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Challenge Accepted: Visual Parody On Instagram


This is from Celeste Barber's website. Celeste is a trained actor, writer, comedian and a bloody big deal online - indeed, she is. The Australian has become Instagram famous for her parodies of the painstakingly posed pictures of celebrities and models that you probably scrolled past before. Celeste Barber joins us on the line now from her home in New South Wales in Australia. Thanks for being with us.

CELESTE BARBER: Hi, Lulu. Hi there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. OK. For those who have never seen your Instagram feed, tell us what we would see if we clicked around there?

BARBER: You would see a lot of inappropriate half-naked unflattering photos of me put up next to very attractive not-so-unflattering photos of celebrities. I do parodies of celebrity Instagram photos.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. So there's one where Kim Kardashian is posing against a pile of sand. She's undressed, very provocative. And then there's you, sort of similarly clad, reclining against gravel (laughter).

BARBER: Yeah, on a dirt pile. Kim Kardashian on a dirt pile. That's the way people refer to that photo a lot.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Why do you think it's resonated so much? Why do you think people have enjoyed this so much?

BARBER: Well, first and foremost, I look like an idiot in them, the other person doesn't. And it's not like I'm taking - I don't take paparazzi photos of people or I'll only take what they've posted themselves. And then I look silly in it. So the beginning of it is me looking stupid. And I think people like that. I think people like seeing people make fun of themselves - I do - and just not caring. I think it's nice to see on a platform like Instagram, where it's all about how things are staged. It's nice to see something that is so not.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think for a lot of women, there's still this hesitancy - and I know it is for me. I'm always vetting photos that go out on Facebook or Instagram because I don't want an unflattering picture of me to be out there. Is it ever strange for you? Do you ever feel self-conscious?

BARBER: No, I don't. I don't care. I honestly don't. I'm really - I'm so much more interested in people thinking what I say is funny or what I do is funny than if how I look is OK. I mean, even sometimes in the photos - if when my husband's taking them, I'll be like, oh, babe, I don't want to look too good in this. And he's like, it's OK, you don't. Don't worry about it. Like - because I'm trying to just - my main goal is just to make people laugh.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What do women say when they contact you about this Instagram feed?

BARBER: Really, really excellent kind, uplifting things. Thank you for making me feel better. I had this one - I got this message. It was a while ago, now over a year ago. It was a mother saying that she had - has a 13-year-old daughter. And it was such a sweet message. She said, I just want you to know my daughter has taken down photos of these very thin models and put up a couple of photos of you, and she laughs a lot more now. And and I was like, OK, well, that's the best. That's so nice to hear. People are very kind to me, and I'm very appreciative of it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Celeste Barber, comedian and Instagram star. Thank you so much for being with us.

BARBER: Awesome. Thanks so much, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF PILOTE'S "EIGHT BAR LULLABY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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