Meet Celeste Barber: the anti-it girl

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Jameela is a massive fan of Celeste Barber, officially the Funniest Woman on Instagram, who is challenging our assumptions about the perfect body – one parody at a time. 

In side-by-side images, Victoria’s Secret model Elsa Hosk elegantly reclines across a grand staircase, while Celeste Barber lies, legs stuck awkwardly through the bannister, in her hallway. Model Lara Stone serves wine, topless and seductive for a magazine shoot, while, in a copycat shot, a tired-looking Barber holds a tray of orange juice.

These are just a couple of the outrageous, recreated images that have grown Barber’s Instagram following to almost six million. An Australian stand-up comedian and star of TV series The Letdown, her posts are hilarious, yes – but they also expertly skew the accepted portrayal of ‘desirable’ women.

With a Tom Ford collaboration under her belt and Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon among her fans, Barber talks to Stylist about the joy of keeping it real. 

Why did you start sharing your parody photos?

Cutting through bullshit is part of my humour. My intention first and foremost was to make people laugh. I never started it to be part of any body positive movement, but I’m pretty happy to be caught up in that. 

Now you’ve become an influencer in your own right, is it hard to make fun of that world?

No, it’s easy. I’m still me. Also, the people that I parody are really good sports and it has been fun to get to know them. Some celebrities even send me pictures and say, “Can you do this?” which is cool. 

How do you want to change the way we view women’s bodies?

It’s still taboo, the way I look while taking the photos that models take. It’s not the norm. Instead of looking at models who all look the same way and accepting that it’s how women should look, we need to talk about it. Jameela is really good at taking stuff like that down. 

Your book Challenge Accepted! is all about defying the norm and being an “anti-It girl”. What’s the best way to stop caring about perfection?

Unfollow people on Instagram who don’t make you feel good. Otherwise you’re sat there at two in the morning scrolling through all these photos and it gets into your psyche without you knowing it. And keep doing what you’re doing, because no one else really gives a shit. Everyone’s on their phones, not watching you. I’m currently weeding while talking to you – do what you need to do!

Follow Celeste on Instagram @celestebarber   

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Photography: Getty

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