Why Christine Sydelko is My Favorite Social Media Star of 2016

For millenials, the term “role model” is very loose. Part of this is because we’ve been raised to think of certain people as role models, but as we mature, we learn that everyone has vices; some people are just better at hiding them. Johnny Depp used to be considered a role model, and now we know that he is a domestic abuser. Lena Dunham was considered a great feminist role model for young girls until she wrote in her own book saying that she had sexually abused her younger sister. So now we know that we have to be on the lookout for wolves in sheepsclothing and define a line between who is truly a “good role model,” and who we just appreciate or connect with.

I’ve been telling most of my friends throughout the year that Christine Sydelko is my role model. This was mostly done ironically, but I still had a strange sense of appreciation for her. I knew from the start that she was nowhere near the type of person we tell elementary school kids to idolize. In fact, the very first time I saw Christine was early 2015 in her claim to fame, a Vine of her at a party saying, “Welcome to Bible study, we’re all children of Jesus!” followed by the camera flashing to a girl snorting a line of cocaine as Christine ironically sings, “Kumbayaaaaaaa, my Loooooord.”

That surely isn’t “role model behavior”.

And, truthfully, it doesn’t get any better from there. The next Vine I saw her in, she stole a framed picture of a Fillet O’ Fish out of a McDonald’s bathroom. Then, she drunk cried at her goth-themed birthday party. After that, she was known for making multiple vines featuring a dildo. Sadly, the notorious dildo is with us no more.

That was back when Christine was still known as potatowithane. However, a Vine she made at the very end of 2015 blew up and launched her into Internet fame. Today, Christine has roughly 513.8K Vine followers (and over 558 million loops), 247K Twitter followers, and her collaborative YouTube account with Elijah Daniel has over 227K subscribers. She even has a signature outfit: a “Don’t Mess With Texas” shirt, a 90s-esque jacket, a pink headband, and green Crocs — so signature that she even has a Croc tattoo. As of late, most of her material is with Elijah Daniel who accidentally became a best selling author for penning 20 pages worth of Donald Trump erotica and has his own collection of weird happenings. Truly a match made in heaven.

So how can a 22-year-old fat girl whose typical day goes as such…

…even be considered a role model? Well, she’s not. Plain and simple, this is not the kind of person you want your child to grow up to be, so we can’t really crown Christine as a “role model.” But there’s something so accessible and relatable about her comedy that I almost feel connected to her. Here we have a girl who is being unapologetically herself. She’s involved in crazy antics that pretty much everyone does in their youth, but she’s not trying to hide it or be ashamed of it. There’s something very reassuring about seeing a girl, who looks just like me, who looks like the real people I grew up with, surviving adulthood and coping with the cruelty and harshness of the world, albeit in a wild and often hilarious way. Throughout the craziness and constant disappointments of 2016, Christine’s antics kept getting wilder and wilder; just when you think her life can’t become anymore of a mess, it does. In a way, she’s just expressing how we all feel inside, but we’re never confident enough to say. She let us laugh at her life when we couldn’t deal with ours, and for that, I thank her.

Both Christine and Elijah seem to have lives straight out of a wacky TV show about a fat girl and a gay guy living together with two dogs. It just makes you think: we all can have our lives seem like a TV show if we quit being ashamed of our true selves. No parent wants their child to grow up to be like Christine and Elijah, but these people are who they truly are, and whether you want to believe or not, there are young adults all over the country just like them. Millennials have a lot to cope with, and the best remedy is laughter. And sometimes $400 worth of Taco Bell.

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Alyssa Thomas
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Alyssa is a 16 year old freelance writer from Michigan with a passion for dance, music, and film.

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