Much was made of which influencers would and would not be attending this year’s Met Gala — and also whether or not their presence would in some way diminish the Gala’s impenetrable veneer. It wasn’t, however, the first time influencers attended. Lilly Singh and James Charles attended as guests of YouTube in 2019. Chiara Ferragni attended back in 2015. And, of course, Kim Kardashian made her “controversial” debut back in 2013 and has since become a mainstay.
Somehow, tons of people assumed a viral seating chart, “leaked” in August was real, and controversy stirred. And in the end, the red carpet did skew younger and more diverse than in years past. But it was to be expected, considering those to chair the Gala were some of Gen Z’s biggest stars: Timothee Chalamet, Amanda Gorman, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka. Below, the outfits, the hair and the makeup that made the night — and the memes that set social media aflame about it all.
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@sainthoax, the anonymous, oft-viral memer served as the evening’s official “Meme Correspondent.” Other top memers and creators of note headed to Instagram’s viewing party at the penthouse of The Mark for a war room, of sorts — or, as they dubbed it, “the Oval Office of memes.” They included half of the duo behind the cult-favorite account @mytherapistsays, (6.6 million followers).
We spoke to the women behind the account, Lola Tash and Nicole Argiris, about meme-ing the Met in real-time.
How did you come to work with Instagram on an official basis last night?
Lola: “Instagram reached out to us as part of a plan that they were doing to [get] humor accounts and content creators more immersed and active within the Met Gala. It’s something we would have done, regardless — but it was just so fun to be part of this community with so many other creatives, creating viral content.”
Nicole: “It’s something that I would have normally been doing on my couch and in the group chat with Lola and her two sisters, but it was fun to just be around all the other meme creators. The energy in the room was really fun. You’re building off of other people’s commentary, you’re sharing your different opinions. It’s really, really interesting.”
How do you prepare for a night of live-meming?
Nicole: “You just have to be really well-versed in pop culture, know exactly what’s going on in celebrity culture right now and be able to use that on the spot when you see their outfits. And you know — have a fully charged phone.”
What’s your favorite meme you guys posted last night?
Lola: “The ‘hiding from your plans,’ Kim Kardashian covered in the black outfit was so funny, I thought.”
Nicole: “I also love the ‘cool breeze’ one with Lil Nas X. I loved all of his outfits. It was so good.
Was there a particular post that got a response that surprised you? Nicole: “The one that we posted about the horse girl in elementary school neigh-ing. I thought that was super nice and that nobody would really get it. I thought it was funny, so I put it out there. And then it actually got a great response on our stories.”
You mentioned staying on top of pop culture — so what are your tips for creating the best memes possible? Lola: “[It’s about] staying really current on new meme styles, every day. It’s constantly changing. Even the jargon and the slang change weekly.”
Nicole: “Just being on your phone 24/7.”
So your advice to future meme-ers is to never put down your phone? Lola: “Not even at a family dinner, birthdays, a first date—especially on the first date while he’s talking. Be on your phone.”
Nicole: “You don’t want to miss a pop culture moment!”
On the phone with Nikkie de Jager (aka Nikkie Tutorials) who did her own makeup for her first Met Gala
We spoke to the YouTube star and founder of Nimya beauty (which launches later this month) about doing her own makeup for the Met and using entirely affordable products to do so.
You did your own makeup! Tell us about that! “I’m really picky when it comes to my face… There’s a certain way I like to do my features. And, [with] such a huge platform to showcase your talent, I was like, ‘This is the day where I get to shine and show what I got.’ During Eurovision, which I hosted, I did my own makeup — I pretty much always do my own makeup. And I’m really happy that people loved it.”
It looked amazing. You also used your platform to make a statement about LGBTQ rights. Why? “The Met is such a huge platform, so when I got invited by Derek [Blasberg] and YouTube, I knew I wanted to do something for my community. And since the theme was American independence, I really quickly started thinking of the Stonewall riots, and at the forefront was Marsha P. Johnson. She did so much for the trans community, and she really fought for us. This was my way to pay tribute to her. She was known for flowers — her flower crowns, her dresses. And she was even known for giving away flowers to random strangers. So we knew my dress had to have flowers. And then, of course, she always said, ‘Pay it no mind.’ So that phrase was on the leg [of my dress].”
What was the reaction like from your community? “They loved it — thank god! It was a bit scary, wondering if people would get it and understand it quickly enough. But people came up to me even at the Gala itself, like, ‘OK, Marsha!’ So I was like, ‘Mission accomplished.'”
For your makeup, did you know exactly what you were going to do in advance? How did you decide to work with Maybelline? “Usually, I kind of wing it and do whatever feels right. But for this one, I definitely did a trial to see where I wanted to go with the look. I felt like the dress was a statement already, but [also] very romantic and soft. So I wanted something sharp to be happening with the makeup.”
I’ve always been such great friends with the Maybelline family, and they have always supported me. ]The Gala] was a special moment, and if anyone deserves to accompany me during this crazy ride, it has to be Maybelline. They have some amazing, amazing products — and I wanted to show that you can look bomb at a budget!”
You also used products from your upcoming brand, Nimya. What was that like? “Oh my gosh, it’s the weirdest thing, I’ve been working on these products for close to three years now. My baby, my moisturizer-primer hybrid, the Where It All Starts cream, I’ve been using that in secret for so long, it’s what I used to prime and get my skin ready — and now I had it laying there on the table. At first I was like, ‘Oh, I got to move it so no one sees,’ but the word is out now! I call them my babies, and it’s great to bring them to the city with me.
The influencers who attended the Met Gala — and what they wore
Addison Rae Easterling
The 20-year-old TikTok queen-turned-Netflix star teased her Met Gala look on Instagram Stories hours before the red carpet started. Her posts were a series of red, pin-up-style dresses worn by icons ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Britney Spears. Easterling was styled by Law Roach, and wore a vintage Gucci by Tom Ford gown. Makeup artist Mary Phillips used Pat McGrath Labs on the mega-influencer.
YouTube star Emma Chamberlain, wore a sparkling mini Louis Vuitton dress. That she went with a Nicolas Ghesquière creation wasn’t particularly surprising. Chamberlain has modeled and taken part in social media partnerships with the brand. Her eye makeup was particularly striking. Kelsey Deenihan used Byredo makeup, giving Chamberlain’s eyes a bright, neon-green pop. Though her social media posts suggested otherwise, she did not look particularly excited on the red carpet. Then again, to her fans, Chamberlain’s nonchalance is part of her charm.
Nikkie de Jager
PAY IT NO MIND 🏳️⚧️ when I got asked to join the Met Gala(!!!!!) I knew I wanted to pay homage to a trans icon who was at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots… Marsha P. Johnson paved the way for so many of us, and I hope I made my community proud 😮💨💕 #MetGala pic.twitter.com/k8bC6Cpfgd— NikkieTutorials (@NikkieTutorials) September 14, 2021
Nikkie de Jager, better known by her YouTube moniker, Nikkie Tutorials, is only 27 years old. But in the world of social media influencing, she’s an OG. She started creating videos in 2008 at age 14. For the Gala, she was the guest of YouTube and Derek Blasberg, head of fashion and beauty at YouTube, and wore a gown that paid homage to Marsha P. Johnson, a fellow trans icon. She created her own makeup look using Maybelline. David Lopez was behind her blonde waves, which were topped by that epic take on the flower crown.
One-half of TikTok’s most famous sister duo attended the Gala. (Charli, at 17, is still too young to attend.) The older D’Amelio sister (55 million followers on TikTok) wore Valentino and had her makeup done by Patrick Ta, while Laura Polko styled her hair.
The YouTube star announced her own theme of the night via an Instagram post: “Black Barbie.” She dressed accordingly, wearing a Fe Noel gown paired with a crystal-bedecked Judith Leiber flamingo clutch.
Youth trend of the night
Ben Platt (27, technically a millennial), Met Gala co-host Amanda Gorman (23) and Vice President Kamala Harris’s cool stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, all showed up wearing “Euphoria”-esque gems on their faces.
Another Gen-Z queen, Billie Eilish, wore Oscar de la Renta to the Met, but she set her own terms. The brand first had to agree that it would stop using fur, forever. They obliged.