Why is Everyone Obsessed With Selena Gomez’s Instagram?

Photo by BG016/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images.

Selena Gomez has 123 million followers on Instagram, which is more than the population of Italy and France combined. She’s the most followed person by 13 million. Ariana Grande would have to win over everyone in Belgium to surpass her.

I have but one question: WHY? Why, why, why, why, why?

Ariana Grande has 109 million, Beyoncé has 103 million, Taylor Swift has 102 million, Kim Kardashian 101, Kylie Jenner a paltry 95 (poor thing). They’ve been in Selena’s rearview since 2015. She’s currently only second to the actual Instagram account. Selena seems sweeter than cookie dough, but her IG is basic as fuck. It resembles that of every other celebrity, but with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Plus, she goes through major no-post dry spells.


Airport tunes/Airport pillow talk.

A post shared by @abbijacobson on

The other day, I came across this video of Broad City’s Ilana Glazer asking Abbi Jacobson whether she ever looks at Selena Gomez on Instagram. The post has over 50,000 likes; Abbi’s posts normally hover around 10k. Just below it was a post by Selena herself (yeah, I follow, so what) — some random selfie. “Amy Schumer and a billion other people like this,” it read (ish). Amy Schumer? Damn, everyone’s liking her shit.


A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Something’s amiss.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said the universe is under no obligation to make sense to me, but au contraire, Instagram is. And in my estimation, we’re about a year past the urgent necessitation of an investigation as to how Selena nabbed this superior position. As I have yet to see one properly executed, it will have to be homespun by yours truly. Below, some theories, and hopefully, an answer.

Theory #1: She’s the most popular celebrity IRL

This would just be logic, but it simply can’t be true, even if we nix male celebrities (because who cares) and those without sizeable Instagram presences. There are entire populations of people who will ruin your life if you so much as ask why they care about Beyoncé. Rihanna practically created a lifestyle movement by existing. Think pieces about Taylor Swift are published every day. Kim K, Kylie and Kendall walk outdoors and make headlines.

Selena Gomez is huge, no doubt — some call her the modern American sweetheart! — but her music isn’t ICONIC. Not yet. She’s only covered American Vogue once. Isn’t she the kind of celebrity who out-of-touch people might not know? Or am I just out of touch?

Conclusion: EH

Theory #2: Her content is hot hot hot

Okay, so maybe someone like Beyoncé is bigger than Selena in terms of money, cult following and body of work, but if Selena’s content is top-notch, that might explain why she kills it on IG, right? A quick scroll through her account, however, will reveal no such revelation. It’s not bad — she’s adorable and I’d spoon her — but it’s basically just a) basic selfies, b) promos for upcoming music or brands she’s working with and c) pulls from recent photoshoots. Nothing funny, nothing weird, nothing different.

Conclusion: NOT RLY

Theory #3: She bought followers

I have no idea why the hell Selena would do this, but I suppose I must consider it. For this I’m going to rely on like-to-follower ratio. If very low, it might indicate a purchase. According to my calculations, it’s around 1:40.* Beyonce’s is 1:50. Rihanna’s 1:90. Taylor’s 1:100. If anything, more of her followers are liking her posts, proportionally, compared to others. Impressive!

*not scientific in the least

Conclusion: PROB NOT

Morning walks

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Theory #4: Her posts are juicy af

I can see her racking up follows if she were super confessional or acted strange or revealed a lot. You know — the kind of behavior that lends well to gossip and makes people not being able to look away. But this could not be further from the case. Seriously, look for yourself.

Conclusion: NEXT

KL, from the car

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Theory #5: She’s in the A-list crosshairs

Selena’s dramatic on-and-off relationship with Justin Bieber was such hot gossip I wouldn’t be surprised if a ton of Beliebers followed her to keep tabs. Bieber has 88.2 million followers. This seems plausible. She’s also a BFF of T Swift and is dating The Weeknd (13.5 million followers), ex-BF of Bella Hadid (also 13.5 million followers), which might lend to further tab-keeping. This isn’t a dead lock, but she does sit at the intersection of some good scoops.

Conclusion: PERHAPS

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Theory #6: She’s in the illuminati

I doubt it but you never know OR DO YOU?

Conclusion: POSSIBLE


A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

In conclusion, the source of Selena Gomez’s Instagram following has yet to be definitively pinned down. Do you follow her? WHAT ARE YOUR THEORIES?

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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