Selfies are so last year. The new selfie taking over social media feeds is the humblebrag. Virgin Mobile Canada teamed up with Vision Critical to survey Canadians who are familiar with the trend. Virgin Mobile Canada’s study found that while 75 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they rarely brag, nearly half (44 per cent) admit to humblebragging. We chatted with Canadian TV personality and self-proclaimed humblebrag expert Jessi Cruickshank about which celebs are the top humblebrags and how to master the art of bragging!
First off you can tell us what’s a humblebrag and how do you spot one?
Yes, good question. I personally really feel that the humblebrag is the new selfie. It just was added to the Oxford English Dictionary so if that’s not an indication of its mass popularity I don’t know what else is. I like to define a humblebrag as a social media post that lets everybody know how awesome you are, how gorgeous you look or how amazing your life is. But it’s undercut with a little dose of faux humility.
What are the top things you think Canadians humblebrag about?
Well, Virgin Mobile Canada did a study on humblebragging in Canada to try and figure out the good, the bad and the unfollow-worthy habits of Canadian humblebraggers. They found that 44 per cent of Canadians – so that’s almost half of the population – admit to humblebragging. The study found that almost half of all those humblebrags are about someone’s appearance, followed by materialistic items, like posting pictures of your new shoes or purse, and then finally location, so if you’re on a cruise or you’re court side at a Raptors’ game. That’s sort of the order of what people humblebrag about in Canada.
Who you think are the top humblebrag celebs?
Hands down my award for most obnoxious humblebragging celebrity goes to Taylor Swift. Yeah! I feel like I should give out some kind of a trophy to her. She even speaks in humblebrags in interviews, in acceptance speeches and her entire Twitter and Instagram and Facebook feeds is largely her little boasts that are masked with like “Oh I’m just a regular old girl just like you” or “My fans I’m so grateful.” She hides a lot behind her fans but I have a humblebrag from her that’s my favorite, which I will read to you. She posted, “That moment when your cat casually walks up, then abruptly attacks your custom satin Oscar de la Renta gown during your fitting for The Met Ball.” Right. Sorry, I don’t know that moment. I’ve never experienced it. She loves to throw in these fabulous things about her life and undercut them with things about her cat or her fans.
Who is the funniest humblebrag?
Ooh, good question Marriska. I think Ellen DeGeneres and Lena Dunham sort of tie for funniest humblebrag. Both of them have a way of getting information out that they’re proud of or that they want their followers to know about, but they do it in a way that is super self-deprecating and funny. To me that’s the number one rule of how to post a successful humblebrag or brag in general online is through humor – undercut it with something that is genuinely funny. That’s the best way to get away with it.
Actually, that was my next question. How can we share our activities and opinions without the false modesty of humblebragging?
Yes, which is a great question. In the study by Virgin Mobile Canada they found that 60 per cent of Canadians were over the humblebrag and were rather you just straight up go ahead and brag. There’s really nothing wrong with sharing your accomplishments with your friends and your followers online. There’s just a way to do it. There’s a way to toot your own horn without blowing your horn in everybody’s feed, whether they want it or not. I would say my first rule would be add humor. It really diffuses anything. The second would be don’t sort of mistake pride for bragging. Being proud of an accomplishment like a job promotion or a wedding proposal is not the same as sort of rubbing your new shoes or your front row seats or your vacation into everybody’s feeds. Finally, I’d say don’t go overboard. A few posts a year is tolerable. A few posts a week in my opinion is unfollowable.
Which is the most annoying kind of humblebrag?
I agree with the study, which found that 59 per cent of Canadians are most annoyed by when you post a photo of yourself looking amazing and say that you don’t look good. If you look at my Instagram from this morning I posted like a classic “I just woke up” selfie, but I have full hair and makeup and a makeup artist with me. (Laughing) That to me is and what like 59 per cent of Canadians say is the most annoying. When you post a picture looking flawless and you say something like “Just got up” or “I hate it when my sweatpants…” You know, you make some comment about how you don’t look good when you look incredible.
Is it just women who humblebrag or do you find even men do that?
Oh guys 100 per cent! The study found that men and women were equal, like they were equal in terms of humblebragging, but the study did find that women brag more about their appearance.
Do you know any male celebrities who have humblebragged before?
Yes. A couple. Jared Leto has posted a few. He posted one that said, “Just won GQ style award in Germany, obviously they made a mistake,” followed by “#andthewinnerisWHOOPS.” Letting everyone know that he won the style award, but trying to be modest about it by saying it was a mistake. When clearly he probably took four hours crafting the man bun to wear to that style award.
What about you? When was the last time you humblebragged?
Oh I humblebrag all the time, but I don’t do it intentionally! Which I feel better about it because according to this study 38 per cent of people don’t even know that they’re humblebragging and I am a part of that statistic. Because I’ll post something thinking it’s funny and then my friends will totally call me out on it. I was at the Golden Globes on Sunday and I wore a sassy yellow gown and I wanted to post a picture of myself in it without looking like a total narcissist so I used the caption “Sexy Banana.” Which I thought was funny, but also with my way of being funny about posting a totally narcissistic photo of myself. And that’s why I think this has become such a phenomenon, because that is what our social media feeds are all about. They’re about showing people how great your life is, where you’re going, who you’re with, what you’re wearing and so you know, people are afraid. You can get unfriended pretty quickly if you’re shamelessly self-promoting yourself constantly. So people have found this technique of the humblebrag to try and sort of undercut those boasts. But like I said, I really think there’s a way and according to this research, Canadians would rather we just come out with it and be upfront about it Kim Kardashian style.
My final question is you said you were on the Golden Globes red carpet, did you encounter any celebrity humblebrags there?
Yeah! Oh yeah. Because I was following everybody’s feed leading up to The Globes, while I was getting ready, kind of following everybody else getting ready. There were some really good ones. Taylor Swift as per usual was at it. She was it all night long. I would say Chrissy Teigen was a really good one. She’s John Legend’s supermodel wife. Throughout the night she was posting pictures of her flawless self on the red carpet with captions like, “It took a village to get me ready.” You know like, “I feel so bad for the people who had to make me look this good” and I wanted to say like your mom and dad who gave you the genetics of a supermodel. She was humblebragging all night long. ~Marriska Fernandes