In a year that more of us have spent more time online than ever before, the prominence of the Instagram influencer has never been so apparent. One such ‘internet celebrity’ whose rise to fame has been well documented across a multitude of online platforms is that of Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway. With just over six and a half thousand followers on the picture sharing social media site, Calloway might not be one of Instagram’s biggest hitters, but the proliferation of her presence has come from a cross-pollination of social media sites including Twitter, TikTok, OnlyFans and even Linked In. Challenging the boundaries between life and art, Calloway’s online identity is a continual mining of the self for content to achieve an almost constant digital presence.
Calloway first emerged out of a relatively niche online bubble of New York literati when her supposedly ex-best friend Natalie Beach came out as her ghost writer in an expose for New York Magazine’s The Cut. In an article titled ‘I was Caroline Calloway’, Beach details how the pair first met as 20 year old students at NYU before Calloway departed for her much desired new life in the UK at the University of Cambridge where she would go on to study art history. Attending less for the course and more for the narrative she would construct around her life there as an American student at one of England’s most prestigious universities, Calloway hired Beach for help in constructing her life through Instagram post captions, living out the student dream in real time for her online followers.
The result was a book deal worth over $500,000 USD which failed to materialise from Calloway. Whilst leaving her in a devastating debt of over $100,000 USD, the book titled ‘Scammer’ has gone on to provide Calloway with a clear brand that she continues to this day as making her success from her own apparent failures.