26-year-old Central Saint Martins grad Anna Potter is the force behind Topgirl Studio, a text-based illustration project that recently began running a social media-savvy series aptly dubbed iGirl. Shedding a light on all the insecurities and anxieties that come from being a young person in the validation-obsessed Internet age, the account is already ironically Insta-famous (and for good reason), with over 40K followers and a physical publication that's available now. And in honor of the release of her book, Potter gave us a PAPER-centric spread, plus an exclusive sneak peek of what to expect from the IRL burn book. Check out both, alongside a Q&A, below to learn more about the project and, maybe, a little more about yourself.
Where'd the idea for iGirl come from exactly? What was the thought process behind its creation?
iGIRL came from that '"feelings'" cap. Everywhere I went on Instagram or even Tumblr this '"feelings'" cap came up, it was cool, but it was trending so much, I was blown away. So I thought yeah feelings is a pretty big topic to cover just on a cap, maybe I could do something with feelings. Then fast forward a couple of days and I was just scrolling through my Instagram, reading comments and I thought there was something here. They're hilarious! the words users use, how we tag our friends etc everything had this tone to it. I mean I'm 26 and I still find myself checking everything via Urban Dictionary. 'She's so goals' 'You slay babe' the lingo, it's amazing. So then I just connected the two. Why don't I write down a bunch of feelings myself and others have when it comes to Instagram. Then i recalled the iconic film Mean Girls and 'The Burn Book of Instagram' happened.
How did you come up with the quips for each page?
I took inspiration from Beyonce, I created an alter ego for iGIRL. She's basically Regina George from Mean Girls. Whenever I wanted to create a new page for the book I just researched topics that were trending or celebrities that were getting huge press, then linked the subject to an Instagram cliche. Once I had a basic theme down , I just had to write in the style of Regina George.
Why choose a physical book format rather than just creating a webpage or a "funny" Twitter? Is there something to be said about this all relating to the dichotomy of online and IRL?
There would be such irony if I created iGIRL as just something online, as it's just me laughing at how reliant we have become on social media. I wanted to create something in print format, where I can say look, we're all nuts online, let's log out for 2 minutes, read this and have a laugh at ourselves. Social media won't leave you, but we can leave the house without it. The world won't end babe. It's okay to touch base with reality now and again. Print isn't dead either.
In your opinion what's the worst social media sin you could commit?
Posting an ugly selfie. If it's not giving you "it's an 8" vibe, just don't do it. It'll ruin your weekend. You're cuter than that and worth more likes.
Of all the unsaid social media codes you address in iGirl, what's probably the weirdest one?
I would say "my Instagram is looking like a Britney 2007". I don't know which it is more, weird or pathetic. Aesthetics have become big in 2016 and not just when it comes to Instagram. Tumblr, your Twitter page, your feed on Instagram, if it's not sending you "dream goals" or "perf vibes", you're in a bad mood for the next 6 hours with this uncontrollable urge to delete everything on your account. When did we become such weirdos? I'm all for looking good, but now my Instagram has to be bangin' too?!
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
To all the iGIRL's out there: You slay all day, don't worry about your Instagram, it's cute, chill. Let's have a tequila, and break the internet. Oh and buy my book, please. Thank you!