It doesn’t really mean anything, writes Celeste Barber. Photo: Stocksy
I think it's fair to say I'm pretty successful on social media. I'm not getting paid $400,000 to promote detox tea, Kardashian-style (true story), but I've got more than one million Instagram followers, and in my book - and the book of my teenage stepdaughters - this is kind of totally hectic and, OMG, successful.
The interesting thing is that I've found myself in a number of situations where, to my embarrassment, I'm defending my Insta fame. Some people I love have gone a bit crazy and are introducing me as, "This is my mate Celeste, she's famous on Instagram". And before my new acquaintance can give the, "Oh, I guess I should care about this information" face, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, "WHO GIVES A SHIT?" Because here's the thing: if you have to tell someone you are famous, then you are not, in fact, famous.
Let me break down my tried and tested theory for you. Take Madonna and Beyonce, for example (because all good theories start with Beyonce and Madonna). I doubt on their first encounter at some super-fantastic, organic-wine, security-dressed-as-peacocks event that their publicists had to do introductions.
"Um, excuse me, Beyonce - this is Madonna. She is a singer who is constantly reinventing her image, and likes to push the boundaries of musical and cultural content. Oh, and she's The Queen of Pop. Madonna, this is Beyonce Knowles. She is currently a member of the pop trio Destiny's Child, has become the voice of women's empowerment, and makes us feel okay if we have a bit of junk in the trunk. She is Queen B."
No, it didn't happen because it didn't need to.
This may come as a rude shock to you, but I'm not in the same league as these ladies. I have, however, started to do famous-people stuff - interviews, openings - and it's fun, until I have to talk about myself and why the hell I'm there.
I was getting my makeup done (fancy) for a TV interview, and the makeup artist asks why I'm there. My response is always a little, "Um, my Instagram account." The makeup artist asks, "Really? What do you do with your Instagram account?" "Well, I take half-naked, inappropriate and, at times, unflattering photos of myself." "Really? That's why you're here?" "Yep."
I admit what happens online is starting to influence what happens in life, but there is still a very big difference between being fancy and funny online and being successful in the world. For example, Selena Gomez is killing it in life. She started out as a Disney star (or so I'm told) and now has carved out a super-successful and lucrative music career for herself. With more than 50 awards in her short career - including multiple Teen and People's Choice awards, and MTV awards - for both acting and singing. She is totally bossing her career around. GREAT. She also is the most followed person on Instagram with 89.2 million followers. BORING.
Then there's Gigi Hadid. A super-successful supermodel, walked in every major fashion show - from Chanel to Victoria's Secret - and has graced the covers of leading fashion magazines. What a fantastic career achievement. She also has 20.2 million Instagram followers. YAWN.
Instagram fame is not real-life fame/success. It's like when you think someone has shit dress sense, and they tell you they like your outfit. It doesn't matter.
NB: I'm so totally grateful for my one million followers. They make me feel far more superior than the mean girls I went to school with, and if they ever leave (unfollow) me I will cry and eat ice cream out of the punnet in a dark room while picking my toenails.