It’s quiet… eerily quiet, as a sense of undisturbed peace settles over New York City: Caroline Calloway has finally shut up.
Having left the city she tried to cover in literal Snake Oil and gone (mostly) quiet on social media, it’s about high time we say goodbye to Caroline for good and ask that she never dominate the discourse again.
I beg of you, dear readers, let Caroline have the Carrie Bradshaw moment she always dreamt of: the one where she looks around the empty apartment, sighs, grins as she remembers all the times she hopped on Instagram Live and admitted to being a racist or professed she wasn’t sure if her family had slaves, and closes her door never EVER to return. Ding-dong, darling.
If you do not know who Caroline Calloway is, congratulations. If you insist on continuing down this scummy manhole with me, here is the abridged version of an exhaustive novel with an unreliable narrator. Calloway, an NYU dropout and aspiring literary savant, is a seemingly wealthy young woman who arguably helped create the modern blueprint for social media influencing. During her time studying at Cambridge University, she amassed several hundred thousand followers on Instagram—some of which she openly admitted to purchasing—and created a brand for herself by posting aggressively long and descriptive captions about her life, many of which turned out to be *spoiler alert* untrue.
That brand is mostly insufferable and, of course, irritatingly online. She once told comedian Ziwe on an Instagram live that she knows she’s a “really polarizing, “incendiary internet figure” and that it’s “a superpower of mine while also being a complete fucking weakness.” She’s taken part in TikToks where she jokingly labeled herself “classist from her studio apartment.” She casually suggested she would dress up as “literary hero” Anne Frank on her OnlyFans, then also posted an anti-semitic “hook nose” image of an individual carrying money bags on Twitter. She later claimed she had no idea it was harmful to Jewish people and that she had simply found it by searching the hashtag “#thingsrichpeoplebuy.”
Calloway’s “successes,” including a $100,000 book advance which she quickly spent into the ground, surely raised her up to her Icarus moment: In the fall of 2019, The Cut published an exposé by Calloway’s ghost writer Natalie Beach, alleging that Calloway did not write the word-vomit captions she was renowned for. Beach claims she wrote and edited the captions that ultimately made Calloway famous, and that she co-wrote the proposal for Calloway’s first memoir (which never came to fruition).
“I have a lot of trauma to unpack from being cancelled,” Calloway told Ziwe in 2020, which she then compared to the death penalty. Poor, poor Caroline.
The 21st century e-girl version of PT Barnum has cleared out her Instagram, thank fucking god. After years of posting from her West Village apartment—a place that, to her followers, was essentially its own character within the story of her life—she recently said in a series of confessional-style TikTok videos that she would be moving to Florida. Despite still owing $40,000 to her New York landlord because she skipped out on paying her rent for months, Calloway claims she wants to be in Florida so she can finally write that memoir, work on her “beautiful, effervescent, radiant prose that will explode over you,” and take care of her grandmother; she also emphasized that she’s exhausted from hosting “nine back-to-back parties” (cool???) in her former apartment, which any casual follower of hers knows was half-painted, covered in dirt and dried-up flowers, and featured a hazardous microwave.
“But I’m 30 now, and I’ve realized that my purpose in this world is writing a book. I don’t have many books in me. I’m very much a Harper Lee,” she explained in the now-deleted TikToks. “I’ve always known since I was little that I’d be a famous memoirist and that I’d have one important book. And I need to make that for the world, because I think it will help people who struggle with suicide, honestly.”
Even in the aftermath of what appeared to be Calloway’s summer 2021 renaissance and image reclamation, you’d have to ignore a heaping pile of deplorable behavior and utterances to think that all has been forgiven (though I’m aware that Calloway was suffering through addiction and grief on a public platform in the wake of her father’s death). Personally, I know that I spent an inordinate amount of time with my jaw unhinged, scraping the floor at the fact that people were actually ogling the amateur painter on her OnlyFans, adorned in nightie slips promising to dress up as 13-year-old Hermione Granger in knee-high socks. I know that she spoke of Hemingway and Wes Anderson ad nauseam, gave poetry readings we did not ask for, and held dinner parties on the floor in an effort to create modern, post-feminism salons of the Nolita Dirtbag sort—all centered around none other than herself. And I know that she displayed pills in candy dishes on her armoire like tennis bracelets and said unnerving shit like, “The girls who Caroline Calloway will get what I’m about to say, and the girls who don’t Calloway, Callo-won’t.”
In her “destroy my beautiful wooden West Village floors by haphazardly painting them white and simply not finishing the task” era, I even engaged in a silly little social experiment and ordered one of the “ancient” books she was selling from her overflowing collection of literature I highly doubt she ever read. I sent her $25 via PayPal. The book, which was set to be inscribed by Calloway, never arrived. Two months after I sent her money, I asked for a tracking link. She saw my response and did not respond.
After Cambridge and the captions and a notorious internet presence that still plagues the darkest corner of my mind, after all of it, the remaining graveyard of Caroline’s latest chapter feels not unlike the scene in Perks of Being a Wallflower where the characters drive through a tunnel, screaming and wishing to be eternal. This is precisely what she wants. To be memorialized. To be mourned. But for the love of god, do not give her that satisfaction!!! If we’ve learned anything about Caroline Calloway, however unfortunate, we can predict that this is just the latest wave to crash in the undying ocean of her as a spectacle, and it’s only a matter of time before she crests back into the public eye and we all begin our collective vomiting once more.