Creative Review New Music
Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway found notoriety a year ago today, after she had sold $165 tickets to her creativity workshop, which she intended to take on tour. People bought tickets, and she didn’t book the necessary venues.
Caroline, now 28, directs attention to this in her Instagram bio, boldly stating “No, not that one. The other scam. The one you love.”
This was not the first or last controversy Calloway has faced. Prior to ‘the scam’, she landed a book deal involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, promptly losing it upon being unable to complete the book, and being required to repay the publisher.
Following the workshop ‘scams’, Calloway’s ex friend/ghost writer Natalie Beach published an article with The Cut. She detailed many private insider stories of Calloway’s Adderall addiction, ghost writing for the budding Instagram celebrity, and having Calloway leave her alone, unable to get into their rented apartment in a foreign city.
Briefly after Beach’s article dropped, Calloway’s father passed away.
She continued creating content throughout the majority of her grieving process, leaving her audience divided as to if she was being raw and uncensored – or if she had become so caught up within being an internet ‘celebrity’ that she was unable to even grieve her father privately.
Drama can also be found in the comments of Calloway’s Instagram posts. Though some of the lengthy captions she’s famous for evoke riveting discussion, many attract hate.
Whether its that she’s used a fan’s comment in a recent caption, without crediting them, or she’s eating salmon while people thought she had decided to try out veganism. People always have something to say about her posts and personality.
This is why using the block button is not something Calloway is afraid to do, she’s vocal about protecting the space and community she’s created. She occasionally features the floods of hate messages she gets on her stories with short replies.
This drama and resilience clearly works, judging by the 719k followers her account boasts. Many people find Calloway through online discussion and feel the need to ask what it is that she does.
Fans know her for her messy, but cosy apartment. Hairstyles created with real flowers and relationships with beautiful men, who’s faces she usually hides in posts with emojis of blue butterflies.
To describe herself, she has used “Writer, Art Historian, Artist, Uncool” in her Insta bio. Writer of course due to her long captions, and desire to write a book.
‘Art Historian’ is from studying history of art during her time at Cambridge, but ‘artist’ is where many begin to question how accurate her description is.
Some fans love Calloway’s art, and purchase it during sales from her Instagram stories, but as is always the case with art, others question the validity of her creations.
Her first artistic run was what she called ‘Tittays’, these consisted of abstract watercolour backgrounds with minimalistic breasts painted boldly over the top. Following this came the ‘Dreamer Bbs’, Matisse inspired paper cut outs on patterned paper stuck onto other pieces of patterned paper.
Recently, her artistic exploits have been delayed in favour of writing, and setting up her new website. Carolinecalloway.com is where you can pre-order her first book, titled Scammer in typical Calloway fashion, priced at $25 and scheduled to ship this spring. A picture posted to her stories also hints that a shop, or perhaps display for her art, will exist on the site.
Opinions on Calloway are hugely varied, but it can’t be denied that she’s found her niche, and is putting everything she can into carving it out into something bigger. Thousands of people are watching, and waiting for Calloway’s next move.
Some are hoping for her to fail, others intend to support her in her success. All that really matters for a modern influencer though, is that people are consuming their content, and she has certainly achieved that.