This is a parody of Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” photos, taken by my friend Robyn Welling, along with a word-for-word parody of the article about Kim K that ran in Paper Magazine. Except much shorter. Because the only way Robyn Welling could “break the internet” is by throwing her laptop in the dishwasher.
If you know nothing else about Robyn Welling, you know that she is not very famous. Some would say that’s all you need to know. At press time, she has 57 Twitter followers, about 25.8 million less than Oprah Winfrey and nearly 3 more than her friend Karen. Her Instagram account, where she posts prolifically of her toddler’s frozen meals, is the site’s third least popular. You can’t walk through a supermarket without catching a glimpse of her comparing prices to bulk items at Costco. With her now-husband, she appeared on her own blog next to the hashtag #worldsleasttalkedaboutcouple, creating barely a ripple (her own mother didn’t even read it) that made it perhaps the #worldsleastsharedstory.
Her unpopularity and nonexistent media presence have made her grist for school essays written by her own children. She is variously seen as a mom-blogging-carpool-PTA-participant or a late-stage symptom of our society’s myriad ills: leaky sippy cups, tangled carseat straps, peanut allergies, Spongebob Squarepants. But behind all the hoopla, there is an actual woman — a physical body where the forces of family and sleeplessness converge. Who isn’t at least a tad curious about the flesh that drives the minivan?
As soon as she arrives at the hostess podium of the Olive Garden in Niles, Michigan, where we meet for our interview, a young fan who appears to be her own child accosts her. The child has just run out of the restaurant bathroom; she brings with her a clump of toilet paper. “Will you wipe me, Mom?” she pants. (This is what young children ask their mothers when they have pooped– wiping your own ass is so last century.) She obliges, leaning in for the wipe and turning back to her meal before I can blink. Later, she will tell me that she’s “not really a hand sanitizer person,” and that she doesn’t generally use them even after she wipes her child’s ass in a public place.
The next day, as I scroll through Instagram, I come across a photograph of her, taken the night of our interview, wearing the same spit-up stained yoga pants to bed as pajamas. I also find two photos of her youngest daughter toddling around their filthy kitchen unattended in a diaper and socks. One of these pictures has more than ten likes. “I love sharing my dirty house and average children with my handful of followers,” Welling tells me, and I detect no hint of falseness. “That’s just who I am.” No more, no less.
Huge thanks to Robyn Welling from Hollow Tree Ventures who took these hilarious photos and agreed to be the subject of this post!