Welcome to another installment of Shrimp & Grids, the column where we dissect the meals of Instagram’s most followed. Why would we subject ourselves to such scrolling? Because whether we like it or not, the influencer economy is shaping what we buy, wear and yes, eat. Let’s dig in!
Demi Rose is a British model who lives full-time in Ibiza, which is pretty much all you need to know. The 25-year-old is one of the UK’s biggest influencers and the subject of many a breast-related pun in the Sun. Rose blew up on Instagram in the mid-2010s, posting many a bikini pic, and now boasts nearly 17 million followers. She is, in many ways, a British Kardashian-Jenner—one of those famous for being famous people (and she also dated Kylie’s ex, Tyga). Anyway, back to Ibiza, the Spanish isle where Brits flock to irrevocably damage both their skin and livers.
This Demi Rose photo is of my favorite breed of influencer photos: completely nonsensical. It’s easy to look past the absurdity of the whole thing, given Demi’s perfect, glowing face and basically exposed nipples, but this whole situation is thoroughly unenticing. Here is Demi Rose, doing an impression of drinking wine. Her lips do not make contact with the glass, let alone with any actual wine. The restaurant—or banquet hall?—in which she fake-drinks is wholly empty, save for some dudes lurking in the background. What kind of dining experience are we to believe Demi is having? Is this a restaurant, a bar, a party? Is Demi really famous enough that she can only dine in empty restaurants? Who took these photos, and why did they not offer more guidance on consuming wine like a normal person? Questions, questions.
Are we influenced? It is with a heavy heart that I report I am not, in fact, influenced.
Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, a very large man eats dozens of pieces of sushi. This is Lazar Angelov, who I’ve written about before—he’s a fitstagram dude who, like many fitstagrammers, uses his enormous biceps to sell his own brand of protein powder. Most of his feed is composed of abs and tubs of whey protein. Fine. But this particular photo stopped me in my scrolling tracks. I gasped. Folks, please take a moment to look at all that sushi. AGAIN, PLEASE, I BEG YOU: LOOK AT ALL THAT SUSHI.
Lazar is thrilled, according to the caption, that his favorite sushi place now delivers from what appears to be an outdoor food hall in Sofia. And look, I get it. I recently went to a fancy sushi dinner where I shelled out nearly $100 and wasn’t full at the end. I stopped in a 7-Eleven for a pint of Half-Baked afterward. Ben & Jerry’s does not distribute in Bulgaria; l feel for this beefy man. But are we to believe that Mr. Angelov ate 70 pieces of raw fish all on his own? Or did he simply go overboard, caught up in the excitement of the news that his favorite spot now delivers? Or, or was this a free delivery, and the Bulgarian sushi restaurant thought, “This man is enormous, he can probably house six dozen pieces of raw fish”? I reject the notion that he is sharing this former school of fish with anybody; please, let me exist peacefully in my own fantasies, where every last piece of sushi is consumed in one sitting by one human.
Are we influenced? If any sushi restaurants in Los Angeles would like to gift me seventy-five pieces of sushi, I’d be happy to give this large Bulgarian man a run for his money.
[heavy sigh] It’s time to talk about Foodgod. I’ve been avoiding this. First, because I’m not terribly interested in explicitly food-centric instagram accounts; I’m more curious about the way food fits into the lives of models, travelers, weight lifters, etc. But it’s hard to write about unhinged eating habits on Instagram without mentioning the Instagram personality formerly known as Jonathan Cheban, and now known—legally, even—as Foodgod.
Cheban rose to “prominence” as a Kardashian sidekick, appearing here and there as “Kim’s Bestie,” which is to be taken with a grain of salt. For the past several years, his thing has been posting extravagant and often disgusting-looking food items on Instagram under the handle Foodgod. In 2019, he adopted his Instagram name as his legal name.
Foodgod posts about what can only be described as stunt meals. Take the above post, for example. In it, Foodgod assembles a gigantic ice cream cone with a scoop the size of a basketball, then attempts to eat it with a shovel. In another post, Foodgod enters the sacred grounds of Manny’s Delicatessen in Chicago. In yet another, Foodgod tackles a plate of pepperoni pizza nachos. Most if not all of his posts appear to be branded content: he tries out beef-flavored Ruffles, Peeps-flavored Pepsi, foot-long mozzarella sticks, though he rarely takes more than a bite on film. He’s paid to promote the kind of food that exists only to be Instagrammed, gawked at, laughed about. Social media has altered our food in myriad ways; Foodgod perfectly embodies the “do it for the ’gram” diet.
Are we influenced? Influenced to believe that social media has rotted our brains from the inside out and that this man will be a case study in the downfall of human civilization? Absolutely!