Chris Olsen Is Ready to Move Forward

When Chris Olsen went to visit Ian Paget in New York in March 2020, he was only supposed to stay for a few days. After all, it was his spring break and he still had to make it home to Maryland, because his school was shutting down for the rest of the year. Or, at least, that was the plan prior to New York becoming the epicenter of the pandemic, which meant he was quarantined with his boyfriend of just seven months for the foreseeable future.

Yet despite the circumstances, Olsen said it felt like a happy accident for the long-distance couple, who saw it as an opportunity to spend every day together before deciding to document their daily lives via his TikTok account. And the rest, he said, is internet history

Known for their loving interactions, social media challenges and quirky dance videos, the two were dubbed one of TikTok’s favorite couples and moved to LA together, where they continued to accumulate millions of followers thanks to their playful relatability and endearing banter, equal parts entertaining and heartwarming during a time when people weren’t able to interact with each other.

“There wasn’t anything elevated or unreachable about us, except for the fact that Ian would say some ridiculous crazy things that people love to hear,” as Olsen, 24, theorized. “But I think you could see yourself in either me or Ian. And I think people found a lot of comfort in that during the pandemic.”

Last month though, Olsen and Paget, 33, shocked fans after announcing they called it quits in a joint YouTube video. Attributing the breakup to the “pressure” of being seen as a “perfect amazing couple,” Olsen recalled the kind of comments and speculation that contributed to this during our Zoom conversation, explaining that “everyone was analyzing our relationship.”

“Very early on, people were like, ‘I sense a breakup coming,’ and then others were like, ‘If you two ever break up, I’m never going to believe in love,'” Olsen said. “That really lodged this idea in the back of my head that it would be really stressful to share any issues we did have with people, considering they’re already picking apart things when we’re not having issues. So what’s going to happen when we do?”

The social media star also touched on how “suddenly being shipped together as this perfect couple” didn’t allow them a lot of time to “really get to know each other” or who they were aside from their relationship. And as Olsen added, codependency and having your “identity wrapped up in a relationship” can potentially turn toxic. In their case though, it caused more “confusion” than anything else, which was further intensified by the fact they shared a job that blurred the lines between work and their relationship — something that was “tough for us” as partners who wanted “little more separation in our jobs.”

“We ended up moving so quickly. I think that would be hard for any couple, to go from long-distance to moving in together and living under COVID,” he said, before adding that these “elements were what slowly played into us operating more and more as friends.”

“It definitely was a slow burn,” Olsen said. However, he also went on to clarify that the split was a proactive decision born out of “a lot of love from both of us,” rather than the fighting and festering resentment that often occurs in relationships that hang on past their expiration dates.

After all, as Olsen noted, it wasn’t like they were trying to keep something alive that wasn’t working “out of fear,” which he said would have led to “feeling stuck in a situation and thinking that we can never break up because we’re an entity now.” Especially because “people will say they ‘don’t believe in love anymore.'”

“Just because we broke up, it doesn’t mean there isn’t still love there,” he said. “What you saw in us, you should still be able to see and pick the good parts that you really resonated with, because those were real. My entire relationship isn’t negated just because of the way it ended.”

In this vein, the exes have continued to reassure fans they’re on good terms and would remain friends, which Olsen said isn’t just lip service, seeing as how they continue to check-in and talk with each other on a regular basis. So while they may be operating under different accounts now, they’re still able to send each other memes and funny videos behind the scenes.

“It’s been lovely,” Olsen smiled. “And it’s worked. It hasn’t confused any feelings as I think a lot of people might be assuming. There’s so many different ways to break up and so many people have different perspectives on how you are supposed to act after a breakup.”

Even so, the two took some time before publicly announcing their split in order to give themselves space to process what happened. But despite “mentally preparing” himself for the public’s response, Olsen — who struggles with anxiety and depression — said uploading the video was still an extremely nerve-wracking ordeal and one he found “disorienting and overwhelming” in between the onslaught of DMs and seeing their names trending on Twitter. As someone who’s always wanted “every single person to love me and to feel loved by me,” he also had some fears surrounding the knowledge that “people were going to want to pick sides and create drama out of it.”

“We kept saying that we don’t want this from you guys, but to watch it still happen is just really interesting, psychologically. To think, ‘Wow, humans really have this hunger to watch someone go down in a way. We almost want to watch someone fail,'” he said, mentioning that “there were so many comments that I looked ‘too upset’ in our breakup video.”

Still, he also said he was “overwhelmed by the positivity” that was coming his way as well, with many fans writing that they were still eager to see what he would do in the future. And according to Olsen, it’ll be a lot more content about mental health education and awareness, which he started making about two months ago to plenty of positivity.

“It’s something I was always interested to share early on, because I feel my anxiety tells me that it’s actually impossible to hide, so it’s also important to share that as well. I need to be able to share how I’m feeling authentically and not try to hide that,” he said, mentioning that “seeing how many people it helped solidified that it was a good idea for me to continue doing so.”

Granted, Olsen said he also wants to tackle the oft-heavy topic with a “lighter” and more “comedic” touch, because then “people can be like, ‘LOL, me too.’ And maybe they’re able to feel a little bit of relief, just knowing they can relate to someone.” And it already seems to be working, seeing as how he’s already received a ton of DMs from people saying his videos got them to start therapy.


“I am still depressed tho”

♬ original sound – Chris Olsen

“I think it’s been really cool to see that I’ve demystified therapy for a lot of people, because therapy is light,” he said. “It can be a conversation with someone who feels like a friend and you can also have moments where you’re crying, where you feel like it’s the end of the world, and you have someone reflecting back to you what you’re feeling and helping you work out those feelings.””

He added, “I always leave every session whether I’m sobbing uncontrollably, or whether I laughed the entire time. Feeling like a huge weight was lifted.”

And on that note, Olsen concluded by saying that he’d resolved to “put myself first” this year and is excited to continue creating content and leaning into his newfound passion for mental health advocacy — both for the benefit of himself and his followers.

“I’m trying to make 2022 the year of Chris, for Chris,” he laughed, before adding, “I’m ready to move forward.”

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

Photography: Jack Juliar
Anastasya Kolomytseva

Grooming: Frankie Payne

Sweater: Isabel Marant

Nelly Apologizes for Posting Oral Sex Video to Instagram

Nelly has apologized for one of his recent social media posts.

According to TMZ, the “Hot in Herre” rapper began trending on Tuesday after an uncensored video of him receiving oral sex was uploaded to his Instagram Story. The clip was quickly deleted, but not before being seen by some of his 3.3 million followers.

In response, Nelly told the outlet the video was “old” and “never meant to go public.” And though he’s already personally apologized to the woman, the rapper also issued a public statement about the leak.

“I sincerely apologize to the young lady and her family, this is unwanted publicity for her/them,” he said. “This was an old video that was private and never meant to go public.”

It is currently suspected that Nelly’s account was hacked. His team is reportedly looking into the alleged security breach.

Photo via Getty / Jerritt Clark

TikTok Bans Deadnaming, Misgendering, Conversion Therapy Content

TikTok has followed Twitter’s lead by banning deadnaming and misgendering.

According to NPR, the app announced that it would start taking down videos spreading hateful anti-LGBTQ+ content — including deadnaming, misgendering and posts promoting conversion therapy — as part of its updated community guidelines.

“[This will] further support the well-being of our community and the integrity of our platform,” TikTok said. “Transparency with our community is important to us, and these updates clarify or expand upon the types of behavior and content we will remove from our platform.”

Additionally, the platform will continue to remove videos that also promote disordered eating. Previously, TikTok said they had banned all pro-eating disorder content last February, however many of these videos are still present on the platform.

“We’re making this change, in consultation with eating disorders experts, researchers, and physicians, as we understand that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behavior without having an eating disorder diagnosis,” TikTok added. In order to implement the change, the app will use a “combination of technology and people to identify and remove violations of our Community Guidelines” while also continually “training our automated systems and safety teams to uphold our policies.”

The company also went on to say that they would keep tackling dangerous online challenges with a series of informational videos about potential harm under the #SaferTogether hashtag.

Read NPR’s full report here.

Photo via Getty / Artur Widak / NurPhoto

YouTube Star Josh Neuman Dies in Plane Crash

YouTuber Josh Neuman has died. He was 22.

On Wednesday, Icelandic authorities said the social media star, best known to his 1.2 million followers for his daredevil skateboarding videos, was killed in a plane crash near Reykjavik on Sunday.

According to the Associated Press, Neuman was on a trip with 32-year-old skydiving influencer, Nicola Bellavia, to create content for Belgian fashion brand Suspicious Antwerp when the aircraft crashed into Lake Thingvallavatn. After poor weather conditions delayed the search, divers apparently found four bodies up to 157 feet in the water, per officials. The other two bodies have been identified as sponsorship manager Tim Alings, 27, and pilot Haraldur Diego, 49.

In an email statement obtained by the news organization, Suspicious Antwerp spokesperson Bram Boriau explained Neuman and Bellavia were chosen as they were “hugely passionate about travel and content creation.” The brand also wrote on its website that “the loss of our close friends has left all of us at Suspicious Antwerp in a state of mourning.”

“We want to express our immense gratitude to everyone for their support, condolences and love,” the company continued. “The same gratitude goes out to the emergency services, volunteers and many others that have been and are still working selflessly day and night to help the loved ones find closure.”

Meanwhile, Neuman’s family took to his Instagram to thank his supporters and announce that they would be establishing a charity that will “continue to forever support his dream to make a meaningful difference for the world that we live in, so that his name, and his enduring spirit, will never perish.”

“Josh didn’t just live life, he was life, and he lived every day to the fullest extent possible while being kind to everyone,” they said. “As the world sheds a tear, we should know that he passed doing what he loved, having just experienced the Northern Lights in Iceland for the first time and commenting ‘this is the happiest day of my life.'”

Read their full statement below.

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A post shared by Josh Neuman (@joshneuman)

Photo via YouTube

Island Boys Home Raided and Child Murder Suspect Arrested

A suspect in the murder of an 8-year-old girl was arrested at the Island Boys‘ home.

According to TMZ, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a SWAT team raided Alex and Franky Venegas’ Florida rental home on Monday. The search led to the arrest of the Island Boys’ childhood friend, Andrew James Thomas, who was taken into custody in connection to the child’s death. Authorities said they believed the girl, who was playing near her front porch earlier that day, was caught in the crosshairs of a drive-by shooting when she was fatally shot by Thomas.

Neither of TikTokers were arrested during the raid. However, the outlet reported that Alex was on the premises when the search warrant was executed and told police that Thomas had run towards him with a handgun, which also had an extended magazine attachment.

The social media star went on to claim that he refused Thomas’s request to hide the weapon when SWAT arrived. As a result, he said Thomas went to the laundry room, where the gun was later found in a closet. Authorities arrested Thomas on charges of gun possession, violation of probation related to a separate robbery and first-degree murder.

Speaking to TMZ, the Island Boys’ manager insisted no one knew about the drive-by shooting, saying they only knew Thomas as “a quiet kid and he would come and hang out and do his thing and go back to whatever he got going on.”

The manager added, “But we had no clue about any of these allegations toward him.”

Read TMZ’s full report here.

Photo via YouTube

Huddy Pays Homage to Bowie

Twenty years ago, Markus Klinko photographed David Bowie for the late rock legend’s 2002 album, Heathen, imagining him as different characters across hundreds of dramatic portraits. At the time, Bowie described the release as “deeply questioning,” which was reflected through Klinko’s lens: in one shot, Bowie walks a massive wolf and in another he cradles a newborn baby — strange Bowie twists, given the stylized, high-gloss treatment that Klinko became famous for in the early 2000s (he also shot Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi and Beyoncé’s Dangerously in Love).

Now, Klinko is looking at the next generation of music — and celebrating two decades since his Bowie collaboration — by tapping into TikTok’s breakout star Huddy. Fresh off the release of his 2021 debut album, Teenage Heartbreak, Huddy has been evolving what it means to embrace rock for the internet age, between songs like “America’s Sweetheart” and “21st Century Vampire.” To Klinko, Huddy “has true rock star charisma,” and amplified that in a special shoot paying tribute to the Starman himself (glitter, jewels and a smokey eye, included).

This shoot is David Bowie-inspired. In what ways are you inspired by the late rock legend?

Huddy: I love seeing the influence he had on other people’s lives. He’s an iconic person that I see people dressed up as every Halloween. The impact that he had through music, through photos and through the way he carried himself is inspiring to me.

In what ways do you strive to challenge the conventions of rock music, in the way Bowie once did?

Huddy: I just want to inspire people with my music the same way that people were inspired by Bowie during his era. I want people to listen to my music and have it inspire them in a different way than other rock artists. I want to unlock another part of their brains and open up their imaginations to all the possibilities, and paint a visual picture the same way that reading a book does.

“You can’t deny the face of a rock star when you see one.” –Huddy

What was it like working with such an iconic photographer like Markus Klinko? Did you learn anything from being on set with him?

Huddy: I learned that even when there are few shots, each shot is important. Each angle is important. Each side of your face is important. Each expression is important. I learned that no matter what age you are, rock can make you feel like a kid again. He said that he was inspired by my music and my aesthetic, and that you can’t deny the face of a rock star when you see one. That stuck with me.

How do you personally connect to glam rock style?

Huddy: I connect with the importance of and attention to detail. I love the art-like, expressive visuals that are a large part of glam rock. That is something that inspires lots of people’s music videos today, and their stages and sets when they perform. It’s something that really stands out.

What inspires you about Huddy and how was it working with him on set?

Markus Klinko: Huddy impressed me. He has true rock star charisma, which goes way beyond just great looks. He is a passionate artist, who takes his craft extremely seriously, and is in it for the long run. I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his career.

Having shot so many music iconics, including David Bowie, how do you think music culture has changed over the years?

Markus Klinko: I started working with labels a lot in the early 2000s. At that time, there was really just one way for a music artist to release their work: by working with the recording companies. For me as a photographer, that meant to approach a lot of these bigger album shoots almost like a major ad campaign. I loved that. Today, artists must mark themselves first and foremost, which is why the importance of social media is dominant. The label’s roles have changed therefore. But I think we are starting to see a comeback of high-end photography, as people are getting bored with the Instagram type of visuals. Brands and labels are looking again for a more substantial way to work with music artists.

“[Huddy] has true rock star charisma, which goes way beyond just great looks.” –Markus Klinko

How did you decide to connect the dots between David Bowie and Huddy?

Markus Klinko: Having worked with Bowie on his last big production shoot for the cover of Heathen, and seeing the enormous success of that work in the art gallery world, I was interested to find a new, current artist to collaborate with, as an homage to Bowie’s 75th birthday, as well as my own 20 years anniversary of working with Bowie. I felt that Huddy had all the right aspects for doing this glam rock tribute. I didn’t want to do a straight Bowie reference, more so a glam rock focus. I was thinking of Brian Ferry as well, for example.

I used projected red light stripes for the glitter close up shots, which I felt were a great way to update and modernize the concepts seen in typical glam rock photos from that time. But I couldn’t resist getting inspiration from an old image of Bowie in the back of a chauffeured limousine, with paparazzi chasing him. I had an old Rolls Royce sent to set and re-interpreted that idea to suit Huddy. I had so much fun with it.

What’s your favorite memory of working with David Bowie?

Markus Klinko: There were many, but I love to remember the day he came to my Soho studio while I was doing this big sexy GQ shoot with half naked models running around the set, with nothing but towels around them. David looked around, smiled and said this reminded him of the ’70s. Then he added, “Not that I can remember anything from the 70s.”

Photography: Markus Klinko

Styling: Marta Del Rio
Hair: Johnny Stuntz
Makeup: Bex Marie
Production: Jonathan Heit

Cardi B Has Had It With the Kulture Trolls

Don’t think of messing with Cardi’s kid. On Monday, February 7, momma bear and rapper Cardi B took to Twitter to call out people flooding her daughter’s Instagram account with hateful comments. In now deleted tweets she wrote, “Haven’t been checking my daughter account but now I’m going to lock her page… I don’t know wtf is going on but I hope y’all moms die for giving birth to you hoe ass weirdos.”

The instagram account, @Kulturekiari, was created for Kulture in September of 2020, when she was just two years old, and immediately gained popularity. A little over one year later, the page has amassed two million followers and her feed is filled with adorable pictures of the mommy-daughter duo, some not previously shared on Cardi’s main account, as well as some fit pics of the looks Kulture has been serving.

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Since the internet ruins all things joyful — Kulture’s official account, as managed by her mother, is now private. While Cardi did not share comment specifics, the trolls were seemingly criticizing the toddler’s appearance. Some folks responded to Cardi’s tweets condemning the unnecessary hate towards her child while others upheld their comments with one tweeting, “I said what I said.”

This comes only a few weeks after Cardi B won her defamation case against YouTuber LaTasha Kebe, who claimed the Grammy-winner had STDs and engaged in prostitution before becoming a rapper, among other fictional remarks. The rapper sued for emotional damage and invasion of privacy that placed her daughter and husband, Offset in danger.

Photos via Getty/ Rich Fury

Kylie Welcomes Second Child

The ever-expanding Kardashian-Jenner family just got bigger, with Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott bringing home their second child on February 2.

Over the weekend, Jenner shared a black-and-white photo of the infant’s hand with the caption “💙 2/2/22.” Arriving on an angel number day, and the day after Stormi’s birthday, it seems the stars aligned for the new baby, who was confirmed by a representative as a boy.

Jenner announced the pregnancy in September with a 90-second video on Instagram showing the family’s anticipation. From doctor’s visits with Scott, who continues to co-parent amid rumors of their rekindled romance, to birthday parties, the video highlights the family’s excitement over Jenner’s second child. Big-sister-to-be Stormi seemed particularly elated, ending the video with a kiss on the baby bump. We’re definitely looking forward to their coordinated brother-sister wardrobe.

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Jenner and Scott have always shared their dream of a big family, and we’re glad to see it taking shape. A representative of Jenner shared that she’s “has been wanting to give Stormi a sibling for a while. She loves being a mom. She is thrilled that she and Travis are pregnant again.”

Of course, with any Kardashian-Jenner announcement, comes fan speculation, and the internet is already swiftly sleuthing to uncover the baby’s name, which has yet to be revealed.

In the comments of the baby announcement Kris Jenner, and others chimed in with references to angels, giving fans the idea that the baby’s name may be “Angel,” which would be fitting for the baby born on 2/2/22.

Whatever the name may be, congratulations to Jenner and Scott on their new addition!

Photo via Getty/ Tommaso Boddi

Awkwafina Is Leaving Twitter

Awkwafina won’t be on Twitter for a while. This decision follows her writing a long note addressing criticisms that she’s been using a “Blaccent.”

The actress has been accused of cultural appropriation over the years, with people citing her work in movies such as Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8 as examples. People especially thought it was hypocritical when she said in an old interview — which resurfaced last year — that she doesn’t want to put on accents. She told Vice in 2017, “I refuse to do accents. I’m not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character.”

She addressed the controversy very briefly while speaking with Reuters, saying that she was “open to the conversation” and that the issue was “multi-faceted and layered.” Now, she’s published a more lengthy response in the form of a series of statements posted to Twitter. — nora (@nora)

“There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the historical context of the African American community in this country,” she wrote. “It is a group that is disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies — all while having historically and routinely seen their culture stolen, exploited, and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain without any acknowledgment nor respect for where those roots come from, the pioneers of its beginnings, and the artists that perfected and mastered the craft”​

She added that she recognizes the problem persists today, “In life, linguistic acculturation, immigrant acculturation, and the inevitable passage of globalized internet slang all play a factor in the fine line between offense and pop culture.” She continued to insinuate that the reason she speaks the way she does is because of “the movies and tv shows I watched, the children I went to public school with, and my undying love and respect for hip hop.”

“But, as a non-Black POC, I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE,” she concluded. “But I must emphasize: To mock, belittle, or be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature. It never has, and it never was.”

In a separate tweet, she announced that she won’t be using Twitter for a while. She posted, “Well, I’ll see you in a few years, Twitter – per my therapist. To my fans, thank you for continuing to love and support someone who wishes they could be a better person for you. I apologize if I ever fell short, in anything I did. You’re in my heart always.”

Well, Iu2019ll see you in a few years, Twitter – per my therapist. To my fans, thank you for continuing to love and support someone who wishes they could be a better person for you. I apologize if I ever fell short, in anything I did. Youu2019re in my heart always — nora (@nora)

To Clarify: I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else, even if I wanted to, and I didnu2019t drunkenly hit someone with a shoehorn and now escaping as a fugitive. Also am avail on all other socials that donu2019t tell you to kill yourself! — nora (@nora)

Many people online are still unsatisfied by her statements, saying that they don’t contain an actual apology.

Photo via Getty

Sara Ramirez Talks Che Diaz ‘And Just Like That’ Backlash

Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That has been getting a lot of mixed reviews and some controversies, too. One of the issues people have about the show is its most polarizing character, nonbinary comedian and podcast host Che Diaz.

Spoiler alert! The character, played by nonbinary actor Sara Ramirez, is loud, obnoxious, caricature-ish and has been deemed the worst character on the show by the internet. They end up in a relationship with Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda, who splits from her longtime partner Steve (David Eigenberg) and moves to Los Angeles with their new beau.

Ramirez is aware of the backlash their character is getting. “I’m very aware of the hate that exists online,” they told The New York Times in an interview. “But I have to protect my own mental health and my own artistry.” They added, “I’m really proud of the representation that we’ve created. We have built a character who is a human being, who is imperfect, who’s complex, who is not here to be liked, who’s not here for anybody’s approval. They’re here to be themselves.”

Ramirez also said that they don’t necessarily identify with Che, clarifying that they had no control over the writing of the fictional character.

“Michael Patrick King [the showrunner of And Just Like That…] and the writers’ room would probably answer that best since they wrote the character of Che Diaz,” they explained. “I imagine Che would have something very witty and silly and funny as a rebuttal; something that ultimately reminds everyone that they are human; something with a sprinkling of self-deprecation, because I think they know they’re a narcissist. And maybe just a little reminder that no one’s perfect.”

Initially, Ramirez’s Che was not supposed to be Miranda’s love interest. “So originally, when Michael was sort of trying to think about what would happen in our season, he talked about Nya (Karen Pittman), Miranda’s professor, being the romantic relationship,” Cynthia revealed in the And Just Like That documentary. “Nya was a straight character and Miranda’s a straight character and I was like, ‘Well that doesn’t sound very sexy at all.’ Do you know what I mean?”

Nixon didn’t think it was very exciting to have “two women who have gotten to this age and are now just sort of fumbling around.” She said, “That doesn’t seem great. And I was like, ‘Why couldn’t it be, you know, why couldn’t it be this butch person that you’re talking about having for Carrie?'”

Photo via Getty

Gigi Hadid Causes ‘Commotion’ on Rihanna’s Instagram

Rihanna and boyfriend A$AP Rocky announced that they’ll soon be co-parents earlier this week, showing off the singer/ philanthropist/ business mogul’s baby bump in photos taken in Harlem, New York City.

Aside from the couple’s photoshoot pics in Harlem, Rih also posted a baby bump selfie on Instagram. Friends and fellow celebs were gushing in the photo’s comments section. But one comment struck intrigue among fans. Gigi Hadid was among those extending well wishes. She commented, “three angels.”

Related | Rihanna Posts New Baby Bump Selfie

People took notice and began to speculate. Because it was a solo pic of the singer and business mogul, a number of commenters, TikTokers and tabloids thought that Hadid was dropping a hint or accidentally gave away that the couple is having twins.

The supermodel noticed what had happened, and commented to clarify that she wasn’t insinuating anything. “I just caught word of this commotion,” she wrote. “I meant rih/ rocky / baby lol.”

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Related | Rihanna Made Her Pregnancy Reveal In Vintage Chanel

Rihanna and Rocky announced that they’re expecting earlier this week. According to Page Six, Rih’s bump has been visible for some time now but she’s been hiding it under oversized clothing until she was ready to share. In a tweet, she suggested that she waited until Black History Month to make the reveal.

The soon-to-be mom previously told British Vogue in an interview that she wants to have three or four kids by the time she’s 42.

Photo via Getty

Barbie Ferreira Is Done With ‘Backhanded Compliments’ About Her Body

Barbie Ferreira is over the bullshit.

In a new interview with Who What Wear, the model and actress talked about the conversational pitfalls surrounding the body positivity movement, particularly when it comes to issues of self love and toxic positivity.

“I feel like I had a lot of things come up emotionally because of the pandemic, and putting some of that into this season was therapeutic for me,” Ferreira said, referencing the way her character, Kat Hernandez, also deals with these issues in the second season of Euphoria.

“I hope other people [watching] can also feel the same way and release the pressure of being perfect and happy all the time,” she continued. “Because that just doesn’t exist.”

Ferreira then went on to explain that while the mainstream’s embrace of bigger bodies triggered an important discussion about body inclusivity and positivity a few years ago, “bigger bodies are not as ‘trendy’ as they used to be” and a lot of people still don’t understand what the movement is truly about.

“[It’s] really sad to me,” Ferreira said. “But it’s more of a conversation of the fact that we all struggle with self-love, and I don’t think any young person has really figured it out yet.”

For example, Ferreira talked about the so-called “praise” she regularly receives for wearing certain items of clothing, as “it’s not radical for me to be wearing a crop top.”

“[Comments like those are] just backhanded compliments. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. I’m 25,” she said, before adding that it’s also a lot when “people just assume” she must always love her body.

“Did I say that? I never said that. You guys just say that. You posted that on me,” she continued. However, Ferreira also offered up one concrete suggestion to brands that say they support all bodies: Make clothing in every size.

“I have all the resources in the world to get something that fits, and it’s still extremely difficult. So I feel for everyone who’s still trying to find things that fit them,” she said. “”I could do a seminar on this. I always think about the fact that if these clothes came in my size, I would be out here doing even more.”

Read her interview conversation with Who What Wear here.

Photo via Getty / Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Kim and Kanye’s Divorce Is Already Getting Messy

Mom and dad are fighting again. The two, who have been very publicly separated for almost a year, are already finding co-parenting a bit of a challenge. The current point of contention: 8-year-old daughter North’s TikTok account.

Related | Kardashian_Kolloquium Muses on Kanye’s Muses

In a move that surely resulted in an urgent phone call from his divorce attorney, Ye let social media in on a disagreement with his soon-to-be ex-wife regarding North’s social media presence. The rapper opened up the floor to general advice on Instagram, posting: “SINCE THIS IS MY FIRST DIVORCE I NEED TO KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO ABOUT MY DAUGHTER BEING PUT ON TIK TOK AGAINST MY WILL ?” with a still of North’s TikTok video. He received almost 70k bits of advice in the comments section about parenting in the age of social media.

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The first piece of advice, however, was from KKW herself, who quickly retorted on her Instagram stories, telling her followers that she was “doing my best to protect our daughter while also allowing her to express her creativity in the medium that she wishes with adult supervision — because it brings her so much happiness.” Kardashian continues to share her side of the story, explaining how difficult it is to have eyes on all four kids at the same time.

Ye, however, is apparently still stewing over being uninvited to his daughter Chicago’s birthday party last month, and had a few choice words for Kardashian and her parenting style, citing close Kardashian connection Tracy Romulus as the instigator.

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The TikTok drama began back in January when Kardashian and her eldest daughter started a joint account. Shortly thereafter, Ye disclosed to Jason Lee that he didn’t want his children to have a TikTok presence, in an attempt to control his own narrative. Kardashian, however, expressed her distaste for Kanye’s attempts at control, stating that “Kanye’s constant attacks on me in interviews and on social media is actually more hurtful than any TikTok North might create,” after North went live without her permission last December.

During the live in question, the 8-year old giggled throughout the stream, as kids do, saying things like “Mom I’m live” and “Let’s give a house tour” while she walked through the Christmas-ready mansion. The video tour ended in Kardashian’s bedroom, where she was lying in bed, fully unaware the whole world was watching.

Soon after the livestream mishap, North’s cousin Mason Disick even jumped in to offer Kardashian some TikTok-weary advice, having previously learned his lesson the hard way back in 2021 when he went live and told his viewers Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott wouldn’t get back together.

Whether or not Ye will actually get a say over North’s TikTok presence, or if he’ll stop “obsessing” over the situation, it’s safe to say that we will be following the conscious uncoupling unfold closely.

Photo via Getty/ Marc Piasecki/ GC Images

Karen Pittman on the Wonders and Responsibilities of Joining ‘And Just Like That’

Karen Pittman beams through a Zoom screen, cheers-ing me with a coffee mug that says, “It’s official, you’re awesome,” on it below a painted faux lipstick smudge. Over the course of our conversation, Pittman, who plays Dr. Nya Wallace on the Sex and the City reboot series, And Just Like That, reads more playful and bubbly than her character, a college professor and community organizer struggling to conceive a child. The two of us are immediately giggling about the lotus-like chandelier in her background, which seems to be growing out of her head, before she remarks on some of my “yummy” recent Instagram posts.

Pittman is a celebrated stage and screen actress, and has worked on and off Broadway for years, as well as in a steady string of supporting television roles, including on FX’s The Americans, Netflix’s Luke Cage and, perhaps most notably until now, as Mia Jordan on Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s Apple TV drama The Morning Show. As Jordan, Pittman plays a harried television producer, one of only a few people of color in the largely white, extremely chaotic world of a fictional morning news program. The Morning Show’s first season nabbed eight Emmy nominations and one win, and if the Screen Actors’ Guild nominations are any indication, season two could be poised to make an equally strong showing.

Related | The Clothes in the SATC Reboot Don’t Tell the Whole Story

If The Morning Show is what first brought Pittman to our attention, it’s And Just Like That that cemented her status as television royalty. In her first scene, the one and only Miranda Hobbes (portrayed to Emmy glory by Cynthia Nixon) has just arrived for her first day of class to pursue a Master’s in Human Rights. Seeing Pittman’s character headed to sit in the professor’s chair, Hobbes blurts out something like, “Don’t sit there, that’s for the professor.” When Wallace calmly explains she is the professor, Hobbes defends herself, saying she was confused by Wallace’s hair, having seen a photo with a different haircut online. What ensues is one the cringiest monologues ever committed to film and, as Pittman was quick to assert, awkward comedy gold.

From there, the relationship between Wallace and Hobbes first nosedives as Nixon’s character continues to humiliate herself, but then slowly blossoms into a genuine friendship between the two women. Pittman plays Wallace as poised, no-nonsense and shrewd, but, as the series progresses, reveals a softer, more sensual side and becomes part of one of only a handful of sex scenes we’ve seen so far in the series, notable because of its prequel’s title.

I was captivated my Pittman’s radiant kindness and thoughtfulness. She graciously began by asking for my pronouns, and when I explained I was open to any at the moment, and apologized for the potential confusion that might cause, she responded, “We are living in the age where: I get to decide who I am and you need to respect that. Trust me, I appreciate that.” As someone who worked as a background actor in one scene of the series (keep your eyes peeled for a pink beret in episode eight), I was eager to talk shop about the filming process and the experience of joining such an iconic franchise.

Our chat ranged from her relationship to the original Sex and the City and its overwhelming whiteness, how she navigated the responsibility of representing so many types of women historically erased by the show, filming that earth-shattering opening scene with Miranda and much more.

PAPER: I wanted to start by going back chronologically to how you joined And Just Like That. Were you a fan of the original series?

Karen Pittman: Oh, I was! For sure, I was. I think like everybody, I became enthralled with New York City life, and sisterhood, and womanhood, through these four incredible characters. And also, with the city of New York. It just made me want to be a New Yorker. With the Manolo Blahniks on cobblestones. It was very romantic and whimsical, but also very groundbreaking. They were doing something, and telling stories about how people really lived here. All of my friends and I would get together, and it was common ground for us, to sit down and watch a fun story that was enchanting, right? I’d actually met the executive producers on the show, John Melfi and Michael Patrick King, years ago when we did a pilot for Hulu, with… do you know Bridget Everett?

The comedian, yeah! She’s great.

Fantastic. So we did this really irreverent pilot. Really awesome comedy, where she was at the center of it, because she’s a superstar. And that pilot didn’t move forward, but I remember having such a great time with Michael and John, and John… I remember him coming to see a play I did. He’s just always been really supportive. So when I auditioned for And Just Like That, I remember seeing him on the Zoom, because you were still Zooming back then, and I saw him and Michael Patrick King and it felt like, “Oh, there go my brothers. It’s time to see if we can find a good playground to play on.” And it happened to be this story that I could tell with them, and I feel so grateful to do it.

Did you identify with one of the four women back when you were a viewer?

I mean, I think the answer is all of them, at some point. At some point I was all of those women, which is what I think made it so iconic but so fundamentally female. Those characters lived in our social and cultural psyche, because they were such strong archetypes. And newly created archetypes. That we felt like we could identify with as we came into the 21st century. If we were going to be a woman of the world, we were going to be one of those women, running around New York City living her best life. But I definitely was one of those audience members that was like, “It would be great to see some women of color in that world. It would be really enlightening. And I’ve thought more about it as my career has gained steam because there are so many women who have come out to me and said, “Your representation really matters. You doing the thing that you do really matters to me, and it’s really important for me to see that.” I haven’t completely stepped into the shoes of someone who can really inhabit that with a great deal of dexterity. But I definitely have felt like, “Oh, I see why it’s important.” And I see why it was important for And Just Like That to be different. To be the next chapter of Sex And The City. Why it was important for them to make it diverse, and inclusive, like they have.

Because the original show, as great as it was, certainly was very white, and had its blind spots in terms of gender identities, and all of that… I think it’s safe to say that the reboot has taken large steps to correct those wrongs of the past, but I’m curious to hear more about your take on how AJLT has tackled that. Also, in keeping with the chronology, when you first received that script and read about Nya’s scenes, I’m curious about your first impressions, and if you were immediately drawn to this character, and what was on the page versus what you brought to this woman through your preparations.

Well, first of all, I did not get the entire script. They were super secretive. Super duper. And then all throughout the filming, when we would get scripts for it, they would be on a highly secure… FBI, CIA version of script-reading documents. But I only got the scene, and the names were changed.

Which scene was that?

It was that very first scene, where Nya walks in with braids. Miranda very cautiously [says]: “Hey, don’t, that’s where the professor sits.” She’s like, I am the professor.”

Oh my god, that scene.

[Laughs] That was the very first one. And like many women of color, especially women from my tribe, who saw that scene, they’d lived it. So it wasn’t very hard for me to understand the arc of what that moment might look like, and what that relationship might look like. Because, you know, I’m sure this has happened to you, you meet someone who’s slightly awkward, and weird around you, because they’re trying to figure out how to conjugate what you are, and how to approach it in a respectful manner. And they may just fuck it up. But you end up actually becoming friends with that person, and you endear yourself to them and they endear themselves to you. That’s sort of the way some relationships begin.

When I encountered that audition, I thought, “I totally understand this moment. These women are going to be friends. And by the way, I know this is Cynthia Nixon’s character.” [Laughs] I know this isn’t Carrie Bradshaw, and I’m pretty sure it’s not Charlotte! They record your auditions and Cynthia saw mine and she said, “Oh, we have to have Karen, I love her work onstage. Can we really try to go for her?” I really didn’t think I got the audition. I thought, “Well, I tried. I really, really tried. And I love those guys, and I’ll have my chance. We’ve worked together before, and we’ll work together again. I know it.” Which is how I approach auditions. If I don’t get the job, it’s not my time. Not my opportunity. So then they called me back and said, “No, listen, we’d really, really love to have you.” “Oh, good! I need a comedy, after having done The Morning Show for eight, nine months.” I need comedy. So that’s how I popped in there.

Yeah, that scene, like I said, I’m a super-fan of the franchise, so I had some people over, and we were watching it that Thursday night, and the air just left the room. Everyone was screaming.

I know! Because you’re like, “Miranda… Oh! Oh! Miranda!” And one of the things that Michael said to me is: “Miranda is probably one of the most — is the most loved, of that quartet.” And I thought Cynthia Nixon just did a great job of shedding all fragility in the moment. And deciding that she was going to just muck up her character a little bit. She was going to make her a little messy. After seeing her seasons of Miranda as very, you know… not ever mussing, being mussed, in a way, especially around her career. We were going to see her for the first time step her foot into it. For me, it was really important to embody a Black woman who sees her going through the machinations of trying to figure out how to correct herself, versus Nya apologizing for Miranda’s gaffe, she just lets Miranda figure it out. I think that’s a lot of how it works, nowadays. Because there’s been this really strong response, what I wonder is how many people are affected by this notion of cancel culture, where if you make a mistake, a gaffe… Oh, you didn’t mean it that way, you’re going to get thrown out of society, you’re going to get canceled… I think there is some fear that she’s, like, a “Karen.” I don’t think so. I think she’s just a human being that said something politically incorrect, but apologizes, and we move on into a good friendship. Do you know what I mean?

Totally. I actually really admired that the show was willing to take these women who we have been with for so many years, and it really isn’t afraid to make them the butt of the joke, and make them go through these mistakes, and goof-ups, in order to learn and to grow. It sounds like you feel similarly. I think there was a way where they could have written this show where they didn’t tackle anything difficult like that. So I applaud the writers for not being afraid to go there, and have Miranda and Carrie and Charlotte mess up and look bad.

I also thought it was really, for me, and my friends, to have sat in these awkward moments… I thought it was funny. It was entertaining. You know?

Exactly. That scene was so funny. I saw some reactions online about people just thinking it was so horrifying, but, I mean, I was laughing.

If you’re cringing on the inside, that’s something to experience too. It’s a full service story, ay! Cringe, laugh, giggle, cry. Do those things. But I also feel, again, back to that idea of when I came into it, I certainly had fertile ground in my life for being amidst a sea of white women, in white spaces, as it were, and having to navigate that. With all of the education and style and the way you present yourself, you certainly can encounter some weird awkward moments like that, in spite of the fact you’re well put together. People are still trying to figure out how to be politically correct. And for me, it was really important, “OK, I’m going to bring this character to life, she’s going to be different from Mia Jordan, different from what I did on The Morning Show.’” But she is also going to be this super generous human being around this conversation of what it is like to talk a little bit about race politics, and put that in humor. Because I definitely feel like the last several years we have been on opposite sides. And having any sort of discourse around race, or the introduction of race into our conversations, is awkward, and cumbersome, and we’re often super clumsy about it. But I don’t think that that means it shouldn’t be talked about. I think part of what I love about this show that has come out in me, is normalizing the conversations between people of different genders and different races, normalizing the conversation of: “Hey, I’m different. This is how I want to be referred to. This is how you talk to someone, or this is how we include my race, or ethnicity, in a part of this conversation.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. In that way I think it’s part and parcel with the groundbreaking history of the show, that they’re introducing these topics to this audience.

Related | A Sneak Peek Into the ‘Sex and the City’ Reboot

So you touched on some of the fan reactions — I’m curious to hear more about that.

Once the show came out, I was like, “Everybody’s going to love it. I’m totally optimistic.’ So when people had knives out, I was like, ‘What? Are you kidding me?” Some of the feeling was, this needs to change, you guys need to change. Sara’s character Che needs to be included, la la la, Nya’s character, Miranda needs to confront her otherness… But then some people were like, “Why did you change it? Don’t change! Change it, but don’t change it like that!” It was definitely a knives out experience. But a lot of that has rolled off my back, because I know what’s coming. I know what’s on the horizon for this series. For this season. So I know that people are going to be like, “Oh, they did the thing that I thought they weren’t going to do.’ Or: “They’re doing more than I ever expected them to do with this.” The feedback has been like, “Oh, this character can’t just be there to serve the white character.” And, as the season has gone on, now you’ve seen Nya in her relationship with her husband, and you see that really her arc isn’t just about being Miranda’s professor, it’s about her struggles with IVF, and managing her own expectations for her life… And what does it mean to be a Black woman in a great relationship with a great Black man, and then decide not to create a Black family out of that? Are you kidding me? That’s also an interesting conversation to have. And I can’t wait for the audience to see the rest of the season, because I think they’re really going to be moved, and entertained, and laugh, and really be surprised.

Cynthia Nixon directed episode six, “Diwali.” So what was that like, because she’s your scene partner as well?

I think this is her first episodic television foray. It was great. She’s an actor’s actor. She’s a director’s actor. This is my first nude scene, naked scene, in television. Simulated sex scene, or whatever. And I had such nerves around it. A lot of vulnerability displayed in the moment for my character, and for my character’s husband, LeRoy McClain. As a female actor, you’re very sensitive about when you expose your body, when you make your actual, physical presence in that way, when you share it on screen. You always are very, very careful about that, because that shit is meme-able, OK? That shit lives in the world forever. So you just want to make sure that it actually was going to do something for the story, it’s going to do something for the character… it’s relevant, you know? So I definitely would not have seen myself doing that with any other director. Cynthia is just really warm and thoughtful. Or in any other production. With Michael Patrick King, and John, I knew they were going to make sure it was very beautiful, and tender, and sweet. There were notes in the script about: this is what it should look like, Naya’s on top… And so, it was very specific and really beautiful. She’s just a joy to act with. A lot of fun. Very early on, we had great friend chemistry.

COVID I’m sure has complicated things, but you talk about that organic friendship you developed — do you feel that the cast has had the chance to really bond off-set?

Inherent to doing episodic television is that you’re sitting around in your chairs waiting for the next scene to get set up. During the filming of The Morning Show season two, we really did have to keep our distance. We couldn’t be on set that long. This is prior to there being a vaccine, when we were filming that. But by the time we got to filming And Just Like That, the summer of 2021, there was a vaccine, almost everybody was vaccinated who was on set by August 2021, so we could sit around in the chairs and talk to each other without hindrance, without feeling like “I have to keep my distance.” So we did build those behind the scenes bonds. Kristin was fantastic. We bonded over dealing with her daughters and their hair — Kristin has adopted two beautiful African-American girls. We absolutely had the opportunity to bond. It was special. It really is. My social media person has put this picture online of us during one of our photoshoots for press, and we’re all seven of us lined up. It was just such a special day. Because we were bonded. I felt really strongly about the women that I worked with on that show.

You’ve done so many different roles in your career, and are now reaching this new level of visibility. I’m wondering what other types of characters are you most eager to play next?

It’s such a great question. I mean, a lot of it depends upon the collaborators, for me. I don’t want to tell just any story for any character up there. But I definitely feel like it’s time for me to start being in a leadership position in storytelling. Which looks like a leading role. I’ve spent a lot of time in the experience of supporting really extraordinary, fabulous women, like Jennifer and Reese, and even going back to Keri Russell in The Americans, and in the theater… I’ve spent a lot of time observing women, specifically white women, in leadership positions, in the jobs that I have had, and I think that it’s important for women of color to assume leadership positions in telling a story. Not just because of what it does for the story, but also what it does for the other actors, and how to be in that role. I think I have a good understanding of it now. I think definitely women who are in love, and who are happy, and who are complicated. There are people that I’d love to work with, actors I’d love to work with…

Can you name any of those?

Well, all the beautiful Black male actors out there, Mahershala Ali, André Holland was a colleague of mine from grad school… all the cuties. I also am a big fan of Jessica Chastain. But again, it is a question of who the storytellers are, and how to collaborate. And really, I think, the question is what kinds of stories do I want to tell next. I think there is so much more work to be done societally and artistically with the conversation about how we find common ground. I think my experience of having gone through this really extraordinary time of political unrest and societal unrest, has been “OK. There’s still a lot of work we have to do as human beings to figure out how to come together.” We paid a lot of lip service to that, but perhaps there is a lot of good use in telling stories where people find themselves on common ground that they never imagined themselves. And how do I tell more stories like that.

Photos courtesy of Warner Media

Lil Nas X’s Brother Is Holding Out Hope for a Nicki Minaj Collab

Now that Nicki Minaj has buried the hatchet with the City Girls, Lil Nas X’s brother is holding out hope that the rapper can potentially extend the same courtesy to the noted Barb, as well.

“U got one more barb to have a convo with,” Lil Nas X’s brother, Sleepy, wrote, quoting Nicki’s tweet about having a conversation with City Girls’ JT and Yung Miami.

The rapper’s sibling went on say what we’ve all been thinking and pointing out that the world is sorely lacking a collaboration between Nicki and Nas. “I watched my brother grow up loving nicki,” he said. “I personally believe if he can have one feat from anybody it would be her he deserves it he worked his ass off to get to where he at.”

U got one more barb to have a convo with — 2 time grammy winning brother (@2 time grammy winning brother)

I guess imma be the one to say it can we get a @NICKIMINAJ and @LilNasX for the culture — 2 time grammy winning brother (@2 time grammy winning brother)

I watched my brother grow up loving nicki I personally believe if he can have one feat from anybody it would be her he deserves it he worked his ass off to get to where he at — 2 time grammy winning brother (@2 time grammy winning brother)

It’s no secret that the Montero rapper has been a Nicki fan since his youth, even deriving part of his artist name from his old stan account @NasMaraj. Nas initially denied being associated with the account, which at one time had a six figure follower count, but later did confirm he was the one behind it, explaining that he tried distance himself out of fear that people would discover that he’s gay.

The stan account ended up coming back to bite Nas later on, when the Barbs dug up some of his old tweets accusing the rapper of clout chasing. It was a rare display of Barb on Barb violence, but one that clearly blew over given the fact that he dressed up as Nicki for Halloween a few months later.

Nas has attempted to collaborate with Nicki in the past, reaching out for a feature on last year’s “Industry Baby,” although nothing ultimately ended up panning out. Hopefully, with some prodding from Sleepy, Nicki might reconsider, but until then we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Photo via Getty

Swifties, Class Is in Session

Nobody works harder than a Taylor Swift fan decoding the pop icon’s musical easter eggs. Now, they can get graded for their efforts thanks to NYU’s newest course curriculum.

Variety reports that the University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music launched its first-ever class on the legendary singer and hired Rolling Stone staff writer Brittany Spanos as its professor.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to sign up for the current semester, which began Jan. 26 and is set to run through March 9, but in case you’re hopeful the offering returns, the description explains that students will “deconstruct both the appeal and aversions to Taylor Swift through close readings of her music and public discourse as it relates to her own growth as an artist and a celebrity.”

“The class delves into analyses of the culture and politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness and power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded and succeeded her,” the description continues. “We’ll also consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.”

Digging deeper into Swift’s creativity, songwriting, public commentary and politics, the course will explore what makes the artist such a polarizing persona and how Swift’s been able to remain relevant in an ever-evolving industry.

“Teaching a course at Clive Davis has been a dream of mine since I attended NYU,” said Spanos to Variety. “I took several of the Topics in Recorded Music courses in the program while an undergrad and they were foundational to my work as a music journalist. I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It’s such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students.”

Interested in signing up? You’ll have to join the waitlist, which is already pretty lengthy, but if you want your official stan certification it’s worth the effort. Plus, who knows, maybe Ms. Swift herself will join in via Zoom — or speak in person. NYU has reportedly put the ask in place so anything’s possible, especially given that Swift loves to surprise her fans.

Photo via Getty/ Kevin Mazur

Megan Thee Stallion Wants to Jump on an Adele Track

It seems we are not the only ones who saw — and possibly partook in — last year’s viral TikTok mash-up of Adele’s 2016 song Water Under the Bridge and Megan Thee Stallion’s Body. In a recent conversation with People, the Houston rapper said that “If Adele wants me to come get on the track, be the dancer, I’m there, I’m here for it.”

Following a tweet that begged the question “How come Adele never has any backup dancers?” the TikTok fandom found a way to merge the 30 singer’s mid-tempo pop song with Megan’s choreo. The highly addictive, viral dance trend somehow made complete sense and now, it could just mean the beginning of a real-life collaboration between the two power pop phenoms. According to Megan, joining forces with Adele is exactly “what the streets need. They need that collab, and they need my choreography in there, too,” she said to Entertainment Tonight, adding “Adele, girl call me.”

The good news is: what Megan wants, she seems to get. “I’ve manifested Beyoncé, I feel like I have reached my ultimate goal,” she told People, recalling her Savage Remix featuring Queen B. Surely, it won’t be long before we can dance to an Adele-Megan song.


saw this on Twitter and have been hollering ever since

In the meantime, the Cry Baby singer has already found some other ways to surprise us. As she said to Entertainment Tonight, “I like to surprise the hotties. I don’t like to tell them too much.” So keep an eye out during this year’s Superbowl on February 13 because Megan is going to be in a Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot commercial.

“Being in a Super Bowl commercial in 2022, I feel like everybody keeps asking me, ‘OK Megan, when did you feel like you made it?’ I mean now I feel like maybe, maybe I am kinda famous,” she added. Are you ready, hotties?

Photo via Getty/ Miikka Skaffari/ WireImage

Grimes Is Reaching Her Alien Final Form

With a spectral picture posted on her Instagram account last Thursday, Grimes revealed her umpteenth alien-inspired tattoo to the world. This time, the Genesis singer has covered her breast with a motif made of white curvy lines that come together in an arrow-like shape on her upper chest.

As she explained on social media, this is her latest contribution to her “long slow effort to have a full alien body” that’s “totally covered in white ink.”

Grimes’ journey towards a “post-human” body started in April 2021 when the singer got a similar extraterrestrial white design all over her back. The “beautiful alien scars” were tattooed by artist Tweakt and designed by artist Nusi Quero’s “alien computer brain.”

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On top of these major tats, Grimes also has the alchemy symbol for the planet Jupiter on her finger, an alien head on her left hand, and some more designs inspired by The Legend of Zelda and The Lord of the Rings. What’s gonna be next?

Photo via Getty/ Michael Hickey

TikTok Has a New Class of Black Trailblazers

TikTok is kicking off Black History Month by highlighting the Black creators pushing pop culture forward. The platform has revealed its second annual Black TikTok Trailblazer List to pay homage to all the creators that post everything from hilarious content to culture-defining examinations of music and are shaping the TikTokscape.

The platform’s list features 12 Black TikTokers that have become, or are on their way to becoming, household names. Coming in at #12 is @themomtrotter, who has traveled to over 36 countries and shares content centered on parenting and her lifestyle. #11 is @thesweetimpact, who’s become extremely popular for being a fantastic cake artist and breaks down his cake-making process.

At #10 is @sambafilms, who shares a love of cinematography through highly polished TikToks with some serious visual storytelling. #9 on the list is @megagonefree, a singer who uses her platform to spread a positive message through soulful melodies. Then #8 on the list is dancer @keke.janajah, who you probably know from creating Megan Thee Stallion’s iconic “Savage” dance.

At #7 is @imamrollwithit, a TikToker who shares educational content as a creator with a disability. Coming in at #6 is @cultureunfiltered, an account ran by writer Masani Musa where she talks about the latest and greatest happenings in pop music. At #5, you’ll find @grace_africa, a nurse who hilariously shares her best impersonations.

Next up is @emmanuelduverneau, a creator whose account is centered on cooking and dancing. Coming in at #3 is @yeahitsak, who’s become popular across TikTok for his rap videos. And at #2 is @tonyweaverjr, who frequently shares his love for anime and, finally, at #1 is @artbydemarcusshawn, whose comedy videos on the platform continuously go viral.

In addition to this new list, TikTok is rolling out some other initiatives for Black History Month. It’s introducing new creative stickers to share stories with under the hashtag #BlackTikTok and is also launching special guest playlists set to feature artists like Victoria Monet, Timbaland, Aluna and more.

Photos courtesy of TikTok/ Yaw Asiedu

A’Ziah King Wants Writing Credits for ‘Zola’

A’Ziah King, the inspiration behind 2020’s A24 film Zola, isn’t too pleased with the independent production company who turned her viral twitter thread into a film last summer.

Twitter’s Saint of Storytellers, so to speak, and Executive Producer of 2020’s acclaimed Zola, was denied writer’s credits and is calling out A24 for the apparent snub: “I think it’s hilarious my intellect, trauma & talent is being overshadowed & hijaked. I AM the moment!” she expressed on Twitter.

This Sunday, King replied to Film Independent’s 2022 Spirit Independent Awards nomination announcement contesting her exclusion from the writers category for Zola. Despite being a crucial creative mind behind the entire project, King says A24 failed to recognize her for providing much of the source material, tweeting, “I think it’s hilarious ZOLA is up for 7 awards & no one thought to invite me nor include me IN the writers award category…”

I think its HILARIOUS everyone else is on my Television promoting & speaking on my experience as if itu2019s their moment & not a moment I created for us all.nI think its hilarious my intellect, trauma & talent is being overshadowed & hijaked.nI AM the moment!nExcuse me while I laugh — Zolaud83dudc51 (@Zolaud83dudc51)

Making it perfectly clear that her grievances lie solely with the film’s distribution company, in the same series of tweets, King extended gratitude towards her creative collaborators, writer Jeremy O. Harris and director Janicza Bravo, for their ability to transform her story into its finished product: “I am in awe of Janicza & Jeremy’s writing & directing. They deserve & have fought for me for YEARS.” she stated. Let’s be clear: my beef is with A24 exclusively.”

A24 has garnered a cult following amongst film enthusiasts as the distribution company behind Hereditary and nearly every mainstream arthouse film of the past decade (they gave us an unhinged Robert Pattinson character more than once). In 2018, it was announced that the company acquired the distribution rights to King’s iconic 2015 story explaining how King and “this b*tch here fell out,” released via Twitter thread quickly gripping social media. The film’s 2020 release garnered acclaim for its visually striking direction and insightful commentary on sex work and social media, while propelling the careers of both Harris and Bravo, respectively.

King did finally receive tickets to the event, but who knows what would have been granted without her provocation and self-advocacy. A24 has not yet responded to the King’s claims.

Photo via Getty/ Rich Polk

Rihanna’s Pregnancy Sparks Sad Drake Memes

Has anyone checked on Drake?

As you’ve probably heard by now, Rihanna revealed on Monday that she’s pregnant with her and A$AP Rocky‘s first child, sending the internet into a complete tailspin. However, after the initial wave of excitement, fans also began to wonder how Drake was doing given his well-known obsession with Rih, and they, naturally, used memes as a hilarious vehicle for their speculation.

After all, Drake famously professed his love for her while presenting her MTV Video Vanguard Award in 2016 and has continued to openly simp for her, despite Rihanna telling Vogue in 2018 that they were no longer friends but “not enemies either.” And though they appear to have since made up, Rih made it abundantly clear that she’d moved on from whatever romantic relationship they may have once had after she began dating Rocky in 2020. So with that in mind, the internet was quick to joke about Drake losing it over the news, with multiple people tweeting things like “I know Drake is somewhere throwing up” and saying he’s probably already waiting for her outside her mansion.

I know Drake is somewhere throwing up

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 31, 2022

Drake on Rihanna’s door tonight 😭😭

— R¡cky  (@guylikericky) January 31, 2022

drove to rihanna’s house to cry outside the gate and drake was already here wtf

— s☿phie 🥁 (@1ean4real) January 31, 2022

Drake finding out Rihanna pregnant

— Klout ⛈ (@kloutkovain) January 31, 2022

Drake this morning when he seen why Rihanna is trending

— Dav3_LastOfUs (@casamato21) January 31, 2022

Meanwhile, some made wisecracks about the rapper brooding along to his own sad boy records by writing, “I know drake just put take care on.”

I know drake just put take care on

— paul (@paulswhtn) January 31, 2022

While others figured he’d be using his pain as musical inspiration, saying that he was “bout to drop the greatest album of all time” and even coming up with fake lyrics like “I know our relationship was Rocky but you moved on ASAP.”

Rihanna pregnant. Drake bout to drop the greatest album of all time omfg.

— Playy⁷ is high 🍃.. (@4PLAYYGRL) January 31, 2022

Everyone: Rihanna is pregnant!!
Drake on the phone with Riri:“ I know our relationship was Rocky but you moved on ASAP”😩😢

— 👑King of the Fall🧣🌅📻 (@swiftxosinner) January 31, 2022

Drake gonna drop some bars like “woman of my dreams having a baby & I ain’t responsible, when that shit get Rocky I hope she hit my line As Soon As Possible”

— V ØR VØSS (@NL_Vossi) January 31, 2022

More specifically, many joked about a possible part two to Drake’s iconic heartbreak anthem, “Marvin’s Room,” which would be called “Marvin’s House” or “Marvin’s Mansion.” And of which seems somewhat plausible given that Drake has yet to publicly congratulate Rihanna.

Drake already somewhere off the henny writing Marvin’s Room Pt 2

— King Wow (@wowthatshiphop) January 31, 2022

Someone said, Drake is about to drop Marvin’s house LOOOL

— sorry, Sir. (@ChiomaMyah) January 31, 2022

Rihanna pregnant fr smh Drake dropping Marvins Mansion next week

— Pastor Kyle. (@itsqail) January 31, 2022

Photos via Getty / JP Yim & Scott Dudelson

Influencer Vita Aranda Fatally Shot at Concert

Model and influencer Cristina “Vita” Aranda has died. She was 29.

On Sunday, the mother of three was shot at a Paraguayan music festival called Ja’umina Fest before later succumbing to her injuries. According to reports translated by E! News, two people died and at least four were wounded during the shooting, which took place at the José Asunción Flores Amphitheater.

Authorities said that they are currently trying to figure out the cause of the shooting, though they added that Aranda was not a “target,” as she was just “waiting for her [estranged] husband,” soccer star Ivan Torres, who she filed for divorce from last month.

On the heels of her passing, Torres shared the news with Aranda’s 520,000 Instagram followers in two identical statements posted to both of their accounts.

“One of Cristina’s priorities was to be close to her followers,” Torres wrote, adding that her followers would be able to say their goodbyes at an Asunción funeral home. However, he also said that “out of respect in this delicate moment, the entrance to the wake room will be exclusively for family and friends.”

“We appreciate your desire to accompany us in this delicate moment,” Torres said. “We ask you to use the space on the ground floor to leave a dedication and pay tribute to Vita.”

Read E! News’s entire report here.

Photo via YouTube

Christopher Meloni Knows You Call Him Zaddy

After having played detective Elliot Stabler for 12 seasons on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, actor Christopher Meloni left the show in 2011 only to serve us with an unexpected comeback 10 years later.

During the latest episode of the Fitness+ podcast, Time to Walk, Meloni recalled the moment when a photo of him stretching on set was posted on social media last year, sparking a viral (read: extremely thirsty) reaction on the internet. “We were shooting in Brooklyn and an innocent bystander […] took a shot of my rear end — my asset — and it hit the interweb and became an international sensation overnight,” he explained.

When Meloni accepted the challenge of playing his role again in the new spinoff Organized Crime, he felt the need to prepare not only emotionally but also physically. “I was like ‘This is kind of a dream right now.’ I didn’t take it lightly,” Meloni said, adding that he realized “people would remember me/ Elliot Stabler as he was 10 years prior, because that’s the last time they would have seen me physically.”

His athletic preparation was certainly noticed worldwide. “”It traveled the globe,” Meloni said. “And I was given the moniker ‘Zaddy’ which I believe means an elderly gentleman with a certain patina of sexiness to them.”

While other actors might have shown a different reaction to the sudden rise in internet meme-ability, Meloni said to have accepted his fans’ comments as “almost their warm welcoming of Stabler back and me back in this role.”

Organized Crime is currently airing its second season. We look forward to feasting our eyes on Zaddy Stabler then.

Photo via Getty/ Bobby Bank/ WireImage

Stop Commenting on Nicola Coughlan’s Body

Nicola Coughlan has asked fans to stop commenting on her body — either positively or negatively.

The Bridgerton and Derry Girls star shared a mirror selfie on Instagram with the plea, writing, “If you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me. Most people are being nice and not trying to be offensive but I am just one real life human being and it’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day.”

See on Instagram

Coughlan went on to say that she totally understands that as an actress, people will have things to say about her and her body, but she’d rather not hear about it if she can help it. She then turned the comments off on the post to hopefully move past this.

Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington in the popular Netflix show Bridgerton, had already made a name for herself in her native Ireland, but it was the streaming show that really brought her into the mainstream.

Since the huge success of the first season, which debuted on Christmas in 2020, Coughlan has found herself on magazine covers, in huge interviews and all over social media. She just shared her cover with Elle UK last week, which may be what prompted her recent Instagram request to stop with the feedback.

In her interview, she spoke of how public her life has become as a famous person. “I went to the pub with my friend a while back and it was like being an animal at the zoo,” Coughlan shared. “People just watching and looking. And I remember one time I was taking my Invisalign [brace] out, and this person was staring me right in the eyes, which was quite weird.”

She added, though, that in general, people are lovely. But even the good comments can weigh on you when you’re hearing them constantly, because how your body looks is not your entire worth.

Hello! So I wrote this two years ago for the Guardian but I just thought Iu2019d share it againnnTLDR: Can we judge actors for their work and not their bodiesnn — Nicola Coughlan (@Nicola Coughlan)

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Coughlan has had to respond to people talking about her weight and her body. In March last year, she tweeted a thread about not discussing women’s bodies in favor of discussing their talent and their work.

“Every time I’m asked about my body in an interview it makes me deeply uncomfortable and so sad I’m not just allowed to just talk about the job I do that I so love,” she wrote. “It’s so reductive to women when we’re making great strides for diversity in the arts, but questions like that just pull us backwards.”

Photo via Getty

Harry and Meghan Raise Misinformation ‘Concerns’ to Spotify

This past week, Spotify has been getting a lot of heat over their exclusive deal with Joe Rogan for The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Big personalities such as rocker Neil Young, folk artist Joni Mitchell and, most recently, Bruce Springsteen have spoken up and threatened to pull their music from the streaming platform in protest.

Now reports say Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have expressed their “concerns” to Spotify over the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

According to a spokesperson for the couple — who co-founded Archewell Audio — they first brought the issue up to the company earlier this year. “Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform,” an Archewell spokesperson said in a statement. “We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis.”

The Sussexes didn’t mention Rogan, specifically, but they seem to allude to Young and Mitchell’s actions, adding, “We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”

Spotify has not commented on the pair’s statement.

The Sussexes also have an exclusive, multi-year partnership with the platform​ to produce multiple programs, aside from the shows that they host themselves. And while they’re one of the most influential personalities on Spotify, Rogan’s show still trumps them in popularity.

Many are saying that it’s going to take a lot more for Spotify to change their decision on Rogan, and some people on social media are suggesting that Taylor Swift take a stand because of her huge fanbase.

Photo via Getty

Joni Mitchell and Neil Young Want Their Music Off Spotify

Folk music legend Joni Mitchell joins rock icon Neil Young in demanding that Spotify remove their songs from the streaming platform in protest of COVID-19 misinformation.

Spotify recently made a $100 million deal to exclusively host Joe Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The show, which has about 11 million listeners, has been known for spreading false information and misleading claims regarding the pandemic and vaccination. And both Mitchell and Young won’t stand for it.

Last week, Young wrote an open letter saying he would pull his music from the platform unless they took action against Rogan. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he explained in the since-deleted letter. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

With no action on the platform’s part, his music was taken down on Wednesday, and reports say Spotify lost $4 billion in market value since then.

Young urged other artists to do the same and, sure enough, Mitchell announced that she plans on following suit. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” she wrote in a brief statement posted on her website Friday. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Spotify told BuzzFeed News regarding Young’s initial comments that they have “detailed content policies” and that they’ve already taken down over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19.

Photos via Getty

Charli XCX’s ‘Alone Together’ Now Streaming on Hulu

Calling all angels! Our favorite hyperpop hero Charli XCX’s new documentary, Alone Together, is finally out in theaters and on Hulu which means you can take a closer behind-the-scenes look at the singer’s most personal project to date.

After the final leg of the Charli Live tour, COVID hit, and with the option for live performances indefinitely on hold XCX decided to think up a new way of connecting with her fans. “I’m going to make a brand-new album during this quarantine period,” she wrote on social media, adding that any who wanted to help, could.

how i’m feeling now is the result of an emotional and creative collaboration between XCX and her fans, as she invites them into her process of lyrics, musical breakdown and album art selection.

With over 39 days of shooting and more than 5,000 video clips which required more than a year of editing, the documentary — directed by Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler — follows XCX as she navigates the newness of digital-first creativity and confronts her demons during a period of deep isolation: “I’ve got serious issues with the way I handle my work and the way I depend on work to make me feel like I’m a good person,” she tells the camera.

Inspired by XCX’s ability to innovate under such mentally challenging conditions, Bell and Jones-Soler, decided to jump on board with the project and say that Alone Together aims to shed light on “the importance of community.” “For both Charli and the fans,” they continue, “we see the power of togetherness to heal and creatively push boundaries during an incredibly difficult time period.”

Nearly two years since XCX began working on how i’m feeling now, the singer is already onto her next body of work and her fifth studio album, CRASH, is sure to show the songstress in a vastly different state of being. CRASH is slated for release March 18, with a 36-date live tour across North America and Europe just afterwards.

Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Nic Cage Outs Himself as Goth

Nicolas Cage, known for his inventive acting methods, may be approaching his most true-to-life role yet as Dracula. In conversation with The Los Angeles Times, Cage came clean as a goth, discussing his upcoming role as Count Dracula in Renfield, and his domestic spats with his pet crow named Hoogan.

“He has taken to calling me names,” Cage says of Hoogan. “When I leave the room, he’ll say, ‘Bye,’ and then go, ‘Ass.’ Crows are very intelligent. And I like their appearance — the Edgar Allan Poe aspect. I like the goth element. I am a goth.”

Hoogan finds home in a geodesic dome in Las Vegas, among other mystical animals including Merlin, a 4-year-old Mainecoone, and Teegra (another cat, whose age and origins are as mysterious as its name).

Cage himself is a figure of lore, so his dedication to his role as Dracula comes as no surprise. The former Declaration of Independence thief has courted the dark side throughout his career and personal life, formerly playing someone who believes themselves to be a vampire in the 1987 film Vampire’s Kiss, and having lived in America’s Most Haunted House. But having gone on record in a 2012 Letterman appearance that he, himself, does not drink blood, Cage’s off-screen penchant for all things haunted is a humble curiosity.

Nevertheless, Cage as the Count, starring opposite Nicholas Hoult as Renfield, is sure to leave us breathless with spiked blood pressure levels in the modern-day adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror novel Dracula as reimagined by Rick and Morty’s Ryan Ridley.

Photo via Getty/ Sascha Steinbach

Elon Musk Is Beefing With a 19-Year-Old

It’s come to our attention that the private jet belonging to tech tycoon Elon Musk does in fact have its own Instagram account, the domain of which belongs to 19-year old Jack Sweeney.

Sweeney created this account with the intention of keeping tabs on Musk’s jet, which although a humorous idea to begin with, is now being looked at as a potential security risk. The account uses public air-traffic “bots” to track the plane’s whereabouts and posts updates to Twitter.

In an attempt to avoid any stalkers or other probable media accounts, last fall Musk offered Sweeney $5,000 to take his account @ElonJet offline to which Sweeney countered his own offer of exactly one Model 3 Tesla, a Tesla internship, or upwards of $50,000 — enough to be “put towards college” or, you know, a Model 3.

Took off from Hawthorne, Elon got PIA blocking program but already found the — Elon Musk’s Jet (@Elon Musk’s Jet)

Musk is now being forced to “think about it as the account continues to remain active and visible as of January 26, several months after he initially reached out to Sweeney.

According to a recent tweet by Musk, this isn’t the only social media account that quite literally “follows him,” but it seems to be one of the few that can provide accurate reports on the jet’s location IRL. In a recent statement however, Sweeney acknowledged that this account is meant to only track the jet, not those who may or may not be on board. In addition to the takeoff and landing locations, the Twitter feed also provides approximated flight times so you can actually track it yourself.

I obv canu2019t comment on every rumor, but this isnu2019t true. Am headed to Berlin mid Feb, not this week. — Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)

Besides a typically busy college freshman work schedule, Sweeney maintains an additional 14 flight tracking accounts according to Protocol News, but at 83,000 followers, @ElonJet remains the most popular. Cue cat running across keyboard.

Photo via Getty/ FREDERIC J. BROWN/ AFP

The Girls Are Fighting

When it comes to coping with the pandemic, in its varying pre and post stages, pretty much anything is acceptable. The WFH uniform, the spritzer before noon, or endlessly scrolling Ina Garten and Martha Stewart’s Instagram feeds for some comfort. But now, in a sick twist of fate, our favorite girls aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.

In a recent reply thread via Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram post on her healthy, post-pandemic morning ritual, Ina Garten admitted she had an easier time coping with the pandemic Cosmopolitan style, the recipe of which stands:

  • Drink more large cosmos
  • Stay up late watching addictive streaming series
  • Stay in bed in the morning playing Sudoko instead of reading a good book
  • Spend more time (safely) with people you love.”
  • Witherspoon’s followers swiftly replied to Ina’s comment, siding with the Barefoot Contessa: “80% Ina, 20% Reese. Balance, and the good ol 80/20 rule,” one user wrote.

    See on Instagram

    Not long after, our other half, Martha Stewart entered the chat, sharing where she stood on the matter, saying she “does not agree” that alcohol is a good means of self-soothing — pandemic or otherwise. “To me that’s not charming,” Stewart says. Apparently, she’s more of a Reese than an Ina.

    But charming to Stewart or not, Garten has obviously captured the sentiment of many considering her virality over the last two years while concocting Cosmos “as big as her head” everywhere from Twitter to Instagram to the TODAY Show with Hoda and Jenna, and even a mid-morning libation with Seth Meyers.

    Whether they take two cups of Grey Goose Vodka in your drink of choice, or prefer to have a casual “one or two glasses of wine with dinner,” the one thing Stewart and Garten can agree upon is their shared love of late night TV binging. Stewart even admits to sometimes using “the battery up in both of her iPads in one night watching season three of Yellowstone. After all, in a pandemic, we “do what we can.”

    Photos via Getty