Have you ever wondered what Meryl Streep would look like swimming through a banana split? Or what you would do if you discovered you had (almost) the same face as Laura Dern? Instagram, where every millennial fantasy comes to life — from Absolutely Fabulous prayer candles to Justin Bieber reimagined as a Lisa Frank creation — has the answers.
In the recent wave of millennial-run, meme-ified accounts taking over Instagram (like officialseanpenn), several celebrity-focused accounts stand out as innovators, creating their own brand of unique content as opposed to curating pre-made memes from around the web.
Graphic artist Samantha Raye Hoecherl combined her passion for food and her love of Meryl Streep to create Taste of Streep. The 25-year old designs uber-shareable photo creations that pair the acting legend with a diverse menu of edible items; picture the 67-year old actress with a sushi roll for a body, or hugging a giant corn dog. Still, there are limits. “When it comes to monkey brains, I’ll probably avoid [putting Streep on] that,” Hoecherl says.
Her creations have garnered attention from other stars, including Carly Rae Jepsen, Ryan Adams, and Ross Matthews, whom Hoecherl says follow the Taste of Streep account, though she’s also getting attention from a few unexpected places. “I’ve gotten follows from… a lot of Instagram dog celebrities,” she says. “No joke. One of the dogs has 1.2 million followers. I always keep my eye out for Amy Schumer though. I know she’s a huge Meryl fan.”
Though Hoecherl’s passion for Streep’s talents inspired her to dedicate her time (and her art) to the project, Maria Wojciechowski, a 28-year old stand-up comedian behind the I Look Like Laura Dern Tumblr and Instagram pages, says she wasn’t aware her current muse existed until friends noted the resemblance.
“Honestly, I didn’t know who Laura Dern was until people started telling me I looked like her…. Jurassic Park played a lot on TV, so friends were constantly texting me about it,” Wojciechowski says. “One night I got such a text, and I happened to be wearing a khaki shirt [like Dern’s shorts from the film], so my roommate suggested I do a side-by-side and post it on Facebook. I did, and it got an ‘I’m having a baby!’ amount of likes, so I decided to keep doing it.”
“Her facial expressions are so wonderful, but can be so hard to mimic. My skin is not as rubbery as hers. Like, no one’s is,” she says. “I’m a fun person stuck inside of a homebody, so my Dern pictures help me feel like I’ve accomplished something without having to leave my apartment.”
Meanwhile, Instagram artists behind the likes of Artistic Chicks (Paul Broughall) and Celebs on Sandwiches (Jeff McCarthy) are also helping to bridge the gap of fandom that often exists between “regular” people and celebrities. McCarthy, 29, a branded filmmaker in Los Angeles, says Aziz Ansari’s Instagram-based food obsession inspired him to paint celebrity portraits with an added twist: They’re all sitting on sandwiches.
“I think the art world, in general, takes itself a little too seriously. Our culture’s obsession with celebrity is pretty crazy, so I wanted to bring some humor to it,” he says of his work, which has allowed him to connect with actors like Seth Rogen and Jason Segel on commissioned projects. “I always try to choose subjects who I think would appreciate the humor. There have been a lot of likes from the celebrities themselves [including] Lena Dunham, Blake Anderson, and Chrissy Teigen.”
Broughall, a 27-year old artist and writer from Kildare, Ireland, also says he enjoys satiating the Internet’s desire to see celebrities in fresh ways; he draws them as baby chicks.
“I’d like to make a lasting impression and get people talking. That’s what art is all about, whether it’s serious or not,” Broughall says. “I think ‘fandom’ on Instagram feels like more of a community. It shows the goodness on both sides, like when you see a celebrity sharing fan art.”
“It’s all fair game,” McCarthy adds. “I think if you have something unique to share, you’ll find an audience.”