Disclaimer: make sure you have a minute, or 60, because you’re about to do some serious browsing…
The average Instagram feed today is inundated with so-called ‘influencers’ claiming to be setting the latest online trends, sporting the freshest garments or thinking up the most exciting new beauty fads. Even in such a bloated market, though, enigmatic risk-taker and emerging social-media-superstar Me Love Me A Lot (stylised as MLMA) stands a fair cut above the rest.
Seoul-born artist, fashion designer, rapper and all-round beauty icon MLMA (real name unknown) uses Instagram as a visual gallery in which she is the art itself. Post-by-post, MLMA has created a digitally-altered identity like no other, using her own body as a canvas to construct fantastical scenarios and serve wildly imaginative looks which are as a beautiful as they are bizarre. In one post simply captioned “kill ur doubt”, she reaches into the bathroom mirror to strangle her own reflection; in another – a deadpan selfie – she holds her own shrunken head by her signature braided hair, this time writing “this is what happens when you mess around”. It’s not surprising that MLMA has already amassed almost 700k Instagram followers.
So without further ado, here are seven reasons why you really should head over to @melovemealot on Insta and hit follow immediately (disclaimer: make sure you have a minute, or 60, because you’re about to do some serious browsing…)
SHE UNINTENTIONALLY STARTED ONE OF 2017'S BIGGEST BEAUTY FADS
Remember that ‘wavy-brow’ trend which took the internet by storm last year? (despite never actually appearing on anyone’s face in public) – MLMA is responsible for it. Single-handedly birthing the latest flash-in-the-gram which had every semi-famous makeup guru frantically googling ‘photoshop basics’ (and every chapstick-and-mascara kinda girl screaming “why!”) is all in a day’s work for MLMA, though. Her super-chill vibe would suggest that she didn’t think twice about becoming an overnight viral influencer – she even told Vogue that she came up with the idea while stoned, admitting “I posted it because I thought it looked hilarious, and then it went viral”. We hope the next thing to catch on is her weird and wonderful temporary face-tats, or maybe these wavy nails (too much to ask?).
SHE HAS HER OWN SET OF DIGITAL CLONES
Need I say more? One of the best things about MLMA uploading a new Instagram post is eagerly awaiting where her own personal army of miniature-MLMA’s might be strategically placed. It’s like “Where’s Wally”, but with less “where the hell is he?” and more “what the hell will he be doing this time?”...also a thousand times edgier. Sometimes, MLMA is microwaving her clones and eating them for dinner, trapping them inside perfume bottles or neatly packing them into suitcases, while other times she's just tirelessly babysitting them like they’re her own version of those ogre triplets from Shrek: The Third. “My clones aren’t working hard enough today”, she even writes in the caption of one of her posts – tbh, her chosen reality where we each have a set of clones managing our everyday lives for us is certainly one I’m willing to buy into.
SHE CHALLENGES STEREOTYPICAL BEAUTY STANDARDS
What’s really cool about MLMA and her snowballing online popularity is that it’s given her a platform to express ‘beauty’ in a tonne of unconventional ways. In the past, she’s pictured herself with abstract artwork scribbled across her face, or covered in bruise-like makeup with smudgy lips, furrowed brows and matching black, red or blue-filled eyes. What’s so captivating about her out-of-the-box appearance is the way her looks always seem to teeter on a razors-edge between what we already know as ‘beauty’ and what can only be described as alien and unknown. A quick flick through her feed is enough to grasp that MLMA doesn’t give a shit about beauty standards, or any standards for that matter – (some of her body-modification edits are enough to make you flinch) – her work as an innovator comes only from her carefree desire to create the art she wants.
SHE’S SUPER FUNNY
When she’s not cooking up an Instagram storm with her latest edit, where she might transform something mundane like taking a bath into something insane (like bathing two purple alien clones of yourself instead) MLMA is actually pretty damn funny. In some of her more stripped-back uploads, we get a glimpse of the girl behind all the outward craziness, and she seems to have a personality to match. Sure, some of her videos might seem like the outcome of a soul-searching afternoon acid trip, but there’s something endearing about that...she’s defs the girl I’d wanna hang out with at parties.
SHE ALSO MAKES MUSIC
MLMA’s artistic outreach is not limited to the strictly-visual – recently she has invited her online following to immerse themselves in her art sonically by reviving her persona as a Soundcloud rapper. Over the past couple of years, MLMA has uploaded 17 hip-hop tinged tracks to her Soundcloud account, the latest of which, called “KILL me or SAVE me” (ft. JustJohnForreal) features MLMA’s haunting vocals layered over a trap beat, as she pines into the void “kill me if you’re gonna leave me, save me...you can only save me”. If anything, this new venture only further cements her as an unstoppable artistic force capable of taking on whatever she pleases with a signature fuck-you flavour: she is undeniably an icon of self-expression.
SHE’S KINDA A STYLE ICON
On top of the rawness and edge MLMA brings to the world of beauty, she has also developed a personal style which marries perfectly with her distinct aesthetic. With a collaborative project with Korean fashion brand SKOOT already under her belt, MLMA’s Insta feed also serves as a kind of lookbook for fashion forwardness. In the past, she has cited Marilyn Manson as one of her many personal style icons, and it’s easy to see why; she radiates the same ballsy energy that made Manson such a visual spectacle during the height of his career. Sometimes she dons oversized hoodies, slogan-tees and leather pants, while other times she unapologetically ditches clothes altogether.
SHE LOVES HERSELF (AND YOU SHOULD TOO)
When it comes down to it, what Me Love Me A Lot is really about (funnily enough) is what her self-given nickname implies: she loves herself, a lot. Her unapologetic nature is so refreshing to see in an online culture which loves to romanticise self-depreciation and engage in acts of tearing one another down for a bit of extra social media clout. Ultimately, I think we could all take a leaf from MLMA’s book of self-confidence, identity and expression (and if that means growing a second head, taking a set of markers to your face or digitally cloning yourself, then so be it).