If you’re reading this, Ana de Armas, please unblock @ArmasUpdates, better known as “Ana de Armas Updates” on Twitter. They promise they weren’t trying to be mean. Alternatively, Ben, could you please pass your girlfriend’s phone back to her? @ArmasUpdates just wants to talk.
In April, A.J., the Houston-based 23-year-old creator of @ArmasUpdates, found himself blocked on Twitter by Armas herself. He still isn’t sure what tweet pushed her over the edge. Was it when he claimed she and new boyfriend Ben Affleck were “[walking] their dogs outside instead of praying for the pandemic to go away” on Easter Sunday? Or maybe it was because he claimed Armas had “[arrived] back to her neighborhood in Los Angeles after breaking quarantine to run errands with her dog, Elvis,” the day before. Whatever it was, Armas blocked her most devoted fan account, a hilarious anecdote in celebrity stan culture that quickly became a cross-over event. According to A.J., multiple stan accounts reached out to send their condolences. He even made national celebrity press headlines for his follow-up tweet, “BREAKING: Golden Globe nominee and movie star Ana de Armas has recently blocked us!”
It’s been a month now since the Great Ana de Armas Blocking of April 2020. In the time since, Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, former paparazzi fiends, have changed their pap-walk habits entirely. Was it @ArmasUpdates fault? I briefly followed up with A.J. to see how he’s fared since the great big eye of the Hollywood publicist machine turned its gaze on him.
Our interview has been condensed and edited for clarity below.
JEZEBEL: How has your internet life changed since Armas blocked your account? Did you ever expect the response would be what it was?
@ARMASUPDATES: Never. You know, I had this whole dilemma about if I was going to post that she’d blocked me. But I knew it was funny, so I did. After, I noticed a sudden rise in people following and being interested in what I was posting about her. I also saw more of her photos with Ben Affleck being posted on Twitter, too.
I definitely think her blocking her own fan account made her more famous on social media. She’s everywhere, now. Speaking of—out of all the pap walks you’ve seen her take with Ben Affleck, do you have a favorite?
Most definitely, I would say it’s the one where they got locked out of the house, and had to jump the fence. But there’s another I didn’t post, because it was right after she blocked me, and I was getting all this attention. Did you see the photos where they got tangled up while walking the dog?
That was funny. I wish I posted about it at the time, because I feel like I could have come up something. And then, I think the one that makes me laugh the most, of all the time, is the one that I posted on Easter, which I’m sure is the one that she blocked me for. They were outside, walking their dogs, and I said they were doing that instead of praying for the pandemic to go away on Easter Sunday. It was funny because she was like out there with a Gucci jumpsuit. That’s very elaborate designer clothing to be wearing while walking the dog
I come from a background of celebrity reporting, so I have my own opinions about maybe the nature of their relationship. But as someone who is on the outside of that world, and embedded more in stan culture, do you think they’re really in love? Or do you feel like part of the humor you find in them is how staged the relationship feels?
It’s just something I go back and forth on because there are things that are very performative about them. Because I ran a stan account for her, I would Google and Twitter-search her name a lot, and I knew they were hanging out off-set while they filmed that movie together, before paparazzi photos of them together started popping up. But from an outsiders perspective, just looking at those photos, it does look very staged, because they’re clearly putting on a show that they’re in love. Even in videos, when they’re just walking, it’s very “lovey-dovey.”
Part of running a stan account is projecting a personality onto the celebrities you tweet about. What kind of personality have you inferred onto Ana de Armas through @ArmasUpdates?
It’s definitely a persona I’ve put on her. I think it’s a self-aware one because we’re all in dark times right now, and I feel like this account is something funny to put out there. Actually, that’s something I should think about more. This persona I’ve created, and how I present myself on the account. But at the end of the day, it’s just light-hearted sarcasm. I mean no offense towards her at all. It’s just something snarky and fun because these are pictures that are out there and can be interpreted in different ways.
Do you think that because she and Affleck are pumping these pap-walks out, there’s a level to it where fans and commentators should be allowed to riff on them and make jokes? It feels like, now more than ever, stan accounts like yours are leveling the playing field between celebrities and the people who consume their work.
The gap is definitely closing between the fan club and the person that they’re idolizing. But also, I know in my heart and mind that I’m not really being mean. I’m not mean spirited about it, and like you said, she’s putting it out there. She’s going on pap-walks in designer clothes every time she leaves the house. She and Affleck are trying to be seen. I’m just promoting that, in my own way.
Did you hear from her ever at all in any way after the block?
Okay, so the only person that has a connection to her in some way, that I heard from, is another fan account that she follows. They messaged me after I tweeted about a donut run the two went on, where I said she was showing him how to block fans on social media.
Anyway, she follows this account, and they were like: “How dare you? You’re ruining her image, like you should be sued for defamation, and I’ll make sure she knows what you’re doing.” I told her it was a joke, and that Twitter is not that serious. But no, as for Ana, I’ve not heard from her directly.
It’s funny because her publicists won’t even respond to my request for comment about you.
Oh my god, really? That’s funny.
Yeah! It usually isn’t that hard to get a comment on things like this, especially when they’re not that serious.
Honestly, I don’t even think it’s Ana on her Twitter at all. I see her posting things on Instagram, which she just reposting on Twitter. I think it’s her team, and when they saw my tweet go viral, maybe they just took it the wrong way. [Laughs] Thank you for advocating though!
Oh, would it surprise you to know that she’s appeared less with Affleck in public since she blocked you on Twitter? She’s also taken more solo walks, and he stopped walking around with multiple Dunkin Donuts orders. Maybe that’s your impact?
That’s funny, I’ve definitely noticed the number of solo walks she’s taken has increased.
Yeah, after you posted about the block, she was absent for three whole days and re-emerged solo.
A lot of people messaged me saying the same thing. I also noticed she started wearing a mask a lot more after she blocked me, since I would point it out before. People would DM me like, “Your impact!”
I’ve long had a suspicion that Ben Affleck reads Jezebel. I can’t explain it, just a hunch I have. Let’s pretend Ana reads it too. Is there anything you’d want to say to her?
I just want to say that I’m a huge fan of hers, and I meant no offense to her. And, yeah, like, I hope that we can make amends, in some way!
Honestly? If she was smart, she’d fire her publicist and hire you instead. Look how much press you’ve gotten her!
Hopefully! I do think that most of the work I’m doing on @ArmasUpdates is genuine admiration. Just get a new perspective!