Khaby Lame Poised to Become TikTok’s Number One Creator

The top 10 most-followed accounts on TikTok are for the most part about what you’d expect: American teenage girls who sing, dance and generally… influence. Your D’Amelios, your Loren Grays, your Addison Raes.

But one creator stands out as a total outlier: Khaby Lame, a young Senegalese-Italian comedy personality who is predicted to overtake Charli D’Amelio’s number one spot in a matter of weeks.

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Lame is known for videos in which he makes fun of “life hacks” you might see around the internet, many of which are more complicated than doing things the old fashioned way. The New York Times calls the 21-year-old former factory worker “the everyman of the internet.”


Let’s eat 🍒 But I don’t like seeing you make your life harder. Mangiamo 🍒 ma non mi piace che ti complichi la vita.##learnfromkhaby ##LearnWithTikTok

♬ suono originale – Khabane lame

His current follower count? A chill 91 million. And that’s growing fast. While Charli D’Amelio boasts 120 million followers, Lame’s growth rate outstrips hers significantly. He gained more than 20 million new followers in the past month alone, compared to D’Amelio’s approximate two million.

After losing his job at the beginning of the pandemic and turning to TikTok full time, Lame is now living off the platform’s Creator Fund as well as a few brand deals, including pasta purveyors Barilla. The fact he can speak multiple languages helps him appeal to an international audience, which is one reason for his huge popularity. Although the New York Times also reports that his Senegalese passport makes it difficult for Lame to travel to countries like the United States for work.

At the rate he’s going, Lame will likely have stolen Charli D’Amelio’s crown by mid-August. He recently created a YouTube account, so maybe catch him there soon, too. All hail our Italian TikTok king!

Screenshot via Instagram

In Memoriam: Fleets 2020-2021

Well that pretty much lasted just about as long as we expected it to.

Twitter has announced that eight months after they were first rolled out, Fleets are being discontinued. Originally devised as Twitter’s response to Instagram Stories, Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook and practically every other social media platform that had an under-utilized disappearing post function, Fleets were intended to be an outlet for users to post things they didn’t think merited a full tweet, but wanted to share anyways.

The only problem being nobody actually ever used them.

Now, Twitter has announced that they are removing Fleets starting August 3rd due to lack of use. Fleets will be gone from the top of the feed, but any active Spaces convos will still exist there. The special camera effects you could only use in Fleets — like adding text or GIF stickers — will just become a part of how you normally compose a tweet.

Unfortunately for Twitter, it seems that nobody is terribly upset about the news. Fleets were almost universally ridiculed from the moment they were first introduced, with bottoms and medical professionals giving a knowing snicker at the name. Others complained about Twitter creating yet another unwanted feature instead of just giving them the ability to edit tweets.

Even Twitter seems to acknowledge the fact that no one likes Fleets, writing “we’re sorry or you’re welcome” in the tweet announcing the change.

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, Twitter’s vice president of product, said in a statement. “But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”

It’s safe to say the Fleets won’t be missed and will likely only be remembered for how embarrassingly short-lived the feature ended up being. Normally, we would take this time to reflect and look back on some of our favorite Fleets from over the past few months, but nothing really comes to mind…

So enjoy these tweets dunking on the death of Fleets instead.

Twitter to shut down #Fleets on Aug.3


Finding out Twitter is removing #Fleets on August 3rd…

— Elliot Leaver (@elliotleaver92)

Twitter removing fleets from August 3.

Meanwhile, people who have no idea what that is, to begin with.…

— LiaisonIT (@liaisonitinc)

Twitter announces Fleets Invention Team, to be disbanded…

— Bristowvian (@AGlensMan)

Twitter to remove #Fleets

Social Media Managers:

— Yavi Digital – Social Media Marketing (@yavidigital)

My farewell blessing for #Fleets

— St. Olaf Stories (@StOlafStories)

Photo via Getty/ Ole Spata

Emma Chamberlain and Charli D’Amelio Show Off Summer’s Hottest New Shoes

As the undisputed queens of TikTok and YouTube, respectively, Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain each possess the kind of influence aspiring digital stars everywhere can only dream of. But together? The power is unmatched.

Related | BTS Are the New Ambassadors of Louis Vuitton

With an almost scary combined following of over 200 million, it’s only fitting that the fashion world wants in on their joint reach. And so, to help launch their newest footwear styles, Louis Vuitton put the stylish duo front and center of their latest campaign, shot in LA complete with retro cars and sun-kissed palm trees.

In the images, both girls show off the brand’s two latest shoe launches (now available in all Louis Vuitton stores worldwide): the LV SQUAD, a chunky sneaker with an oversized rubber sole, and the LV SUNSET, a flat slide with oversized velcro strap. Each style comes in different colors as well as a Vuitton rubber label, and they’re both part of Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2021 collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière.

Chamberlain, of course, is no stranger to the Louis Vuitton world, having famously attended one of the brand’s fashion shows in 2019 which she documented in her YouTube channel. D’Amelio, meanwhile, most notably attended Milan Fashion Week right before the pandemic hit, culminating with a front row seat at Prada.

Browse a selection of LV SQUAD and LV SUNSET styles in the gallery, below.

Photos courtesy of Louis Vuitton

What Happened to Defnoodles’ Account?

Dennis Feitosa, or more famously known as Defnoodles, has been permanently suspended from his Twitter account. This comes as a shock to not only his fans but himself included since it is unclear as to what “exactly” he has been suspended for.

Defnoodles has been a proactive and satirical source of media for viewers wanting the gossip within the influencer/ TikTok community. Fans noticed the account suspension on July 13 in which Feitosa quickly took to Youtube to address the account ban. Defnoodles criticized the suspension, interjecting his own theories about the plausible causes with snippets from Eminem’s “Stan.”

Back in March, Feitosa spoke to Vulture and described the news he covers as “the most banal and irrelevant stories that anybody could be talking about.” Doubling down, he went on to say, “This is all soft journalism and a lot of the time it’s just presented with such seriousness, and people take it so seriously. I’m making fun of how these non-stories are presented and framed in this way that ends up generating all this outrage. At the end of the day, it’s a commentary on this independent social media sphere that fuels so much of this outrage and backlash.”

After the account termination, Defnoodles posted an update to his secondary personal account, “gowithdennis,” where he further speculated that he’d been mass reported. In the statement, he reminded fans that he was given no reason as to why his account had suddenly been taken offline. Twitter provided an answer a day later in a statement to Business Insider.

Twitter claimed that Feitosa had been booted from the platform because of supposed “rule violation,” though not specifying which rules the account had broke.

In the meantime, Defnoodles said that he will continue to have an online presence, posting news updates via Instagram and Youtube.

Photo via Twitter

Facebook Paying Influencers $1B to Use the Platform

These days, Facebook is known as the social network for the generations of people that may not really understand how the computer works. Parents, grandparents and, somehow, all of your older coworkers have made the platform home, driving the younger demographic, and subsequently its influencers, to newer social media sites like TikTok where they’ve built their own followings. But Facebook has revealed that it has plans to bring influencers to its platform so who knows how the social landscape will change in the near future.

Facebook recently unveiled its plans to pay influencers $1 billion to utilize its products, in a program that’s set to run until the end of 2022. Its mission? To revive the platform and stop it from being the place to go to see what your old teachers are up to nowadays. This also goes for Instagram which has quickly become second fiddle to TikTok.

Related | Facebook Bans Trump Until 2023

Deadline reports that Facebook will reward creators, especially those just starting, and will include a new bonus program that compensates eligible creators for hitting milestones using facebook tools. The company will provide seed funding for creators to make their own content.

“We want to build the best platforms for millions of creators to make a living,” CEO Mark Zuckergberg said in a Facebook post. “Investing in creators isn’t new for us, but I’m excited to expand this work over time.”

Related | Nature Is Healing: Young People Are Returning To Facebook

Some of these new programs are reportedly already available via invitation for select creators. Some of these are IGTV ads bonuses which enable creators to earn a one-time bonus for signing up, Reels Summer bonuses, which pays Instagram creators for creating Reel content on the platform, badges in Live bonuses, which rewards creators that reach certain milestones, and the Stars Challenges Bonuses, which involves gaming creators hitting certain monthly Stars milestones over the next three months.

More change is set to come soon because a dedicated place for bonuses will arrive in Instagram this summer and Facebook this fall.

Photo via Getty/ Alex Wong

TikTok Star Accused of Grooming Millie Bobby Brown

Twenty-year old TikTok influencer Hunter Echo is currently facing grooming accusations after sharing crude remarks online about 17-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, the underage actor whom he allegedly dated.

The whole debacle seems to have stemmed from a since-deleted tweet that brought the relationship to light, and was later corroborated by photos of Brown and Echo kissing that began to circulate on social media. Everything snowballed into an Instagram Live, where Echo discussed being in a romantic relationship with the Stranger Things lead.

Reports seem to differ on whether Brown was 15 or 16 at the time, and the two reportedly lived together for eight months.

When the TikToker went on Live, he alluded to having engaged in sexual acts with Brown, but adamantly insisted she was the one to initiate the relationship and that her parents didn’t object at the time.

“I have nothing to apologize for, so make that clear. I have zero things to apologize for. You guys do not know a single thing at all,” Echo said, before addressing a lawsuit rumored to have been filed against him by Brown’s parents. “How the fuck is that a lawsuit? I thought her mum and dad knew about everything.”

Echo continued to assert that everything was “completely legal” even though the age of consent in California, where he lives, is 18 years old. At one point during the Live, Echo responded to a comment that said, “Imagine being a grown adult and dating a kid,” with, “I know, I groomed her.”

The TikToker’s Instagram was swiftly taken down, but because the internet lasts forever, the entire Live was captured and later uploaded to another account, Exposing Hunter Echo. Brown’s representatives eventually told TMZ that Echo’s claims weren’t true and that her legal team would be “taking action to ensure that he stops this behavior.”

“Mr. Ecimovic’s remarks on social media are not only dishonest but also are irresponsible, offensive and hateful,” Brown’s representatives said. “Instead of engaging in a public discourse with him through the press or on social media, we are taking action to ensure that he stops this behavior once and for all.”


♬ original sound – Hunter_Ech0

In the wake of this backlash, Echo shared a brief apology video where he attempted to attribute his missteps to having gotten “more and more drunk” throughout the course of the multi-hour stream, and “said stuff that should’ve never been said.”

He also attempted to downplay the severity of the situation. “People are trying to make it 10 times worse,” Echo continued. “There’s already stories that are completely not correct, were never said, um, it’s all being fabricated because that’s what happens, apparently.”

Ultimately, the apology video ended with Hunter admitting the original Live was a bad idea and regrets the things he said. “I’m not proud of at all how I spoke,” he said. “It sounded very immature, looked horrible on my family, it looked horrible on me, it looked horrible on my friends.”

According to TMZ, there are now current active investigations looking into Echo.

Photo via Getty/ JC Olivera

SNATCHURAL: Playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ With MakeupByAriel

Hi Uglies…

You’ve seen his work hundreds of times, trust me. Easily one of the industry’s most talented makeup artists, Ariel Tejada (known online as MakeupByAriel) is behind some of the biggest beauty trends that have gone viral across social media, including the recent hype behind “blush-touring” or contouring with blush to make the face appear more lifted and snatched.

The 26-year-old makeup mogul has created some of the most glam looks on the biggest names, including Rosalía, Paloma Mami, Shay Mitchell and, of course, the entire KardashianJenner clan. Many of the looks he creates on his clients have become instant online trends, inducing the aforementioned blush, colorful inner corner shadow and what he calls “BabyDoll Glam.”

Related | SNATCHURAL: GRWM With Patrick Starrr

I got a chance to catch up with Ariel and glam together as we play with his new Morphe brush collaboration. The Eye and Face Brush Set is the first ever collab Morphe has done with a professional makeup artist. Watch as the self-made talent breaks down the meaning behind each brush while we play “Never Have I Ever.”

These Oil Paintings Commemorate Our Cringey COVID Era

It all started with Chet Hanks.

Or, technically, it all started when Chet’s parents, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, announced they had tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020 — the first big celebrity case of the virus that for many, and for reasons that say more about who we are as a people than could fill a shelf of sociological texts, cemented the gravity of the pandemic. For artist Isaac Peifer, it was an early inspiration for his pandemic-era celebrity portraiture, a practice he would keep up for over a year, culminating in a new gallery show, titled Cringe: Portraits From the Pandemic, on view July 16 through 18 at THNK1994 in Manhattan.

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Throughout quarantine, Peifer painted portraits of public figures who captured our fleeting, flattened attention during the last year and a half: celebrities, politicians and otherwise everyday people who’d achieved virality — a term that takes on new meaning in the wake of a global pandemic — at one point or another. (Remember that giant baby?) Cringe is a diary entry of those moments: Gal Gadot, blithely leading an unwanted digital lullaby, hangs alongside Emily Ratakowski as a modern-day Instagram-hot Madonna and child and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, absurdly half-masked in a portrait titled “Todos Nós Vamos Morrer um Dia.” Recreating these contemporary figures in the historically stoic medium of oil on canvas, Peifer in turn bestows his subjects with a sort of goofy gravitas. Through quick brushstrokes, they all appear cartoonish and exaggerated, almost grotesque. As Peifer says, “I don’t think I was documenting the celebrities themselves. I was documenting this shift in how other people saw them.”

The artist speaks with PAPER about his process, the seedy side of the elite and what the pandemic taught us about interconnectedness.

As you were painting during quarantine, when did you realize that you were creating a series of works, as opposed to this one-off thing?

At the very beginning, when Tom Hanks tested positive for coronavirus and then his son Chet — who would then later reappear miraculously during all this — made a video where he was talking about how his parents have coronavirus but that they’re OK and everything is fine. He was very calm about it. I found it to be a very calming video. It helped me sleep at night because at that point everybody thought, “Everybody’s going to get coronavirus and everybody’s going to die.” And here was [Chet,] this very strange character that nobody had ever heard of talking about his famous father and how everything was fine. And so the next day I was like, “I need something to paint because I’m going crazy because we’re in lockdown.” So I decided to paint him, almost as a gesture of appreciation because I found him to be such an interesting person.

I posted it on Twitter and people liked it. After that, I sort of got into the habit. It was my way of processing everything that was happening: this revolving door of celebrities making some statement about what was going on and most of the time humiliating themselves in the process, becoming [the internet’s] “clown of the day.”

“Clown” because they’re demonstrating how out of touch they are?

They were kind of clowns because — in the same way that normal, average, everyday people were looking for whatever lightning rod there was to attract their free floating frustration and ire and anxiety and fear — celebrities also had this impulse to try to humble themselves. In doing so, it often just came off as insincere, or it backfired because it came off as un-self-aware. It was this moment where celebrities really couldn’t win; they were probably afraid of being seen or seeing themselves as the bad kind of rich people. So they have to take a stand against everything that was happening, but in doing so they just revealed themselves to be, at the end of the day, no different than the quote-unquote bad rich and powerful people. They still got to bunker away in their little hamlets.

What was your painting process like?

Whoever was getting attention, I would sit down [and] paint that image. I was looking at my phone in my left hand and painting in my right hand, just painting as fast as I could because I knew that these moments were passing so fast but I wanted to be able to share them while the moment was still relevant.

I found that that fast painting naturally made these sort of cartoony portraits that were sort of funny but the effort, I feel, was earnest. It was this mixture, to me, of irony and sincerity; it wasn’t purely cynical that I was painting celebrities because they were having a moment of vitality. It was partly that, and it was partly me earnestly trying to document everything that was going on in the world through a lens of social media and celebrity. I was treating it like a chronology of everything that was happening, because the moments themselves were so brief and forgotten about.

I’m curious about your notion of “cringe” for this show. What does cringe mean to you?

Cringe, to me, is when earnesty backfires. We’ve been in this period of irony for so long, and there are these periodic calls to return to some sort of sincerity that never really seem to take hold. I wonder if there is something about the digital age that sort of naturally leads to a dominance of irony? There were some moments during the pandemic where these moments of [earnestness] that went viral because it made people feel good — I’m thinking about that guy who drank cranberry juice on a skateboard listening to Fleetwood Mac.

If it feels like it takes some sort of effort, it’s just cringe. It’s such a nebulous concept. In the age of irony, cringe is what happens when earnesty can’t quite break over the barricade of irony. The more you’re seen to be a person of status, the harder it is for your [intent] to be understood as earnestness and not as cynicism.

I feel like people might be confused as to why somebody like Adele would be included in a show with portraits of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein — I don’t think I’m creating a moral equivalent between them. To me, the Epstein saga is the zeitgeist that we live in. It’s the maximum realization of the logic of wealth and power. All of these moments that we process [are] under the shadow of what Jeffrey Epstein represents, which is sort of the machinations of money and power and corruption. It removed a certain veneer of legitimacy over the elite, in the same way that watching celebrities bunker down in their mansions during coronavirus tarnished their image as benevolent rich people. There’s a lot of understanding that, materially speaking, we are not all in the same boat. We are not all in this together. That was the message that a lot of famous, rich, normally ostensibly well-liked people kept trying to say at the beginning of this pandemic — and that message of unity fell flat.

Do you have a favorite portrait in the show, or maybe one that you keep thinking back on?

I have a special place in my heart for the Jeffrey Epstein painting, because that was my first painting where I found painting had a power to it beyond fulfilling my need to take up a hobby. It can engage people. As I would paint all of these things, I would hang them up in the living room salon-style, paintings all over the place. The Jeffrey Epstein one was hanging right above my television, and it was always one the people were interested in. The subject matter is so jarring, so people usually have strong reactions to that one.

I think of it as sort of a pre-haunted portrait. [Historically,] so many subjects of portraiture are painted because they’re being honored for greatness [but then] they end up being somehow exposed as villainous in some way. Villainy and power are so intricately entwined, where I think that all portraits have the potential to become haunted by this sort of darkness that’s inherent in the subject. With painting Jeffrey Epstein, [I’m] basically pre-haunting my portrait by saying, “This is the type of person who has power in our society. This is the type of person who would get a portrait. How does that make you feel?”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Photos courtesy of Isaac Peifer

Mac and Cheese Ice Cream Is Dividing the Internet

Today in extremely cursed collaborations, Kraft and Van Leeuwen have teamed up to create a true nightmare for the lactose intolerant: Mac and cheese ice cream.

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You read that right. Timothée Chalamet’s go-to meal is now being sold in ice cream form for a limited time in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day. And the rationale for this… interesting double-dairy mash up? Well, according to Kraft’s senior associate brand manager, Emily Violett, it’s all about combining “two of the most iconic comfort foods to create an ice cream with the unforgettable flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese we all grew up with.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kraft Mac & Cheese (@kraft_macandcheese)

Naturally though, the gimmick’s already proven to be pretty divisive, with most responding to the news with a mixture of horror and puke emojis. But even so, a few people also chimed in by pointing out that cheese-flavored ice cream’s a popular offering in other global markets, while others expressed excitement and curiosity about the unexpected combo.

And the weirdest part of it all? Turns out the collab actually has the stamp of approval from the experts over at Eater, who called it “nothing short of magical,” so maybe there is something to it. Either way though, the mac and cheese ice cream will be available for $12 a pint at Van Leeuwen’s NY, LA and Houston stores, as well as online starting on Wednesday. But until then, you can see what Twitter is saying about it, below.

Nobody asked for Mac and cheese ice cream, thank you…

— Arsène Lupin (@DCisChillin) July 13, 2021

everyone freaking out about mac and cheese ice cream but these are the flavors I grew up with 🇵🇭

— cam sanch (@trishkaa) July 13, 2021

I love Mac and Cheese. I love ice cream. This can get all the way out of my face

— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) July 13, 2021

Anyone up for tasting mac and cheese ice cream? 🤢 #justsayno

— Julie Coulter Bellon (@juliebellon) July 13, 2021

The @kraftmacncheese X @vanleeuwen new flavor announcement is EVERYTHING to me and more. There is nothing I love more than Kraft mac and cheese but a close second is ice cream and I am just OVER THE MOON!

— Gina barbagallo (@GinaB920) July 13, 2021

I want to try the Mac and cheese ice cream

— Lux 🧠 Alptraum (@LuxAlptraum) July 13, 2021

Photo courtesy of Kraft x Van Leeuwen

Jaclyn Hill Addresses Doubts About Attempted Kidnapping

Jaclyn Hill is responding to critics accusing her of “lying” about an attempted abduction from this past weekend.

On Sunday, the YouTuber opened up about a terrifying incident where two men tried to pull her into a car, before (rightfully) calling it “one of the scariest experiences of my life last night.”

Related | Jaclyn Hill Opens Up About Self-Medicating With Alcohol

“2 guys were literally trying to physically pull me into their car while I was alone outside. Thank you Jesus that I’m okay but that was so traumatizing,” Hill wrote, before telling fans she’d go over what happened on her Instagram Stories “so hopefully it never happens to you.”

“I’m still so shook up right now,” the beauty vlogger continued. “And it’s bullshit women have to be scared of these things.”

I’m going to tell you guys what happened in detail later today on my IG stories so hopefully it never happens to you. I’m still so shook up right now. And it’s bullshit women have to be scared of these things.

— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) July 11, 2021

And while many fans took to the comments to leave supportive messages, some accused her of “lying” and “crying wolf” in an attempt “to stay relevant.” Meanwhile, others claimed that the timing was “fishy” given the recent backlash surrounding her new bronzers, which were criticized for their limited shade range.

Jaclyn Hill is hard to believe because she’s known for attention seeking & trying to stay relevant. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. Maybe something happened, maybe she’s lying again 🤷🏻‍♀️ Good thing she told twitter first & did a tease video about the full story. Sound familiar 🤔

— Omwtopissyouoff (@omwtopissyouoff) July 13, 2021

bit sus how this happens after shes being dragged for her shit bronzer shade range lol

— cheryl / cheztina (@cheztinamua) July 11, 2021

Mannnnnn I dunno but something about Jaclyn Hill saying she was almost kidnapped days after a huge PR mess from her bronzer release is certainly fishy.

— liz ply (@ElizabethPly) July 13, 2021

However, in the wake of the “absolutely disgusting” accusations, Hill tweeted out an important point about how these kinds of comments were “the reason why so many people don’t speak up about things that happen to them.”

“Wow!!! Disgusting,” she added in a reply to a string of screenshots that showed someone accusing her “lying” if she didn’t “file a police report.” Not only that, but Hill also went on to address critics of her story in her Instagram Story, saying the doubt surrounding its veracity said “so much more about your character than it does about mine.”

The fact people are accusing me of lying about what happened to me this weekend is absolutely disgusting!!!
You are the reason why so many people don’t speak up about things that happen to them.

— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) July 12, 2021

WOW!!! Disgusting

— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) July 12, 2021

“Popping on social media, seeing people say that I’m doing this for attention or I’m making this up has got me so livid,” she shared, mentioning that she was still processing what happened. “I can’t even put it into words. I’m so angry over this. People who are accusing me of lying about a guy grabbing me.”

She went on to add, “Thank you, Jesus, that I’m completely 100% safe. It shook me up, it scared the shit out of me. I’ve learned my lesson.”

Photo via Getty / Desiree Navarro

XCX5 Is Coming

Serving as a reminder to always meme responsibly (or a tacit endorsement not to depending how you look at it), it appears Charli XCX might have just confirmed that she has a new album on the way.

Sharing what appears to be a fan-created shitpost featuring three demonic faeries crawling on their hands and knees asking if Charli had “xcx5,” the pop star confirmed that the rumors of a fifth studio album are in fact true.

Not that we’re complaining, but prior to the tweet the singer really hadn’t given much of any indication that new music was in the works. Then again, that’s not much of a surprise given how prolific Charli’s output has been over the years.

it’s true.

— Charli (@charli_xcx)

So far, this year has seen Charli release a collaboration with The 1975 and No Rome, as well hopping on a few tracks for Bladee, protege ELIO and her right hand man, A. G. Cook, so it makes sense that we would be about due for a little more sizable project from Charli.

Related | Charli XCX’s ‘Futurist’ Pop Is Just Our Present Dystopia

Whatever form XCX5 may take, the effort would serve as the follow-up to last year’s highly celebrated pandemic album, how i’m feeling now. Charli announced earlier this year that a documentary directed by Bradley & Pablo about how the album came together during lockdown, titled Alone Together, would be premiering at SXSW.

No word as of yet one when the documentary will see a wider release, but hopefully more news about that (and XCX5) is coming sooner rather than later.

Photo via Getty/ Justin Lloyd / Newspix

Addison Rae Filmed Introducing Herself to Trump

Fans are a little confused after watching a video uploaded by YouTube collective the Nelk Boys that shows influencer Addison Rae excitedly saying “hi” to former President Trump. The footage, filmed at the UFC 264 in Las Vegas on July 10, clearly depicts Rae approaching Trump and introducing herself.

“I’m Addison,” she says. “Nice to meet you, I have to say ‘hi.'” Sadly, we don’t get to hear Trump’s response to the future star of He’s All That.

ABSOLUTELY UNEXPECTED: Addison Rae gets out of her seat in the middle of the UFC to say hi former president Donald…

— Def Noodles (@defnoodles)

The video is kind of a weird flex, but maybe don’t immediately assume that Rae is a Trump fan. Though she’s been accused of being a registered Republican and owning MAGA merch in the past, those claims were debunked. And it’s worth noting the context of this video in particular — the Nelk boys are notorious frat bro-type pranksters, and this does feel like a “gotcha” moment.

Related | Addison Rae Responds to Republican Rumors

You can see the members of Nelk (who, despite being Canadian, are preoccupied with Trump and have filmed several encounters with him in the past) laughing as they film the clip, as well as making gross, derogatory comments about the influencer. “Addison Rae, exposed,” says one Nelk member, Kyle Forgeard. “Trump’s gonna fuck her, easy,” adds another, Stephen Deleonardis. Okay?

Also relevant: two members of Nelk were forced to apologize after posting a selfie with Rae at the same UFC event, with the obviously sexual caption “Eiffel Tower.” The post… is still up. Basically, these guys seem like assholes.

Had a great conversation with the next president of the United States about Fiscal Policy, Energy Independence and…

— NELK (@nelkboys)

Another confusing element of this story is the separate fact that Rae had earlier posted photos of herself holding a microphone and joking about becoming a UFC TV host despite being a journalism school dropout. It’s still unclear whether or not she was actually attending the 264 event in that capacity. Regardless, journalism students were extremely mad about the caption, and Rae later stated that she’d been fired from the supposed gig.

nvm y’all got me fired

— Addison Rae (@whoisaddison)

All in all, an eventful night of martial arts. Defund frat boys!

Photo via Getty

Moment of Appreciation for Bella Hadid in Schiaparelli Haute Couture

Bella Hadid is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival — the 24-year-old model has become almost synonymous with the Cannes red carpet, and all the glamour therein. Her looks make the headlines each time — as they should — leaving our jaws agape, and Twitter feeds full.

Most recently, Hadid’s lung necklace took our breath away at the premiere of Three Floors (Tre Piani) at the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival in France on Sunday.

The look, from the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall 2021 collection, features a golden necklace molded into the shape of the lungs, offset by a black, form-fitting dress. Schiaparelli describes the piece as a “gilded brass necklace in the shape of trompe l’oeil lungs, which is adorned with rhinestones.”

On an Instagram story, Hadid wrote “Thank you angel @danielroseberry This creation of yours is a dream come true. Art & reality. You and your mind are truly incredible!!! Thank you forever!!!”

Indeed, the creation was a dream come true, for Hadid and fans alike. Many were quick to comment on social media, with one user @itgirltrin writing “HELLO???????????????????????????????” (and receiving 300,000 likes, nonetheless).

Bella Hadid at the 74th Cannes Festival in France 2021

— chu (@chuuzus)

Hadid wore a similarly head-turning look earlier in the festival, as well: a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier piece. It’s clear she didn’t come to play.

Photo via Getty/ Samir Hussein/ WireImage

We Need This Adriana Lima, Megan Fox Date to Happen

Nobu is the restaurant of choice for ballplayers, Kardashians and now Megan Fox it seems. Fingers crossed, we may be able to expect a hot date between the Jennifer’s Body actress and supermodel Adriana Lima at the spot soon.

The two beauties shared an Instagram exchange Sunday where they did basically everything but propose to each other. In a split-screen collage, Lima posted a side-by-side of her and the actress writing, “@meganfox if you ever need a body double in one of your movies , hit me up my only request is … We share the same makeup artist @patrickta.”

Fox responded to the model with a suggestive invite saying, “But what if I need a girlfriend…can I hit you up for that as well?”

If the two do become the next celebrity power couple, it seems like the makeup artist that ties them together, Patrick Ta, won’t be forgotten.

“Patrick can still be involved somehow. He can do our makeup when I take you to Nobu,” Fox added.

The former Victoria’s Secret Angel quickly agreed, but the exchange is likely just some harmless flirting as Fox has been very publicly dating rapper Machine Gun Kelly for about a year now.

Still, the Fox/ Lima link-up is what fans are rooting for. Many users referenced the historical publicity surrounding Fox’s former crushes.

Megan Fox hitting on Adriana Lima in her IG comments is so ideal for like 2007 AND 2021 me.

— Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)

This isn’t Fox’s first time publicly thirsting over a bombshell. She famously told GQ in 2008 that, “Olivia Wilde is so sexy she makes me want to strangle a mountain ox with my bare hands.”

If there’s one takeaway the star has given us over the years, it’s that it’s never a bad idea to drop that thirst comment, whether in print or on the ‘gram. It could just land you a date with a supermodel.

the power that a megan fox thirst comment has……. 1 month from now adriana lima will have a gnarled mullet and follo…

— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard)

Photo via Getty/ Ferdaus Shamim/ WireImage

Beyoncé Spotted Rocking a Telfar Bag

The Telfar shopping bag has become one of the most coveted accessories in fashion. There’s no denying that it’s the new It-bag, with constant releases and restocks selling out in mere seconds. Many celebrities and influencers have also been seen carrying the “Bushwick Birkin,” and the latest spotted with the bag is none other than Beyoncé herself.

Related | Telfar’s First UGG Collection Takes Comfort to a New Level

Bey was spotted in Brooklyn with the medium-sized white Telfar shopping bag, while wearing Christopher John Rogers floral palazzo trousers. This, of course, was a great moment for repping two Black, CFDA award-winning designers.

Beyoncé was spotted in Brooklyn, New York today wearing Christopher John Rogers floral-print palazzo trousers ($1,9…

— oni (@__Onixivy_)

The fans of the faux leather unisex shoppers are predicting that the already impossible-to-obtain bags will be even more so now that Queen Bey has been seen with one. Some have even theorized that prices would go up.

But the brand has reassured customers that nothing will change. They’re sticking to their motto, “Not for You—for Everyone,” and prices won’t be increasing.

Telfar will be dropping a new color, lavender, on July 13 at 9 AM EST. Good luck!

Photo via Getty

Is Billie Eilish in Her Flop Era?

During her short time in the spotlight, Billie Eilish has accrued hundreds of millions of Spotify streams, scooped up seven Grammys, recorded a Bond theme, filmed an autobiographical documentary and covered Vogue. It’s been quite the career so far, and as the Gen-Z icon promotes her second album and graduates from teen prodigy to adult superstar, she’s facing a lot of pressure to live up to her own almost impossibly high standards.

Nowhere is this more clear than on TikTok, where some users have been joking that Eilish is currently in her “flop era,” as the hype naturally balances out and media attention moves on to the next high school-aged alt pop queen (hi, Olivia!). It doesn’t help that Eilish recently endured a racism scandal, as well as accusations of queerbaiting in her music video for “Lost Cause.”

Related | The Billie Eilish Internet Drama, Explained

A sophomore slump is almost always to be expected, but by almost any metric, the five singles we’ve heard so far from Happier Than Ever are actually doing extremely well. Three debuted in the Billboard top 10! As such, the artist who recorded them doesn’t seem too bothered by her trolls. On TikTok yesterday, Eilish delivered a typically candid message to her detractors: “Eat my dust my tits are bigger than yours.”


literally all i see on this app… eat my dust my tits are bigger than yours

♬ NDA – Billie Eilish

Playing in the background? That’s her latest track, “NDA,” which has a fun, Hollywood-themed music video that’s currently trending on YouTube. Rather than annoyed about being told her brand new career is over, she looks pretty amused.

Eilish’s “flop era” will continue as she releases the entire Happier Than Ever album at the end of this month, to almost guaranteed critical and commercial acclaim, and co-hosts the 2021 Met Gala alongside Timothee Chalamet.

this don’t seem like “billie eilish’s flop era” to me

— julie loves ray | جولي (@billiesdrup)

Hmm. Sounds rough! Can we flop too, please?

Photo via Getty

Teletubbies Upend Their Own Reality With a COVID PSA

Over the course of the characters’ lifespans, the Teletubbies have gotten into their fair share of oopsies and uh-ohs — but who would have ever thought that the iconic television show’s final spiral would be a well-intentioned public health PSA.

The whole affair unraveled after the Teletubbies official Twitter account tweeted out a PSA urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying: “We’re all vaxxed! Just in time for a Tubby hot summer. Who’s ready to come out & play?”

We’re all vaxxed! Just in time for a Tubby hot summer ☀️ Who’s ready to come out & play

— Teletubbies (@TeletubbiesHQ)

The tweet featured each of the show’s colorful cuddly protagonists — Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po (and later their anthropomorphic vacuum cleaner, Noo-Noo) — holding up vaccination cards and taking some whimsical liberties with the details, such as the vaccines being called “Noo-nson & Noo-nson” and “AstraTubbica,” or the place where they were administered being called the “Home Dome Clinic.”

Don’t worry, Noo-noo got vaxxed too! 💙

— Teletubbies (@TeletubbiesHQ)

It was all very lighthearted and kept in line with what one might expect from a show made to entertain toddlers. What is surprising, however, is that the controversy surrounding the tweet didn’t stem from anti-vaxxers or people grousing about children’s media taking a political stance (no matter how mild) like one would assume. Instead, the issue lied deep within Teletubbies lore.

Teletubbies die-hards noticed that the birthdate on the gang’s vaccination cards claims they were born in 2003, a full six years after the show originally aired in 1997. The inconsistency left fans wondering what this meant for the Teletubbies canon: Does the series actually take place in the future? Are the Teletubbies time travelers? Is there more than one generation of Teletubbies? Are the Teletubbies actually Gen Z and not millennials like we previously thought, and if so are they on TikTok?

But the sheer fabric of the storied Teletubbies canon being torn asunder didn’t stop there. Many then started to wonder if the fact that the Teletubbies needed to get the coronavirus vaccine implies that the show takes place on Earth during modern times, rather than some alternate planet or reality like it was previously theorized. It also raised the troubling notion that Teletubbies are susceptible to illness, bringing up even more questions about their mortality and just what the TV-bellied creatures are actually supposed to be.

It’s a lot further down the rabbit hole than we, and presumably Teletubbies’ social media team, ever bargained for, but here we are. So where does the show go from here now that the entire lore of a series, featuring a baby face sun and four large creatures with a consistent diet of pink goo, has been upended? On second though, I’m sure all will be fine.

Photo via Getty/ Ferdaus Shamim/ WireImage

Corinna Kopf Responds to Anti-Vaxxer Accusations

Corinna Kopf is coming under fire for saying she’s always been hesitant to get vaccines.

Earlier this week, the YouTuber tweeted about the “anxiety some people face when asked to take a vaccine,” seemingly referencing herself. Granted, the part that appeared to elicit the most backlash was her argument about how “we are consistently asked to respect people’s feelings and personal choices.”

Related | Corinna Kopf Claims Minors Are Leaking Her OnlyFans Content

“But all that is thrown out the window when someones nervousness is taken as selfishness,” she wrote.

no one talks about the anxiety some people face when asked to take a vaccine. we are consistently asked to respect people’s feelings and personal choices, but all that is thrown out the window when someones nervousness is taken as selfishness.

— corinna (@CorinnaKopf) July 5, 2021

In response, commenters criticized her take by pointing out that respecting people’s feelings and personal choices doesn’t apply when we’re talking about “putting my life at risk & the lives of other people,” as one person wrote.

“How about some respect for other people’s right to go about our lives without having to risk getting ill because of some1’s nervousness?,” they continued, while another echoed the sentiment by writing, “It becomes selfish when someone puts others lives at risk by dropping all covid precautions as if they’re vaccinated.”

it becomes selfish when someone puts others lives at risk by dropping all covid precautions as if they’re vaccinated, when they’re actually not. (ex: not wearing mask and hanging out with people)

— Dave (@Krtzyy) July 5, 2021

I’m all for respecting people’s feelings & personal choices, unless they are putting my life at risk & the lives of other people

How about some respect for other people’s right to go about our lives without having to risk getting ill because of some1’s nervousness?

— Grace Church (friend of @CutAyer) (@Grace_News_) July 5, 2021

However, Kopf went on to explain that she’s not “worried about the needle or the shot itself,” rather she has “health anxiety” over “how [her] body might react, and that will drive [her] out of my mind.” Not only that, but she also clarified in a later tweet that she wasn’t an anti-vaxxer, before defending herself by saying she has “all [her] other vaccines and plans on vaccinating [her] kids.”

i’m not sure you’ve ever experienced health anxiety before but i’m not worried about the needle or the shot itself. i’m worried about how my body might react, and that will drive me out of my mind.

— corinna (@CorinnaKopf) July 5, 2021

the internet really is a weird place… I open up about how i currently feel and instantly I’m labeled an anti vaxxer? y’all realize I have all my other vaccines and plan on vaccinating my kids right? 🥴🥴

— corinna (@CorinnaKopf) July 5, 2021

However, the former Vlog Squad member ended up incurring even more backlash after revealing that she’s never gotten a flu shot as it’s not a “mandatory vaccine” and suggested that it wasn’t all that necessary because she’s “never had the flu.”

“Not that it even matters,” she added. “Not getting the flu shot doesn’t make you anti vaxx. The fuck.”

the flu shot isn’t a mandatory vaccine, i didn’t get them growing up and i don’t get them now. never had the flu either… not that it even matters. not getting the flu shot doesn’t make you anti vaxx. the fuck.

— corinna (@CorinnaKopf) July 5, 2021

But even so, Kopf eventually stopped responding to all the criticism with a final tweet in which she said she “might just get my covid vaccine tomorrow.”

She added, “Being called a pussy, a coward and being told to die a few times really convinced me and eased my nerves.”

might just get my covid vaccine tomorrow, being called a pussy, a coward and being told to die a few times really convinced me and eased my nerves 🙂

— corinna (@CorinnaKopf) July 6, 2021

Photo via Getty / David Becker

Claudia Conway Addresses ‘Publicity Stunt’ Rumors

Claudia Conway is refuting the rumors surrounding what happened last year with mother.

As you probably know by now, the TikTok star is the daughter of none other than former Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway. But from videos of the two shouting at each other to Claudia’s pushing for emancipation, to say their relationship is complicated would be an understatement. However, one of the biggest issues that surfaced was the posting of a topless photo of the teenager to her mom’s Twitter, which resulted in widespread condemnation and a criminal investigation that was later dropped.

That said, Claudia has now responded to speculation about their current relationship in a new series of TikToks explaining that things between her and her mom have gotten a lot better since the scandal.

Related | Claudia Conway Wants to Be Emancipated

“I was seeking help, earlier this year, last year, because I was in a state where I didn’t know what to do. And I know a lot of people are confused about my situation, but I am happy and I am safe,” she said, adding that things with her mom are “actually really good right now.”

“We got the guidance we needed together, and it’s all about breaking that cycle,” Claudia said. “She’s been through things, traumas, that I can’t even fathom, but she worked through them, she healed those traumas, and I’m proud of her. Literally just got off the phone with her. I love her. Things are much better. I’m grateful.”

Additionally, Claudia also appeared to address the people accusing them of concocting the leak for clout by flat-out saying that, “It was not a publicity stunt.”

Related | Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Daughter Claudia’s Nude

“Yes, I was in an unsafe place and state. Yes, we are better now and I’m safe and our relationship is great. And a lot of people think I’m being forced to say these things, but I’m not,” Claudia continued, before seemingly referencing her subsequent comments about Kellyanne needing to be arrested (though she later retracted her statement and said she believed her mom was hacked).

“[But] the reason I did post all that stuff and spread awareness… [was because] I know so many people, so many of my followers and people who watch me have gone through the same things,” Claudia said as she went on to reiterate that everything “was not for attention.”

“It was not for clout. It was not for followers. It was simply to gain awareness and seek some sort of help,” Claudia said. “And I am forever grateful for people like Tana [Mongeau] and the Justice for Claudia Conway and all those who tried to help me and did help me get out of that situation.”

Watch Claudia’s TikToks discussing the issue, below.


time teaches you growth and maturity and i am extremely grateful we are better

♬ original sound – rebellious

♬ original sound – rebellious

♬ original sound – rebellious

♬ original sound – rebellious

Photos via Getty / Christopher Willard & Alex Wong

TikTok Star Swavy Dead at 19

TikTok star Swavy, a.k.a. @babyface.s, has died. He was 19.

According to a statement from the Wilmington Police Department, the popular creator — real name Matima Miller — was fatally shot on Monday. Delaware Online reports that the incident occurred in Wilmington’s Southbridge neighborhood around 10:42 a.m. He reportedly died after being transferred to a hospital.


And we think alike WDF😂❤️🤞🏾 @famouswooda ##Fyp

♬ Pain – PinkPantheress

Miller had more than 2.5 million followers on TikTok and was well-known for his comedy and dance video, many of which saw him and his friends performing in malls and stores.

News of Miller’s death has been met with an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow online creators alike, including close friend Kid Maury, who uploaded an emotional video on Monday called “REST UP BRO.”

“Seeing him getting taken out, it makes no sense,” he said, before promising to honor Miller’s legacy.


Whole mall watching us and we TURNT UP ON THE SCENE🤣🔥 @famouswooda @datboybrock ##Fyp

♬ original sound – Babyboy_sbb

“I’m about to go hard for you,” Kid Maury said. “You were so innocent.”

The Wilmington Police Department says Miller’s death is still under investigation, but are asking anyone with information to come forward via Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

Photo via TikTok / @babyface.s

Here’s What Happened at Doja Cat’s Coney Island Concert

Doja Cat’s Coney Island concert was a movie or, as one Twitter user described it, a “horror comedy-drama” to be specific.

The singer was set to perform material off the recently released Planet Her album, which has seen several tracks charting on the Billboard Top 100 this week. The concert was highly anticipated, set to take place on the Fourth of July, right before the Coney Island fireworks.

Everything was idyllic, until it wasn’t — a number of issues arose with lines, security and the venue, causing those in attendance to describe the event as the “Fyre Festival on a smaller scale.”

so the doja cat “concert” last night at coney island was like fyre festival on a smaller scale

— Ashley Alese Edwards (@AshleyAlese)

@AnthonyBLSmith people passing out, getting taken out the venue in wheelchairs, running out of food and WATER, no r…

— Ashley Alese Edwards (@AshleyAlese)

THREAD 🧵: what the fuck happened at Doja Cat’s Coney Island concert

— ARΛBITCH (@tvriqsdead)

Twitter was full of complaints by those who were in attendance, with many blaming Doja’s management and the venue for all the mishaps. Meanwhile, others were quick to make memes out of the situation:

there was a deodorant shortage at the doja cat concert tonight 😓

— ✌️😵‍💫 (@prettyboydad)

selling t shirts for everyone who made it out of coney island alive #DojaCat

— 🌱 (@tulsiiiiiiii)

Doja Cat responded quickly to the criticism on Twitter, apologizing for the circulation of misinformation.

I was supposed to be on at 9:30 and i came on at 9:36. Sorry if there was misinformation. For all the people who said they waited 2 hours.

— PLANET HER (@DojaCat)

In any case, she looked great on stage — even if only for a few songs.

this was on the verge of passing out

— xander 🍅 (@xandergraphix)

Photo via Getty/ NBC/ NBCU Photo Bank

Cora Harrington Has Some Thoughts on ‘Diverse’ Lingerie Brands

For more than a decade, Cora Harrington has made a living at the helm of the world’s largest lingerie blog, The Lingerie Addict. She’s captured and maintained dominance in this space through a combination of grit, determination and curiosity. In many senses, Harrington stands as a leading voice of a sometimes unvalued, often misunderstood category in fashion. That doesn’t mean she withholds criticism. Rather, she seems to paint her role as both expert and ambassador, desiring to cultivate a community that cares about lingerie and intimate apparel as much as she does.

Before founding the site in 2008, Harrington worked in the non-profit sector as a case manager and crisis line manager. The Lingerie Addict was a means of escaping the emotional toll of her job. “Like, nobody calls a crisis line because they’re having a great day and wanna chat,” she explains. “People call crisis lines because they’re at the lowest point of their life, and so there’s never a good day at work when you do that kind of work. So the site was a way for me to have something that wasn’t life and death, that wasn’t trauma, that wasn’t the most important thing in someone’s life, I mean, it’s just underwear. I take it very seriously, but also it’s just underwear.”

Related | Andraéa LaVant Is An Inclusion Consultant With Style

The site exploded, with hundreds of thousands visitors flocking each month to Harrington’s unique alchemy of discovery, curation, insight and tone. Rather than catering to the male gaze, as is often the case in lingerie advertising, she celebrated all body sizes and types, including those often ignored by the industry writ large. In 2018, a year after the blog’s launch, Harrington penned In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie, a companion book to the work her blog had built over the last decade.

Below, Harrington discusses discerning myth from fact, how influencers changed the Internet, implementing her site’s “body snark free zone” policy, skirting the male gaze, why she believes lingerie is for everybody and so much more.

How would you describe your younger self and how might others have described you?

I was very quiet, reserved, and very introverted. And I read a lot. I was in the library every weekend, and as I got into high school, there every afternoon researching and reading and being a total bookworm. My parents had a set of encyclopedias, so I would be in my room a lot just reading encyclopedias. I’m coming up on my 20-year high school reunion this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if half of my class just doesn’t even remember that I was there. So it’s very interesting being so publicly visible and deliberately publicly visible when, for so much of my life, I wasn’t. And I think even when I’m apart from my brand, because all of my social media is my work social media, that I’m still pretty quiet and reserved. But you can’t be like that online, if that makes sense. If you’re building a brand and building a presence, you have to be out there and loud.

You mentioned the fact you’re reading encyclopedias, so clearly you are someone who enjoys absorbing knowledge, and as you mentioned, social media is a place where the loudest voice in the room often gets heard, but not always the smartest or the person with the facts correct. In your line of work and doing what you do, how do you deal with seeing this information out there, particularly when it’s about your space of expertise?

I have a couple of concurrent trains of thought. For one, I am always happy whenever people are talking about lingerie and intimate apparel whenever it appears in the public conversation. But when I see misinformation I get disappointed, or if it’s terrible information I get upset. Because there are so few conversations, what conversations there are have outsized impact, so it’s very easy for something that’s totally made up, something that sounds true but isn’t, to have a great impact.

Related | Savage x Fenty Hires First Little Person

Do you have an example of a recurring piece of misinformation in the lingerie/intimate apparel space?

Under wires were invented by men, which I think it’s something a lot of people like to say but is absolutely not true, because why would a man have invented underwire? So yeah, there’s disappointment or upset-ness at some of the myths that I see perpetuated. And then I would say there’s a third track right alongside that, which is having to remember that everyone is new to something at some time and that likely, for most people, it’s not malicious, it’s not that people are making stuff up for the hell of it — even though some of that does happen now on social media — it’s that people just don’t know. And so I try to make a lot of what I do be introducing that knowledge and making it more accessible and making sure that people know what’s out there and have access to that information so that they can start to pull apart for themselves some of that myth from that fact, and also understand how lingerie fits into their lives and into everyday life, and society in general, beyond just what we wear.

It sounds like in many cases, you are people’s gateway or entry point into this space. What was your entry point?

At the time I was in Georgia, dating someone, and I wanted to find something to wear for them. I was like, “Oh, yes, I’m in my early 20s, I’m gonna be sexy.” [Laughs] I was searching, and I couldn’t find any information, couldn’t find any reviews, couldn’t find any shopping guides, couldn’t find any advice about what brands to buy or where to buy them. And the very first thing I saw that made me go, “Oh, wow,” were a pair of peacock welt stockings from this German brand called Falke. That was my first time going “Oh, I had no idea beautiful things like this existed.” Like a lot of people, I grew up where the only lingerie store was Victoria’s Secret. And so I remember seeing it, so vivid, these stockings and just being like, “I had no idea that there are people out here making things like this.” And so I would say that that was the jumping off point. And around that time, I was involved with the corsetry community on LiveJournal, that’s where a lot of corset makers today get their start, so I was kind of on the fringes of some related topics, particularly corsetry, but I would say it was those thigh high stockings that really got me into saying like, “Oh, I found something that’s resonating with me that I can buy now,” that was affordable for me, and that I wanted to share with other people right away that got me excited enough to share.

I was interviewing Tavi Gevinson not too long ago and we spoke about how much the internet has changed from the late 2000s, when she first began, to now. You started at a similar time. From my vantage point, it used to be a lot more fun. The stakes were lower. There was less ubiquity and group think mentality. How do you look at the internet then, in comparison to what it has grown to become?

One of the things that came to mind right away as you were asking me was thinking about how my traffic used to be so much higher before these various social platforms started censoring and cracking down on lingerie-related content. We’re still seeing these conversations and the effects of that censorship now. So I would say that was very much a turning point in terms of the Internet before, and the Internet now, where there’s just been a very deliberate kind of funneling or limiting, I suppose, of my reach that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with what I’m doing, but that basically changed overnight. I think about how there were far fewer voices in the past, it was just kind of opaque to me about who made it and who didn’t, and I couldn’t really figure that out, but it was easy to keep track of people, or easier to keep track of people. I don’t wanna look at things through rose-colored glasses, but it just seems like there were fewer people in the space, so people knew about each other and were more likely to talk to each other because influencing, such as it was, hadn’t really taken off. This would have been pre-Instagram and early days of Twitter, and so I think a lot of the infrastructure that currently exists for online personalities just wasn’t around then, and there was much more of a focus on writing and that story, and now things are very image-focused, which is also great, but there was more involvement with writing in the past and seeing that shift has also being intriguing to me as someone who is where I am now because of my writing.I think in some ways, it feels harder than ever to make it and to rise above the din because there are so many people. But then in other ways it feels easier than ever, and that sounds contradictory, but because there are so many more platforms and everything is so much visual. I mean, if you get in early on TikTok or if you have a really great brand or sense of style or way of presenting yourself, it’s easier to grow as opposed to, I think, the long, slow 13 years that were just like you’re writing and writing and writing, and gradually over a long period of time, you reach a tipping point.

Do you think that trajectory is still possible today?

I don’t know, and even if it was, I don’t know if anyone would stick with something like that, that long anymore, because it also feels like the cycle for success or the cycle for making it, or the window for it, also feels really short. I feel like my longevity, such as it is, most of the people that I started with, that were writing when I started, aren’t anymore for the most part.

One of the things that I love so much about the work that you do is how community-driven it is, and I’m wondering, back in 2008, or perhaps in the years subsequent, at what point did you start to realize the audience that you were cultivating was not just an audience, but starting to become a community?

I don’t know if I could identify a specific moment in time where I thought, “Oh, this is the Lingerie Addict community.” And I think that’s been true of several things about my career, where it’s two or three years later when I’m like, “Oh, this is a thing which exists now, and it’s been here for a while.” I would say probably the earliest, kind of, kernel of that community building would have been, when I implemented it being a “body snark free zone” on my site, where there was no bad body talk. I didn’t do it, other people couldn’t come there and do it, and I think that might have been the foundation of what eventually led to there being a Lingerie Addict community, because starting from there, people felt like they could come to my site or come to my platforms and not be judged for their body, not have people talk about their bodies, not see negative talk about their bodies, and I think that kind of sense of… I don’t wanna say safety, because I think it’s very difficult to feel safe on the internet, but I think having at least one space that they could visit and know that there was going to be someone talking about a very sensitive subject, but in a way that was not about judging them, was the beginnings of bringing that together.

When did you start to feel successful?

I’ve been looking at some of my older Facebook posts that have been resurfacing as memories, and a lot of them, related to my business, are iterations of, “I think I’ve turned a corner, I think this is gonna be the year that I make it, I think it’s really gonna be this year,” and there were little corners I was turning that whole time. But I would say having a book published was definitely a, “Okay, I guess I really have made it,” moment. I’ve written a book that positions me as an expert, as an authority on the topic, and I have the knowledge and the experience to back that up, and so that — and the response to that book, the fact that people have so enthusiastically received it — was a big deal. I think that also changed how other people saw me and my brand, going from being a blogger to being an author. I didn’t really appreciate the difference that that would make, in terms of before and after. And so in a lot of ways, I would think that writing a book has been a pretty means to me feeling like, “Okay, I think I’ve made it.” But there have been, I think little sparks, or little corners along the way from being able to pay all my bills for my site, or starting to get interviewed or be featured in articles, or starting to see my name pop up in places, that are all smaller milestones. But this is the longest period where I felt like, “Oh, okay, I think I’ve made it.” And even then, I’m still — I still feel like I’ve not done enough or I’m not doing enough, and I have to remind myself that if the you of five, or six, or seven years ago was talking to the you of now, they would tell you that you’ve made it.

I wanna ask about the gaze of your site. It’s particularly, in my perception, not catered to the male gaze, and in this space, the lingerie-intimate apparel space, as you know very well, you have things like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, for instance, which are very much centered around just that. I’m just wondering how thoughtful you’ve been about that, it seems quite thoughtful, and how much are you thinking about that throughout the 13 years in which the site has grown and changed?

I think that’s always been in the back of my mind. Even before I had the words to really explain or express what I was doing. Going back to what I knew I had a community, or when I knew I made it, sometimes it takes a while for the language and the awareness to catch up, and I would say similar was true of realizing that I was abandoning, or moving away from the male gaze on my site. The central question of The Lingerie Addict for a very long time has been, “How does this serve my readers? Does this help my readers? Are my readers gonna learn something from what I’m doing?” And when things are central or oriented along the male gaze, you’re not really getting answers to those questions because the intent of what’s happening, the intent of what you’re doing, is very different. Because I don’t wanna talk to everybody. I’m not trying to reach men who want to look at scantily-clad or scintillating photos. I’m not trying to reach people who aren’t interested in some of those deeper questions, who are not interested in that kind of information. There’s a very, kind of, specific niche of people that I wanna talk to, and so I think being focused on that, like, laser-focused on it, has really helped a lot with staying away from the male gaze. I think this is also a case where I bring my own queerness to the work that I do, because I don’t approach lingerie from a very heterosexist, “You have to be wearing this for a man,” or, “You’re wearing this with the assumption that a man is looking at you.” I think being queer has also helped with shifting away from that on my site because that’s something, obviously, that I bring to my work, consciously or unconsciously. I think how heterosexist, how cis so much of the lingerie industry is, and then thinking about my community, and the people that I know, and the people that I associate with, “How do I make my site better reflect the world that I know and that I live in?”

“You can’t fake authenticity. Customers are very, very good with sussing out deliberateness and intentionality, and they can tell when brands don’t really mean it.”

As a Black queer person in this space, I know that there’s often times in which the industry can be quite reductive, in ways in which it likes to feel it is being progressive. An example of this would be how brands will come out with a nude line of lingeries. And then maybe years later, they’ll come up and say, “Oh, we’re doing multiple shades of nude,” and sometimes that will be three or four shades, or sometimes you’ll get instances in which they really do cater to an abundance of skin tones, but none of them go dark enough. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but wonder, is this a press release? Or is this a genuine understanding of the consumer? How do you look at instances like that?

I look at who is doing the creating. How are they positioning the story? I wanna really try to not name specific names, I’ve been getting in trouble on the internet a lot lately [laughing]. There was one brand that launched nudes several years ago, it’s a brand that has retroactively decided they were co-founded with a celebrity even though they weren’t, and their whole pitch when they launched a range of nudes was, “We were watching gymnastics and we saw Simone Biles, she was wearing an Ace bandage that wasn’t her skin tone, and we realized for the first time that there wasn’t a nude lingerie for darker skin.” It was this whole story, it was very silly, but this was received like, “Oh my god, finally nudes for everybody,” and, you know, fast forward three or four years later, they don’t even make those anymore, it was really just a press grab. And so I look at what companies are doing cohesively. What are they doing in aggregate? Are they consistently a part of these conversations? Do they consistently show up for these issues? Do they show up for their customers of color? Are they actually present when these things are relevant? Or do they just kind of pop in when there’s some money to be made and then duck out when there isn’t? Because the context of that particular launch was Nubian Skin being launched a year or two prior to incredible success, and deservedly so. And then suddenly brands which had no interest in making nudes for a range of skin tones, ’cause obviously this has been something Black women and darker complexioned people have been saying for a long time. They saw the success of Nubian skin, the reception, and decided that, yes, they too were ready to do nude shades, and so we saw a pretty significant spike of brands dipping a toe into that. But because it didn’t come from a genuine place, it didn’t come from a place of actually wanting to serve those customers, there were lots of missteps in the branding. The products are still being photographed on white models, the skin tones were ashy, or had gray undertones.

The lighting.

Yeah. The bras weren’t released, there was no press, or even awareness, for people like me, who are press, about the release of the colors, or if the colors were released, they were billed as fashion colors, which is very different than having continuity colors that you can rely on being available season after season, and so it was just so obvious that they wanted to piggyback on the success of a brand like Nubian Skin, but they didn’t actually want to invest in the community that Nubian Skin was serving. And one of the things I’ve been saying more and more often lately, in relation to Victoria’s Secret’s recent rebranding, is that you can’t fake authenticity. Customers are very, very good with sussing out deliberateness and intentionality, and they can tell when brands don’t really mean it. And I think some brands thought they could just say, “Well, we’re doing nudes, too!” and kind of hop on to the back of Nubian Skin, and they didn’t really understand why Nubian Skin resonated, and why they were successful, and truthfully, since that time, brands have shown why they shouldn’t have been trusted, because it isn’t as though Black women have disappeared in the last three or four years. We’re still here, we’re still wanting bras in those tones, but now that that’s no longer the popular conversation, now that that’s no longer trending, then they’ve moved on to the next thing.

This next question goes hand-in-hand with this conversation, which is that the intimates industry is big business, and we both know that capitalism and inclusivity do not go hand-in-hand. How do you rate the progress that’s been made, or, is a better framing of the question, less that it’s progress and more that things sort of undulate? How do you see it?

I think the lingerie industry is a very conservative industry overall, which I believe surprises a lot of people, because they think, “lingerie,” and they think, “Oh, sexy, it must therefore be a progressive industry,” when it’s not. The intimate apparel industry, even among what I call legacy brands, the kind of brands you would see in a department store, or the kinds of brands you would see in a large multi-brand retailer, they’re still using thin, white, young models. There hasn’t really been an update, or a change, to what they’re doing. They’re still using the same marketing language, they’re still calling beige “nude.” So, overall, the industry is very, very, very slow to change and, for a long time, been very set on, “This is how we do it, and this is what has worked for us and we’re not going to change it.” And a lot of these start-ups have been able to help shift the conversation. Obviously, Savage X comes up a lot now, as it should, it’s a big deal. And for me, the major utility of that brand, at this moment in time, is that, one, they got a lot of new people thinking about lingerie and interested in lingerie, but two, they’ve been able to shift and control the lingerie conversation in some pretty significant ways, to the point that even other successful brands are really feeling the pressure to change what they’re doing now. I would say on the whole the industry has gotten better over the last 13 years, but I don’t know if that’s particularly impressive because it’s been 13 years.

Can you give me a “for instance”?

When I started my site, when I first became interested in lingerie, it was incredibly normal for a bra brand to debut with 32 to 36, A through D sizes, and that being their whole range for that for their debut. You can’t really do that now without getting completely annihilated online, so that would be an example of a change we see. But in terms of, I think, some other things, they’ve not been very responsive. It makes me sad, because, for me, I want to see brands succeed. I think it’s a win-win when customers know what’s available and they know their options, they know how to access them, I think that’s a win for everybody. So I don’t understand why brands would be reluctant to kind of update themselves and to make sure they’re in people’s faces, because if you’re doing the product, you’re doing good work, surely you’d want people to know about them.

I want to zoom in on one of the questions that you ask and explore in your book, In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie, which is, “Is lingerie really for me?” As an expert in the space, how often was that question coming up and what did you infer as being the underlying meaning of people asking that question?

I would say that question comes up a lot. Even if it’s not specifically phrased that way, people say, “Well, there’s no point in me wearing it, there’s just no reason. Why would I spend the money on that when I have no one to wear it for?” So all the many questions that are essentially that one question rephrased, I hear it all the time. People feeling excluded. And this is where I think Victoria’s Secret has done a lot of that work, unfortunately, that bad work, at least in the States, where, for decades, they were the vision of lingerie. They were the place to shop. While in the ’90s and the 2000s, what Victoria’s Secret was doing was pretty revolutionary and unusual — they were using supermodels straight off the runway to model lingerie — it was wild. And I think Victoria’s Secret became a part of that general sense of, “Lingerie clearly isn’t for me. I don’t look like that. I’m not a hot super model with a rockstar husband.” And then that’s compounded by things like size range, like the lack of diversity or nude tones, by people having very real reasons, obvious reasons, for why they don’t feel included. I just want people to feel like there’s at least a little something for them somewhere, and I want my role to be helping to connect people with that something, and sometimes there’s just not a lot out there, like I can’t tell people about a thing that doesn’t exist yet, but in so far as knowing what’s out there, I wanna help people find it. I feel like that’s the point.

“The lingerie industry is a very conservative industry overall, which surprises a lot of people.”

And what do you see as one of the pervading issues when it comes to what people come to you wanting help with?

Because lingerie is usually marketed to women, the primary target audience is women and the primary wearers of lingerie are women, there’s a lot of body shame and stigma, and a lot of attitudes about women’s bodies that get wrapped up into how we sell and we talk about lingerie, and I think that’s also a part of the piece about why people feel like it’s not for them, because the messaging for so long has been, “Well, you should wear this if you want to be sexy, you wear this for a man.” And also how you can’t show nipples in bras in America, like, there can be no hint of a butt crack, which means you wind up with some very weird photoshopping. Some of these sites, everyone has perfect mannequin boobs. I think all of that together, the idea that you can’t show nipples and you can’t reference, I don’t know, vulvas… One of the topics that comes up a lot in conversations about lingerie in my group, for example, is gusset width, like, “Does the gusset cover your labia?” [Laughs] Those aren’t things that we’re really, I think, talking about in general, which I believe is at least partially related to the stigma around womens’ bodies, ’cause I’m almost certain I’ve seen advertisers for men’s underwear that talk about, like, ball room.

Of course.

Lifting the balls, or making them less sweaty, or something like that, but I’ve never seen an ad that’s like, “We guarantee our gusset is gonna cover your vulva.” It’s very different, and I think that also ties into the way people feel about lingerie, because there is still this messaging that women’s bodies or femme presenting bodies, are inherently vulgar, or shameful, or worth hiding about them, and that also gets appended onto the topic of lingerie.

What would you say you love most about your job?

I really love that it’s mine. It’s something that I’ve made and built and I get to do it every day. I felt very lucky, especially this last year, having my own job, considering all the upheaval of the pandemic world. Knowing that I had my own career, and even if I needed a step away, it was still here waiting for me definitely lightened a lot of stress. What also makes me excited about my job is not just that it’s me and I’m self-employed and I that I’m looking at beautiful things all day, but also that I get to help connect something we all see and encounter and experience everyday, which is our underwear, with these larger social and political and economic conversations and hopefully make some of these big picture issues more easily understandable and accessible. I don’t have a degree in economics, I’m not very good at math, unfortunately, I don’t know much about finance, but you can understand things, like the progression of capitalism through the fashion industry, and how we see the shift of production from women spinning wool in their homes in the winter times, to seeing the Industrial Revolution and then that labor kind of moving into factories and becoming more and more a process. Like, there are really these connections between garment work and the rise of capitalism, or garment work and the labor of women of color, garment work and the exportation of labor overseas or the devaluing of skilled labor and minimum wage. Intimate apparel, it’s a wonderful lens for viewing all of that and for getting people to think differently about what they’re seeing, and that’s what I love most right now. I’m sure people on the internet probably get tired of me doing, like, “We have to pay people fairly and appreciate their labor.”

Trust me, we don’t.

[Laughs] But that’s all part of this conversation. It’s not just pretty things, and I love pretty things, but it’s not just that if you are interested in making these connections. There’s this other story here too. And for me, explaining that and learning more about that is exciting because I’m always learning about what I don’t know, and that enthusiasm for sharing those new discoveries for sharing these things I’ve just learned with my readers is still just a strong now, as it was the first time I saw those peacock stockings.

And I think that’s a complete and total sign that you are doing what you are intended to be doing.

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.

Photography: Bảo Ngô

Pinterest Becomes First Platform Banning Weight Loss Ads

Pinterest has become the first social media platform to ban any language and imagery regarding weight loss, including ads that denigrate diverse body types with testimonials about weight loss products, programs and any reference of body mass index (BMI).

The company stated in a blog post, “This stance makes Pinterest the only major platform to prohibit all weight loss ads. It’s an expansion of our ad policies that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims.”

Related | These Three Models Made Versace History

Pinterest will still approve ads that promote “healthy habits and lifestyle tips,” but have abolished the focus on weight loss.

Pinterest’s head of policy, Sarah Bromma, said that the new rule change prioritized users’ “emotional and mental health and wellbeing, especially those directly impacted by eating disorders or diet culture or body shaming.”

The platform, which has a long history of thwarting pro-eating disorder content that surfaced on the site, has already blocked said searches and instead directs users to specialized organizations that deal with ED awareness.

Related | How Poppy Jamie Built a Mental Health Empire

Even with the policy change, many users’ accounts that romanticize and endorse diet culture and body shaming still have millions of followers. These accounts have boards specifically devoted to revealing “skinny secrets” and body checking images.

Though a vast amount of negative content still persists on the site, the move comes in response to an uptick in “body neutrality,” “stop body shaming quotes” and “self-love tips” user searches.

Photo Illustration via Getty/ Thiago Prudencio/ SOPA Images/ LightRocket

Rachel Dolezal Supports ‘Transracial’ Influencer Oli London

Rachel Dolezal has come out in support of British-born influencer Oli London, who recently revealed that they now identify as “transracial” Korean.

London shared in June that they had “transitioned between races and cultures,” after a series of surgeries to look more like K-pop group BTS’ member Jimin. “I am gonna come out today and say that I’ve been transitioning,” London said in the video. “I’ve been very unhappy with who I am deep down for the last eight years and I’ve had, like, 18 plastic surgeries now.”

These surgeries included a facelift, canthoplasty, new teeth and a temple lift. “I’m feeling really good — for the first time in my life I feel beautiful,” they said. “I’m looking in the mirror and I love the way I look and feel happy, and I hope people can respect my decision.”

London’s announcement that they identify as both nonbinary and Korean led to a significant wave of controversy across the internet.

PAPER contributing editor-at-large Sandra Song writes, “As someone who actually has Korean DNA though, I can say that some white fetishist — as proven by those 15 surgeries to look like Jimin — suddenly deeming themself ‘Korean’ is incredibly offensive, especially since it effectively trivializes our identities because they’re suddenly “trendy.'”

Related | Oli London Says They’re ‘Nonbinary Korean’

While many people decided to speak out against London’s move, Dolezal, who back in 2015 was revealed to be a white woman after identifying as Black while being an NAACP leader in Spokane, WA, came to their defense.

“I don’t know Jimin personally, obviously, so they can speak for themselves in that regard,” she said. “But I do think that the broader issue here is compassion and kindness, and that personal identity is not the big fish to fry when it comes to somebody’s personal choices or how they feel.”

Instead, Dolezal said that “we need to focus on fighting the public outrage issues of police brutality, of deinstitutionalizing racism. Those are the issues that I think that we need to come together on to fight publicly, and to be kinder to people and fight a little bit less on social media against somebody’s personal choices.”

She argued that there’s a difference between cultural appropriation and being your authentic self, suggesting that what London is doing is the latter.

“My message is to be you and do what feeds your soul and makes you feel at home and at peace and that you know who you are,” Dolezal said. “Don’t afford anyone else the right to tell you who you are. Don’t let anybody steal your joy, whether that’s social media, peers or even your family.”

Photo via YouTube

‘Girlboss TODAY’ Is the Antidote to Rainbow Capitalism We Deserve

It’s a problem that seems to grow worse and worse every year. The moment June 1st hits, every giant multi-national corporate entity seems to go out of their way to convince us that they are truly an ally to the LGBTQ+ community in what is often a thinly veiled attempt to cash in on the gay market. Like clockwork, they all douse themselves in a thick coat of rainbow paint and roll out limited edition collections and products under the guise of corporate “activism” only to turn around and dust off all the glitter and act like it never happened come July 1st.

From memeable couches to “Happy Pride!” wishes from ICE, the scourge of Rainbow Capitalism has only gotten more and more egregious and absurd as time has gone by. But what is there to do other than to fight absurdity with even more absurdity? Cue Girlboss TODAY, the satirical livestream talkshow spearhead by Chester Lockhart taking direct aim at conservative christian suburban mom book club culture with a variety of live interviews, musical performances, DJ sets and the queerest collection of artists imaginable.

Related | All the Spirals That Inspired Chester Lockhart’s ‘Wet Metal’ EP

Inspired by Lockhart’s own upbringing and the endlessly mineable vein of inspirational Pinterest boards, the performance art platform puts a queer spin on the #Girlboss tropes that ranges anywhere from women entrenched in multi-level marketing schemes to gossipy Bible study groups and all manner of Karens. In honor of Pride, Girlboss TODAY has set its sights on skewering rainbow capitalism in their latest installment with Lockhart’s host character proudly announcing, “I love the LGBTs now because I realized I could make money off of them!”

Featuring performances from Ashnikko, Dorian Electra, Alex Chapman, Mood Killer, Ravenna Golden and appearances by “Millie Bobby Brown” and “Melania Trump,” the two and a half hour stream plays out like a surreal queer episode of Joel Osteen, albeit one that ends in an all out cyber rave. The stream also featured the premiere of Lockhart’s own cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” transforming the feel good pop hit into a gnarly work of hyperpop gabber death metal. The accompanying visual for the cover sees Lockhart’s girl boss character slapping rainbow flag stickers all over bags of Chick-Fil-A and embracing Pride, before going through a wine-addled meltdown and burning a rainbow flag come July 1st.

“I think inherently it is a GOOD thing because we as queer and trans [people] have fought for so long for equal treatment and the opportunity to make money being who we are, but I think the issue is that these cisgender heterosexual companies slap a rainbow logo on for June and then dip out when the actual issue of hiring, donating to or uplifting queer people comes up the other 11 months,” Lockhart says, before going on to say they specifically picked out Chick-Fil-A because of the company’s history of donating to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. Lockhart even posted their own satirical ads asserting that “actually we as a company are no longer homophobic and actually Dan Cathy is a pansexual furry.”

“At the end of the day, the people that watch Girlboss TODAY and interact with the content are almost entirely queer, trans, nonbinary and find it therapeutic to see their fave artists acting out scenes as puritanical girl boss moms,” Lockhart says. “To see so many others have common experience growing up in these conservative environments is freeing.”

Watch Chester Lockhart’s cover of “Firework,” below, and watch the Pride edition of Girlboss TODAY, here.

Photography: Vince Rossi and Chester Lockhart

Hair: Gregg Lennon Jr.

Lil Nas X Isn’t Bothered by Madonna’s VMAs Commentary

Many on social media are reacting to and celebrating Lil Nas X’s historic BET performance after the rapper unabashedly shared a steamy kiss with a background dancer. Madonna is no different, but her response, an Instagram story posted Wednesday with the caption “#diditfirst,” was not well received.

Related | Lil Nas X Sealed The BET Awards With a Kiss

The story referenced her 2003 VMA performance where she shared a kiss with Britney Spears on national television. While her performance definitely acquired infamy at the time, many criticize Madonna’s words as being dismissive of the momentous nature of a gay man sharing a same-sex kiss at an awards show.

madonna so aggy chile lmao, wow white women kissing so revolutionary 😑

— JACINDA (@brokebackboys)

Madonna’s actions seem to be interpreted as another instance of cis-heterosexual white women being praised for queerbaiting, while marginalized members of the LGBTQ+ community face repercussion for the same actions.

Lil Nas X described in a tweet posted Wednesday just how emotionally taxing the kiss was for him because of his identity as a gay man, saying he trembled on stage at the thought of kissing another man in front of a straight audience. It’s safe to say Madonna did not experience the same concerns.

it took me a lot of time to mentally prepare for this performance. while on stage i was trembling knowing that i wa…

— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX)

Lil Nas X, however, doesn’t seem to be too upset by Madonna’s words. He even defended the star in a tweet reply to Pop Crave, saying he considers her a friend and believes she was joking.

me and madonna are friends. it’s just a joke.

@PopCrave me and madonna are friends. it’s just a joke.

— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX)

Photo via Getty/ Chris Polk/ FilmMagic

Gigi Gorgeous on Being a Role Model and the Importance of a Great Manicure

Gigi Gorgeous is anything but boring. With more headlines than one can count, there’s always something going on in Gigi’s world. Right now it’s her new podcast with her best friend, Mimi. Five years ago, it was being detained in Dubai for being trans.

The ordered chaos in which Gigi lives her life isn’t one to scoff at — managing movie deals and makeup collaborations while living her life alongside spouse Nats Getty. Together, we have our bets that the duo are quite possibly the most powerful trans couple in the world. Honestly, it’s a serve.

Related | Nats Getty on Becoming His Authentic Self

Gigi’s always predated queer-coded internet spaces though, first joining YouTube in 2008 as a gay and bubbly fashion student. After publicly transitioning as a transwoman a few years later, Gigi’s open nature catapulted her into the spotlight. She became known as one of social media’s most visible trans influencers. It’s an honor she’s carved out to include activism, beauty deals, and multi-platform media projects.

For Pride Month, Gigi is working with Dashing Diva on a capsule collection of press-on nails, an element integral to those oh-so-iconic cheerful outfits splashed across her Instagram. She’s a recent convert to press-on nails. “Who has time for sitting in a salon when you’re helping save the world,” Gigi jokes. With Dashing Diva donating $15,000 to the Trevor Project at Gigi’s request, it’s not a far stretch to say she’s a trans superhero for queer youth.

PAPER caught up with Gigi to discuss her love for podcasts, the color pink and how a manicure can elevate your outfit.

How is this Pride different from past years for you?

I went to my first Pride as an underage teen in downtown Toronto. Ever since then, I’ve fallen in love with Pride and it means everything to me. It’s been hard these last few weeks — especially last year since everything was virtual — so this year it’s been kind of the same. So it’s unfortunate, but it’s really inspiring to see people turn up. Campaigns are still happening, people are being visible online, people are doing little virtual things. It’s nice that people are still making the effort, because it is only one month out of the entire year. And for me, it’s my whole life. It’s just nice to feel extra seen this month.

With this partnership, Dashing Diva donated $15,000 to one of your favorite charities, the Trevor Project. How important is it to collaborate with brands and companies who do more than just monetize off of queer aesthetics?

When I first knew of the Trevor Project, I’ll never forget the moment and I saw the actual people on the phone talking down queer youth on the verge of suicide, I was like, Oh my god. I’m watching people on the phone, talking to people who are suicidal, who are going through it. It was mind blowing. So when Dashing Diva asked what charity I wanted to give to, it had to be the Trevor Project. There’s no more impactful hotline in my eyes. I’ve done tons of one off deals, I’d like to say you know where it just benefits me and the company I’m working with, whether it’s a campaign or a YouTube video and Instagram post, whatever, but I always like to keep it on brand. But with the Trevor Project, they’re the most impactful hotline in my eyes.

What’s the importance of having a great manicure?

If you know me at all, you know I’m obsessed with nails that go with my outfits. I feel like it just makes everything you do look sexier and makes your hands look better. It makes your jewelry pop. It definitely is a boost of confidence for me. I know when I don’t have my nails done or when a nail is missing, it’s not cute. So it’s a nice thing you can do for yourself, especially with press-on nails, you could do it in literally, like, under two minutes. It’s a great way of self-love and self-care. Like, just give yourself 10 minutes, pour a glass of wine, get your nails all cute.

You’ve lived your life so openly online. How has the digital landscape shaped your coming-of-age story and how do you translate that journey into young trans girls and boys growing up online?

When I started online, it was pure fun. There was no hope or dreams of sharing my story or letting strangers into my world and my everyday reality. I didn’t really see people who look like me or people that I could relate with in any way. It wasn’t a dark place, but there was no bright trans crowd light on the internet. I wasn’t inspired back then. But now I am. I feel like everyone is sharing their stories more openly, proudly, and honestly than ever before. It’s just such a magical place. I mean, it’s a scary place, don’t get me wrong, but the light is so much brighter now. There’s so many more trans people that are visible online. I just feel like you’re a click away from knowing and seeing somebody that you can relate with.

Being so visible on social media and within your book about your gender expression journey, do you feel there’s a pressure to act as this trans icon, and how has that affected the way you use your platform?

I used to be uncomfortable with the term “role model.” But I was listening to a podcast and I heard this person talking about being a role model. And the guest on the podcast said, “I am proud to be a role model. Growing up, I have dreamed about being a role model.” And I was like, That’s a different look on it. I feel like people often shy away from it, thinking, I’m not perfect. I don’t want to be a role model. But it made me think differently about it. I was like, I’m lucky to be put in this place. I’m a role model. If people want to call me a role model then let them call me a role model don’t shy away from it. So I think it’s just a blessing and a privilege that sharing my story gets me in that category of role model status. I’m not claiming to be perfect, I’m just living my life but if I can be a role model for anyone I feel like that’s an amazing thing because I know how it feels to look up to my role models.

You have your hands in so many projects — your book, YouTube, and documentary are all so integral to the way you live as a content creator. What’s a project you’d love to tackle next as we move into the later half of 2021?

There are things on the horizon. My podcast just launched, we just did our second episode, we’re babies. But it’s called Queerified. It’s with my best friend and co-host Mimi, so I’m very excited for that. With Dashing Diva, we have something coming that is very exciting, and very amazing. I will say, I don’t know if I can say anything else, but it’s coming. It definitely is before the end of the year, but it’s gonna be fabulous.

Photos courtesy of Dashing Diva

Black TikTokers Are On Strike

Behind most great dances that come from TikTok are Black creators who made them. But they’re not the ones that typically get fame and notoriety for their work. Instead, it’s white TikTok creators who perform the moves and then… get to show the world how to do them on late night television shows. Black creators are tired of it, so they’ve come together to go on strike, with Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thot Shit” being the first song to receive this treatment.

Omg. Black TikTok creators are refusing to make a dance to Thot S*it (meg’s new jawn) & the way these white creator…

— #BakeOnceAWeek The Box – ON SALE NOW (@LeslieMac)

Megan’s “Thot Shit” is bold, raunchy and seemingly built to be the perfect song to create a TikTok routine to. Her songs have regularly been featured in popular TikTok videos that inspire viral trends, like the “Savage” challenge from last year. But instead of creating new dances for it, Black TikTokers are taking a step back. Speaking to Mashable recently, 20-year-old TikToker Jazmine Moore explained why she and others are doing so.

“We observed over the years on TikTok that most dances on the app are originated by Black creators,” she said. “And creators who aren’t Black will water it down to do the bare minimum of the dance and claim it as their own. So when this song popped up everyone knew that someone was going to make a dance to it. But Black creators collectively agreed not to make one.”

Another TikToker who’s been vocal about the strike is Erick Louis, the TikToker whose video helped to popularize the strike. In a recent interview with NBC, he explained his reason for doing so. “It just speaks volumes,” he said. “We have these experiences outside of TikTok. As Black folks, we’re used to galvanizing, marching, protesting, having to scream and yell to have our voices heard.”

Related | PAPER People: @pashtitutee

He continued, “It’s weird that it’s also having to be translated onto a space where people are supposed to divulge their creative endeavors and engage creatively. It’s supposed to be a safe space but even in those spaces we’re forced to make a statement and protest.”

The lack of Black creators’ videos for “Thot Shit” has led to white TikTokers trying to make their own. The results have recently been getting ridiculed across social media, with people realizing just how big of an impact that Black creatives have in driving TikTok culture.

For a while though, Black TikTokers have been largely overlooked for their dances in favor of white TikTokers. The “Renegade” dance, created by then 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon, was co-opted by white TikTokkers who grew their platforms off performing it — all while Harmon herself barely saw any success from it until a New York Times profile revealed that she created the dance.

How long the strike will last, no one knows. But it’s become more clear than ever that the TikTok creators that get overlooked by mainstream media are the ones that are actually driving the platform forward.

Photos via TikTok / @theericklouis

Ikea’s Pride Couches Became Instant Memes

At the intersection of interior design and late stage rainbow capitalism, Ikea is closing out the month’s celebrations with a new collection of Pride flag-inspired couches. People have some opinions.

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The Canadian branch of the Swedish furniture chain has rolled out their new collection of Pride-themed couches created in collaboration with a diverse lineup of 2SLGBTQ+ designers, aptly titled “Love Seats.” The new series features ten one-of-a-kind loveseats based on the colors of various Pride flags ranging from a flower-covered sofa inspired by the Progress flag to a feathered 2Spirit two-seater.

The Ikea pride collection is so insanely cool???

— fairy (@mayamona_)

An effort was clearly made, but from the vaguely bondage-esque hardware on the nonbinary flag-inspired couch to the suggestively yonic asexual loveseat, some of the design choices made across the collection feel questionable at best. Perhaps the most glaring out of the bunch is the bisexual pride flag-inspired one, covered in disembodied hands and the words “Nobody Believes You” embroidered on the cushion, which feels almost painfully on the nose.

As many of these attempts to pander to the community tend to go, the reception to Ikea Canada’s Love Seats wasn’t necessarily the warmest.

Some of the best reactions, below.

lesbian flag couch looking like something an old jewish couple would have in their condo in florida

— jess #SaveSheikhJarrah (@jessfromonline)

babe you’re sleeping on the covid couch tonight

— in love with a ghost (@LVGHST)

@mayamona_ The bisexual couch 😂 “nobody believes you” 😂 i can’t, i’m dead

— Coco ♥️🇺🇾♥️ (@BabyRuthless94)

im going back in the closet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— p.e. moskowitz (@_pem_pem)

My jokes in the DMs are fire

— 🧠 Emmanuel Clement’s Brain 🎶 (@ClementonicEm)

ikea’s new gaslighting couch is EVERYTHING!

— rachel (@bugposting)

*the sound of several queer game writers scrambling to make a dating sim where you play as a STRANDMON armchair who…

— Kate Gray (@hownottodraw)

Photos courtesy of Ikea

DKNY Wants to Help Normalize Introducing Yourself With Preferred Pronouns

This article is a sponsored collaboration between DKNY and PAPER

Whether you identify as he/she or they/them, DKNY wants you to celebrate your preferred pronouns and normalize introducing yourself as such. For their 2021 Pride collection, the New York-based label released a capsule collection of tees and tanks with “Ask Me About My Pronouns” emblazoned in a gradient rainbow font.

To kick of the collection’s arrival, DKNY enlisted some of your favorite queer TikTokers for a digital campaign centered on the prompt, “Tell Me How You Introduce Yourself With Your Pronouns, I’ll Go First” in an effort to raise awareness around asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns, which is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.


Hotties always ask for people’s pronouns 💅 It’s easy, it’s breezy, so do it ! @dkny #dknypride #foryourpride #ad

♬ original sound – PAPER Magazine

Among the talents featured are Drag Race star Plastique Tiara, actor Teodora Marcella, Attis L., Avery Cyrus, Seth Sanker, Antoni Bumba, Everett Williams, and sister duo Georgia and Hope Bridgers.

For the third consecutive year, DKNY’s Pride capsule will benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a non-profit that provides empowerment, education and advocacy for youth in the New York area, with whom the brand has a long standing relationship and is making a donation to support its mission.

Photos courtesy of DKNY