As Lady Gaga tweets about sending pizza to her waiting fans, and Nicole Scherzinger uploads yet another picture of Krispe Kremes and cheese balls to Twitter, I find myself asking the question that no celebrity seems able to comprehend; you do know that you’re a role model, right?
Since the dawn of social media, celebrities have been able to share as much as they want with fans, from snaps of themselves sitting naked on the toilet to news of not-so-secret gigs and what they ate for lunch.
The thing is, while their casual shots of Big Macs and milkshakes might look carefree, there is actually a very structured and considered approach behind the seemingly inconsequential details they choose to share. After all, social media is as much about what you choose to hold back as it is about ‘sharing’.
Female celebrities in particular are often lambasted for their weight by the media, and one could argue that an easy way to show how ‘normal’ your diet is, is to share pictures of your food habits with fans. Whether or not these habits are actually real is the problem, and it has the potential to send out the wrong message.
Take Demi Moore. The star has becoming increasingly thin in recent years, and in 2010 she posted a photo of a half eaten burrito, a response to a Twitter challenge from her make-up artist that no one could eat a whole burrito in one sitting, with the words ‘Oh yes I can and then some!’
Fair enough, you can’t knock a girl who loves a little Mexican every now and then, but with reports that the star was dangerously thin due to going through a rocky marriage to Ashton Kutcher, the burrito challenge just looked like a thinly veiled attempt to disguise her worrying eating habits.
Now that we have more access to celebrities than ever before, whenever they eat, say or do something, they’re advocating a lifestyle choice, whether they like it or not. From being caught taking drugs to sipping from a Starbucks cup, each choice that is caught on camera sends a message to impressionable fans. Social media allows celebrities to set the record straight and give their own point of view, and that often includes images food and bikini-clad bodies.
Lady Gaga came under fire last year when she tweeted about how she’d rather be eating a cheeseburger than the salad in front of her, using the hashtag #PopSingersDontEat, causing a flurry of angry comments from fans and the media. While she has refrained from posting similar comments, the star, who is regularly critiqued for her changing body shape, has taken to sending McDonalds meals and boxes of pizza to the fans who camp outside her hotels.
And it’s not just Demi and Gaga who like to tweet about their food. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is also a fan of sharing her unhealthy snacks with her followers (as well as snaps of her wearing a bikini, of course). She’s keen to show off her un-photoshopped body but by contrasting this with numerous snaps of cakes and ice cream, her impressionable fans could be forgiven for thinking that one can eat what they like while maintaining an impressive figure, and that simply isn’t true.
Being a celebrity these days requires a whole army of stylists, personal trainers, nutritionists and dermatologists to ensure a red carpet-ready or paparazzi-proof look. But most are quite cagey when it comes to revealing how they maintain their bodies, preferring to express how much they ‘love to eat’ and the only real exercise they do is ‘hiking’, taking their dog for a walk or running round after their children. This, coupled with the images they share on Twitter, can send mixed messages to fans who are eager to emulate their idol’s look.
I understand the attraction of sharing food online – if I’ve made an epic batch of chocolate brownies then yes, sometimes I’m tempted to take a picture and upload it to Facebook or Twitter, but I know that while I may, at best, make a couple of hundred people hungry, I won’t be projecting a contrived image to millions of impressionable followers. If celebrities want to continue posting their eating habits online then I’d prefer it if they stuck to the truth, though a handful of peeled grapes and a Diet Coke wouldn’t look half as tempting, would it?
Here are a few more Twitter snaps of celebs and their junk food: