want to start their own brand. If I were them I would be on my sewing machine day and night, which I was when I was their age. And I think that it’s a great time to look at where the future can go. When I look at the future of clothing or a brand it doesn’t even need to be a physical pieces. It can be something totally virtual: a new item that could be brought into fashion is something really interesting and important to look at. The trick is bringing something else into the vernacular of what defines a brand or what is luxury. And I think you really have the time to search for that. I would say get experimental. You know, certainly ecologically the world just doesn’t need another piece of clothing. So really work on putting something out there that’s very personable and very special.

Welcome to “Wear Me Out,” a column by pop culture fiend Evan Ross Katz that takes a look at the week in celebrity dressing. From award shows and movie premieres to grocery store runs, he’ll keep you up to date on what your favorite celebs have recently worn to the biggest and most inconsequential events.

Photos via Instagram

The Artist Turning His Grindr Messages Into Sculptures

When Colin Radcliffe was three, he drew Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar on his kitchen wall using paint markers. While most parents would be furious, Radcliffe’s were “so impressed” with its accuracy and left the drawing for years until moving to a new house. This naive moment, which Radcliffe credits as his first experience making art, has followed him into adulthood, with “humor, color and playfulness” remaining cornerstones of his current practice.

Over the years though, Radcliffe says the themes and content of his art have naturally matured as he’s grown into his queer identity. “I’ve carried and refined the childlike qualities in my work with its playful forms and bright punchy colors,” he says, “and fused that with mature themes and experiences like sex, heartbreak and identity.”

Now, Radcliffe makes “autobiographical” art about his own relationships, especially within a digital context. Largely divided between two bodies of work — ceramic lovers and ceramic phones — he says each piece “is a record or an ode to an ex-lover, and my memories and feelings of them.” Some are darker, coping with heartbreak or guilt, and others are lighter to address “love, adoration, affection, tenderness and intimacy.”





In many ways, this is all Radcliffe’s response to the way he was raised. “Growing up, sex was never discussed,” he says. “Being queer, your ‘coming-of-age’ happens more so in your twenties than your teens, so making work about queer sex and intimacy is a way for me to now embrace my identity, while exploring sex and love and my body in ways I couldn’t before.” The “sexual explicitness” of Radcliffe’s sculptures, then, are as much a “rebellion” to his upbringing as they are a “celebration” of his life today.

Related | This Designer Covered His Handkerchief in Dicks

Radcliffe’s ceramic lovers are colorful, gangly figures depicted in the nude. One is shown watching Pornhub on its cellphone with a face of dismay, and another is placing its dick inside a hot dog bun in preparation to slather it in yellow mustard. A lonely ghost sits with blue balls — literally painted blue — next to a tombstone that reads, “You ghosted me today,” while a skeleton captures the perfect low-angle dick pic. “The balance between sex and humor is as natural to me as it is purposeful,” Radcliffe says. “I rely on humor as a catalyst to talk about and heal from trauma, and other intense or difficult experiences.”





Pulling from ideas surrounding social media and dating apps, Radcliffe’s cellphone sculptures intend to highlight the origin of his love affairs. With displayed messages like, “You only ever want to see me after midnight,” to, “I saw you on the L train this morning,” they reflect our over-reliance on technology to “find and form” modern love. “The ceramic phones started partially as an acknowledgement of my own behavior, but also as a way to be more honest and direct about my experiences as a young queer person navigating relationships today,” he says, specifically referencing Grindr and Scruff as replacements for physical cruising spaces like bars and clubs.

All of Radcliffe’s art starts with a “romantic, platonic or sexual” experience, before he begins sculpting. “I don’t make work if I don’t have an emotional connection to it,” he says, adding that his process typically opens with sketches that pull from real-life references: Tattoos, expressions, texts, poses, a bag of Cheetos. He sculpts “intuitively” and exclusively by hand without tools — a process that has deeper meaning to Radcliffe. “Porcelain is an especially impressionable clay body,” he says. “It remembers every way it’s been pushed and pulled and touched. So working directly with my hands — the same hands that held and caressed a lover — allows me to imprint into the clay a feeling or a memory directly.”

Below, PAPER gets to know Colin Radcliffe even more intimately: his most recent saved photo, most recent Google search, texts with ex-lovers and more.

Describe the last photo saved on your phone.

My breakfast! An avocado toast made into a funny face. It’s a slice of toasted sourdough with garlic hummus as a mouth, with pumpkin seeds for teeth and a dollop of hot sauce for a tongue. The nose is a slice of red onion and the ears are scrambled eggs, and then for the eyes it’s two halves of an avocado with a pool of hot sauce and black cherry tomatoes where the avocado pit was, all over a big salad.

Your Instagram bio says, “You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had.” Tell me about your day.

I woke up.

What’s the most important thing to remember when taking a selfie?

Feeling yourself, but good lighting is a close second.

If you could collaborate with anyone right now, who would it be?

There are many, but right now I’d say Katie Stout. I’ve loved her work for years, but a mutual friend of ours, Jeremy Kost, recently introduced us over text. We both work figuratively and deal with sex and the body, saturated color, and playfulness and humor, with Katie’s work often having a functional component like the work doubling as a lamp or a toilet paper dispenser. I imagine we’d have a lot of fun collaborating on a sculpture and I’d be curious what sort of functionality the piece might have. Would it be a fountain? A lamp? A dildo?

Have you texted an ex-lover yet in quarantine? If so, how’d that go?

Of course, even without the quarantine I still would’ve texted some of my ex-lovers. I keep in touch with many of them actually. Some of them are good friends now and others we just check in on each other from time to time.

What’s your most recent google search?

“quelle est la différence entre épicé et pimenté?”

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?

I drink a giant mug of chamomile tea, while writing my to-do list for the next day.

What are you listening to, right now?

Right now, mostly a few french artists like Yseult, Angèle and Joanna.

What’s the role of an artist in 2020?

Artists are just people and can fill any role that any person can in any field. Freedom of choice and expression is at the base of being artist, and what role an artist takes is pretty individual. I think, especially in 2020, it can be dangerous to look at artists as moral or ethical pillars who hold up a mirror to society and critique the problems in it. Artists are great visual storytellers, but less great historians. We still express our own bias through our work, and often edit our own narratives to better fit an idea or message we have. An artist’s work can be a record of society at a given time, but the responsibility of political and social criticism and of cultural record-keeping shouldn’t just fall on artists. It’s on everyone to be active, thoughtful and educated.

Photos courtesy of Colin Radcliffe


FILA’s #UpTheBeat Dance Challenge Raised $50k to Support World Central Kitchen

This article is a sponsored collaboration between FILA and PAPER

This month, PAPER produced a video with our favorite TikTok stars to ramp up excitement for FILA’s #UpTheBeat dance challenge.

We tapped Amanda LaCount and Brian Esperon to follow choreography by the award-winning Williams Family, who you’ve seen compete on America’s Got Talent and World of Dance. Set to SAINt JHN’s viral sound, “Gorgeous,” #UpTheBeat was aimed at starting 2021 off on the right foot and embracing new beginnings.

Related | FILA Has a New Dance Challenge With Your Favorite TikTok Stars

Thanks to all the people who participated in the hashtag, FILA has donated $50,000 in support of World Central Kitchen’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

And now, FILA has created a compilation of those who took on the #UpTheBeat challenge to thank them. This video features members from FILA’s larger campaign alongside PAPER’s favorite TikTok stars and even some #UpTheBeat submissions across Instagram and TikTok.

Check out the video, below, to see how fans put their own unique spin on the dance.

Direction/ DP: Olivier Lessard

Choreography: The Williams Brothers

Production: Peter Schwab

Hair: Dritan Vushaj

Makeup: Dana Delaney

Styling: Ariel Leon-Coeur

Local Prod: Cookie Walukas


Britney Spears’ Ex-Husband Helped Storm the Capitol

Britney Spears‘ childhood friend Jason Alexander, who she was famously married to for 55 hours following a 2004 Vegas wedding, has yet again made an unlikely return to the headlines. After showing up to a Free Britney protest last year and going somewhat viral, it would seem that Alexander attended yesterday’s disturbing US Capitol MAGA riots.

Related | Ariel Pink Was at the Capitol Riots

Apparently a longtime Trump supporter, the Louisiana boilermaker posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a Trump-branded beanie on the streets of DC yesterday.

Related | Ivanka Trump Calls MAGA Rioters ‘Patriots’

A quick scroll through Alexander’s public posts reveals he’s an entrenched conspiracy theorist, engaging with all the Qanon cliches: from flat earth truthing to Joe Rogan interviews. He recently posted a rant against wearing masks to the pandemic with a country-rap song playing in the background… comments turned off.

Alexander posted about his plans to attend the violent rally three days ago, posting footage of himself attending a smaller protest with the text, “Where all my patriots I’m on the Trump Train what will you tell your grand kids [sic]”.

Britney Spears’ ex fiancé for 55 hours was one of the insurrectionists who invaded the U.S. Capitol yesterday. https://t.co/YuAGLQpAsp — Britney Fan (@Britney Fan)1610037901.0

Spears and Alexander had their quickie 2004 marriage annulled after lawyers petitioned that Spears “lacked understanding of her actions” while going through with the ceremony. She ended up marrying backup dancer Kevin Federline a few months later; they divorced in 2006.

First to break the Jason Alexander Capitol story was Britney fan account @BritneyHiatus, which also was first to report his attendance at the #FreeBritney protest in LA last year. And while we’re always hoping for the best for the clearly-troubled Britney, it’s hard not to draw a link between the conspiracy theories around her conservatorship and the misinformation-filled Qanon posts that have destroyed the internet and directly resulted in yesterday’s terrifying coup attempt.

There’s a lot of bullshit on the internet, people! Be wary of what you read.

Photos via Getty