The second coming of Caroline Calloway is here.
If you didn't know who Caroline Calloway was before, it's quite possible that in this forced global shutdown, you've finally had some time to dive into the chaotic world of the 28-year-old influencer-cum-scammer-cum-art-historian the internet's very much taken with.
Self-admittedly fame-obsessed, Calloway manifested this chosen life path by taking to Instagram and gaining an impressive following through aspirational and entertaining content.
So far, so normal.
A natural performer, her next move was that of events which saw her as the star, albeit for all the wrong reasons; $165 “creativity workshops” that completely fell apart, a $100,000 book advance for a book she never wrote, and a book proposal that it turns out, was actually ghostwritten by someone else.
Subsequently, the 28-year-old became the subject of a now-infamous The Cut article written from the perspective of former confidante and ghostwriter Natalie Beach, who somehow finds herself at the helm of Calloway's many scams, unable to cope.
Beach’s essay, however, isn’t so much a tell-all list of dodgy dealings as it is an engrossing look at toxic friendship, envy, self-obsession, addiction, and what it feels like to love someone incapable of loving you back.
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TW: Suicide. I’ve never talked about the chapters of my life when I struggled with suicide on the internet before today and I didn’t want you to find out like this. But now you know. I’ve only read two lines of Natalie’s article so far—my plan is to read it for the first time tomorrow with my therapist. But my manager texted me this line of hers: “It’s been surreal watching this unfold from my desk job in Los Angeles, but I’m not surprised she’s taken an essay of mine that didn’t exist yet and turned it into a narrative for herself.” I wrote about Natalie’s upcoming article because I guessed that by using my access to the largest audience of people interested in Caroline Calloway—an audience only I have access to—I could ramp up anticipation. I hope impressions are through the fucking roof. Every boost helps. But ultimately I talked about what Natalie’s article meant to ME on this Instagram account because this is a space where I tell stories about ME. That’s the whole schtick here. I write about my life—and if I can make my art and express myself AND help my friends, I do. I don’t resent Natalie for revealing that I was suicidal in her essay. It’s not black or white. Both of these things are true: I wish people hadn’t found out like this AND Natalie’s stories deserve to be told. It must have been so hard for Natalie to have a friend who cared more about getting high than supporting her and didn’t really care about staying alive at all! I only found out about this line because @christinareaddd pointed it out to me. She’s sitting with me in my apartment right now with @p_izza220 . “So?” I said after she had finished reading it. “Yeah, um, the first thing that jumped out at me is that heard you on the phone with the fact-checking lady and this was the only thing you wanted clarified, but they didn’t fix it.” I knew she meant the suicide thing. She had been sitting next to me on the floor as I talked on the phone. Most of it had been: “If Natalie remembers it, it must be true." And then: “Hold on. The thing about suicide...” I looked away from Christina as I said it. The lady from The Cut was nice and said she understands and she’d pass my message along.
It also, however, details a number of fraudulent deals, such that Beach was allegedly promised 35 per cent of Calloway’s $375,000 book deal to help ghostwrite and never saw any of the money after Calloway (who was apparently battling an Adderall addiction) failed to fulfil the contract.
But the timing of Calloway's demise was during the year we all became obsessed with scammers, meaning that she was lumped in with professional grifters like Fyre Fest's Billy McFarland and the Soho Grifter Anna Delvey who is currently serving time in prison as a result of her dupe-filled escapades.
Slammed by the press, Calloway eventually shed her former persona of white girl scammer for that of actual writer and thirsty court jester.
First order of business? Capitalising on her side of the story.
Broken into three parts (the first of which is available now) Calloway's response is said to include material from Scammer, making it long enough for three 15,000 word chapters.
In it will be explaining her side of everything.
Even, as she promises on her website, where those Yale plates went. (Good to keep in mind that while Beach's essay was professionally fact-checked, Calloway's is not).
The essay is, however, behind a paywall.
Of this, Calloway says she's aware that "corona rly puts into perspective how dumb the sapphic plight of two white girls is," which is exactly why she's decided to weaponise the ordeal's viral power for good.
With a $10 donation minimum (according to the site, 100% of proceeds will go toward Direct Relief, a non-profit providing doctors and first-responders in the US with PPE and essential medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19) you can access all three parts of the essay.
While anyone who donates $100 or more, will get a signed "Dreamer bb," one of her famous and controversial homemade collage artworks.
"What's a Dreamer Bb? Matisse walked so I could fly," she writes on her website.
The story is also free for anyone who's lost their job because of coronavirus, or pre-ordered Scammer (which has reportedly been delayed as a result of COVID-19).
The title of my Natalie response is “I Am Caroline Calloway” and it will drop at 8 AM EST on Tuesday, March 31st on https://t.co/2hHtX6FVGX where 100% of PROCEEDS from the site’s paywall will be donated to charities fighting COVID-19.【ＯＫ? 】— ◥◤Caroline Calloway (@carolinecaloway) March 26, 2020
(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ OK ♥ pic.twitter.com/NP1HeYZdG2
According to screenshots, "I am Caroline Calloway" has already raised $20,000 for Direct Relief. Good to bear in mind, however, that these screenshots were taken by Calloway herself.
The story is one that keeps on giving, and will likely continue to do so for a long time.
But, perhaps the most interesting thing about this all is that Calloway has (seemingly) come out on top. She even earnestly believes that she's doing society a service in more ways than one.
"Methinks we need some high-quality tea to get us through these trying times," she writes on Instagram.
What's the next for the girl who has the internet at her beck and call?
Kneecap removal surgery, apparently.
In her rebuttal essay, Calloway claimed to be the "youngest person in medical history to have both knee-caps surgically removed."
Main image @carolinecalloway
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