And flawlessly encapsulates the meaning of life in the age of social media…
It’s a good day to be a millennial. Today, i-D released its latest issue covered by everyone’s favorite, Timothée Chalamet. The fashion is good, the Call Me By Your Name actor gives gen-Z blue steel in moody looks from Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton and pulls off a George Michael-esque piercing like he was born for it. But it’s really the interview, between Chalamet and none other than Harry Styles, that takes the cake.
Two of the most followed, most talked about, and most lusted after, by boys and girls alike, celebrities of our generation hopped on the phone together and hashed out life. Yes, the interview was replete with things only a superfamous person could say, but at the root of this conversation are two seemingly normal – can we even call it that – guys just figuring out life.
At one point, Harry asks, “Sometimes on TV shows you can seem really nervous, but on screen you’re an extremely confident actor. Do you find it easier to play someone else rather than being yourself?”
Mind. Blown. This question could be easily glossed over, especially with Chalamet’s ever so eloquent answer, but it got me thinking: at 26-years old, living in New York, buried deep into a rapidly-evolving digital culture, isn’t this the question everyone should be asking of themselves???
‘Presence’ today isn’t just defined by physicality; it’s online, offline, cross-platform, cross-country, and beyond. And primarily, this digital world is driven by social media. While Instagram has made itself a conduit for unfiltered self-expression, by the same token it gives people the ability to create and curate an entirely separate persona. I’m not just talking filters and FaceTune, social media is a powerful tool enabling choice to the user to redefine themselves with words, images, moments, and memories. For many, it’s the single degree of separation between their innermost private being and the identity they share on the streets. It’s a way to manipulate public perception, and that is potent.
For some, the ability to slip seamlessly into another identity with a simple tap and swipe is freeing. It allows us to momentarily shut out external factors and highlight a single facet of our daily lives. In a way, social media empowers us to control the nuances of humanity which can feel so overwhelming when compiled, but in distillation – whether the focus is a single emotion, moment or even a new pair of shoes – become prominent parts of weaving together a narrative of our own choosing.
I often feel that the lines between personal and public self have become too blurred, and I don’t know whether this scares or excites me. Is it the consequence of increased transparency on social media, or has the ability to filter out blemishes and ex-boyfriends on-screen become all too accessible offline? I plead cognitive dissonance. The only times I’ve really delved into the gravity of social media, I’ve also been really stoned and delving into a bag of Trader Joe’s Cheese Puffs.
Sound off: What do you think? In an age of accessible curation, do you find it easier to play someone else rather than being yourself?