Emily Ratajkowski has made a career being one of the most beautiful women on Instagram, but you can bet your bottom dollar Celeste Barber is the funniest.
Far from comparing each woman’s unique talents, Celeste Barber has delighted her doting audience by offering what she calls an ‘alternative’ aesthetic to that which is trotted out by the mainstream fashion and beauty industries, all in the name of comedy.
*Pause for laughs*
Barber has been given the title Funniest Woman On Instagram by WhoHaha, the platform championing women comics co-founded by Elizabeth Banks, for her parodies of celebrity culture.
It’s a well deserved award, by anyone’s standards.
Her oeuvre is part slapstick, part satire of the human celebrity condition.
No one is safe.
Nor the self-made social media stars who seem so important to contemporary culture for reasons no one can quite ascertain.
This Kendall Jenner’s preferred method of celebrating the Easter holidays on social media, apparently:
But Celeste likes copying model and feminist activist Emily Ratajkowski, known to many simply as her handle ‘@emrata’, the best.
She told UNILAD:
Emily Ratajkowski is fun. She doesn’t seem to wear clothes often so that’s always a treat.
You’ll often find Emily Ratajkowski on the Instagram Explore feed exercising her right to earn top dollar from #sponsored fashion brand partnerships while walking a dog on the streets of New York in underwear.
Two years ago, Celeste and her sister started sharing posts like this with each other, marvelling and laughing at how unattainable marketing was becoming.
The pair challenged each other to try and replicate what they saw on their feeds.
Thus sparked a viral Internet comedy campaign, Celeste told UNILAD:
My sister and I would send photos to each other saying ‘You should do this’. And I did. I thought it would be funny to see a non fancy person do fancy people things.
This is the beauty of Celeste’s comedy.
We’re all so consumed by celebrity culture, these ridiculous unrealistic tropes coined by the capitalist-driven fashion and beauty industries have actually become the norm.
These photographic pixels make it normal to see a woman hanging up her washing in underwear which cost over $200 and demonstrates her washboard abs.
Newsflash: It’s not normal.
Falling into a pool, ruining a lovely but very expensive outfit is perfectly acceptable if that’s your cup of tea and you have the money and energy.
It’s practically put on a pedestal within the confines of artistic expression on a fashion photoshoot.
But it’s not normal for a lot of women because it’s simply not practical. Just think how long it’ll take Bey to air-dry the coat.
The problem rears its ugly head because Instagram blurs the line between celebrity culture and real life, perpetually putting undue pressure on us mere mortal social media users to conform.
The social media platform sells a false reality disguised as aspirational content – and we’ve all become bizarrely immune to the ridiculousness of it all.
It apparently takes a 35-year-old mum from Sydney, Australia, to lift the Insta-veils from our eyes and show us just how oddly funny having a landline in your loo appears in the context of day-to-day life.
But Celeste is adamant social media only has as much power we place in those tiny pixels and seems to live by the motto ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join them’, just in her own unique way.
…Ideally, while eating crisps:
Celeste confesses she loves the weird and wonderful world of fashion for its comedic goldmine.
But she fails to understand the logistics or the relevance of the precarious positions a lot of models are forced into by creative directors.
Like these ones:
In fact, she’s found herself roping in help to nail the copycat posts from her sister.
I told my sister that she needed to take all her clothes off wrap her legs around me and smile. That was interesting.
Her husband, Api Robin, now has his own Instagram titled @hothusband_, in honour of Celeste’s fans who shared their admiration of his physique.
With their support, Celeste continues to question the fashion and beauty industries, and all the while you’ll laugh and laugh and you’ll never look at a curated celebrity ‘candid’ in the same way again.
As a trained actor with credit in film and TV, her work wasn’t intended as a political statement, but she’s okay with folk interpreting it however they chose, she explained.
Celeste described her work, telling UNILAD:
An alternative to anything is always a good thing, and I think I’m offering an alternative to a perfect unrealistic image.
Instead I’m serving real and funny and people seem to like it.
Sometimes, its frustrating that we live in a world where the pretty people get to play with the pretty things, but it’s also fun because it gives me more material to poke fun at. Swings ‘n’ roundabouts.
I’ve been associated with the Body Positive Movement and I’m totally happy with that.
I never started this to be political I started to make people laugh, but I’m happy that people are relating to it on so many levels.
And all the while, ironically, her Instagram following grows and grows.
Celeste now has an almost unfathomable 3.5 million followers.
She even gets offers from big companies for ‘#spon’ posts; the plague of social media.
Celeste confirmed she could make a lot of money, saying:
Yep, the main companies I get approached by are detox Tea, meal supplements, and diet pills.
I’ve posted over 800 photos and been paid for 12 and none of them have been from those companies.
But she’s unbothered by the social media superstardom, and refuses to accept the label of someone who achieved ‘overnight fame’.
Rather, she worked hard on her observational comedic stylings.
She once said being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly. In other words, totally meaningless.
It means more to my friends and family than it does to me, they love sending me messages saying ‘You’ve got more followers than Kylie Minogue!’
But this Insta-fame game is no competition. There are enough lemmings to go around and the celebs on Celeste’s radar are actually big fans of her satire.
Celeste said the response has been ‘all positive’, explaining:
People like humour. They like to laugh, even the fancy ones.
She jokes she’s ‘totally BFFs with Rosie Huntington Whitely, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Ford and The Queen’.
Needless to say, Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t have an Instagram to parody. So, Celeste has changed her medium up, and is embarking on a new tour of America called #CelesteChallengeAccepted Live.
She told UNILAD all about what viewers can expect:
Its such a fun show. I talk about the world of Insta and my experience at being an ‘influencer’. There’s photos, and videos and a lot of dancing.
For those of you looking for a little light satire away from ‘The Grid’, fear not. Celeste has decided to ‘take the mickey’ out of the very function of Instagram itself.
I have a section in the show called ‘Allowed/Not Allowed’ and if people can pick the image that Instagram allowed or was pulled down because of their ridiculous terms and conditions then you get to have a drink!
After all, you can’t be a woman on Instagram – even a funny one with a mission to satirise the social media platform and – without falling foul of the harsh censorship on the female form.
Although men’s nipples aren’t censored on social, Celeste certainly isn’t leaving the guys out in the cold.
…Not wearing that scarf, anyway:
Celeste’s latest endeavour is one for the ladies, however.
In The Letdown, she plays the support group companion of a mum struggling to del with all parenthood is throwing her way, sometimes literally.
One male critic, rather bizarrely, compared the charming but very real show to Darren Aronofsky’s allegorical film mother! in which Jennifer Lawrence portrays the physical manifestation of Mother Earth.
Responding to the comparison, Celeste said:
Well, I’ve never seen mother! but my sister has and is still scarred from it, she told me that I should never watch it and as history shows I should always do what my sister tells me.
You can watch the trailer for The Letdown, which is available on Netflix, below:
As far as what the future holds, Celeste said she’s looking forward to ‘American tours, hopefully more acting and never seeing mother!‘.
On behalf of the world, UNILAD requested Celeste run for President of the United States.
She agreed, joking, ‘Sure, why not, seems like any clown can do it.’
All hail future President Celeste.
If you have a story to tell, contact UNILAD via [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.