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Too  good  to  be  true  is  a  visual  analysis  of  creating an online identity,  parafiction and the performativity of  social media through  the  (artificial)  eye  of  fake Instagram  personality  Stella Spetto.
Note: Mobile view is not advised, please view on desktop or laptop

 
 
 

From Stellapedia, the expensive encyclopedia

Stella Belladonna Spetto (born July 20, 1991) is a fictional Italian-American model, social media personality and socialite created

by Charlotte Decruyenaere. Although her official birth year is 1991, Stella was born in late November of 2017 and joined Instagram on January 1st 2018 where she finally came to life as @stellaspetto

Stella portrays the lifestyle of an Instagram personality living a lush lifestyle traveling Europe while her child lives with Stella's parents in Los Angeles. 

 

From an artistic perspective, her Instagram account blurs the line between reality and fantasy by creating a parafictional reality using social media as a simulacrum. 

Contents  [click to navigate]

Antepartum

Born

Stella Belladonna Spetto

July 20, 1991 (age 26)

Los Angeles, California,

United States

Italian-American

5 ft 6 in (168 cm)

Blonde

Origin

Height

Hair Color

Brown

Eye Color

This is the prenatal phase, if you will.

This is when Stella was nothing but a small, irrelevant thought. 

From the beginning it was apparent for the creator she wanted to delve deep into the idea

of body dysmorphia and self-completion. These themes are not only intriguing to her but they are also more relevant than ever. Just take a look at how the typical millennial presents him- or herself and the growth and struggles of the transgender community. 

It's safe to say that almost everybody experienced body dysmorphia and self-completion to some degree, even when they're unaware of it or entirely reject the idea of it. 

The creator has had an infatuation with personification since she was a child. At a very young age she began experimenting with makeup and clothing to radically change her appearance. Growing up with a fashion designer only fueled this interest. As a teenager she briefly explored the world of cosplay, as this was something similar to what she loved. But it didn't quite quench her thirst.

In college her love for personification rekindled as she was constantly challenged to make illustrations. So why not illustrate using her body, it's her most expressive medium after all. It became somewhat of an obsession that took over. It forced her to not only become an illustrator but also a character designer, makeup artist, stylist, photographer, editor and art director. All of this accumulated in her bachelor project De Vertegenwoordigers where she depicted the extraordinarily ordinary lives of her home towns residents. The first drafts of these photographs got her an internship at Flemish television production company Woestijnvis, where she primarily became responsible for the advertising campaign and branding of the 14th season of De Slimste Mens ter Wereld.

This infatuation with personification would manifest itself in her master project somehow, no matter what the subject was going to be. 

So the researching began and it didn't take long before she fell into the hole of the internet where she began to look at social media personalities and the pursuit of beauty differently. 

Last seen

Northern California, 

November 13, 2018

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Lady Jaye
ORLAN
Juno Calypso

To put it simply, everything changed when the master coaches at weekly meetings in college told her to "just start photographing".

So she went home and ordered a cheap photo studio which consisted of a few backdrops and two softboxes. She started photographing herself to see what was going to happen. This soon turned into a weird fascination with Kim Kardashian and the way she poses on her Instagram photos. She also found out you can make prosthetics with Vaseline and all-purpose flour.

Early Life

The more she looked at personalities like the Kardashians and the way they portray themselves on their social media accounts, the more she realized this wasn't that far off from how the ordinary human acts online. They act by acting; by performing.

She started to understand social media platforms like Instagram are a window to the world where you display what you want the world to see. Even if you show everything you don't reveal much. Although we became accustomed to social media to a point where we almost can't function without them, we rarely sit down to really think about them. We consider them low-brow and uncultured. A place to post tacky selfies or pictures of your plate of food which is already turning cold by the time you're done editing it. A selfie is a marketing strategy and can promote its owner. But then one can ask, does a selfie have an owner?

Then one morning on her way to college Charlotte had an epiphany. She would create a false identity using Instagram as a medium to subtly expose the performativity of social media and online identity. She opened up Instagram on her iPhone and started following the it-girls and everything else that seemed important to the Instagram population to see what the cool kids are up to.

On New Year's eve Stella manifested itself for the first time. "New year new me ✨". After that moment a complete meta-morphosis would ensue, unbeknownst to everyone. 

Stellafication

It all started so innocent. Charlotte would tell about her epiphany to her coach, who encouraged her to go for it. So she would pack her bag and went looking for wigs, full of excitement. A full beat of makeup and a wig would be enough, right? She thought so, too. 

She soon discovered there was more to it than just some fake hair and makeup.

She started incorporating green screens, editing software, 3D-rendered teeth, eyes and breasts and foam hip padding to amp up the surrealism and uncanniness of the photographs.  

"if you're not tanning, what the fuck are you doing with your life?"

Making custom hair extensions from scratch. Sewing and toning process

3D rendered teeth

Foam padding process. Cutting out a cushion with an electric turkey knife to resemble something like the continent Africa to create voluptuous hips

Hip (Right)
Teeth
Eyeball
Hip (Left)

VIDEO ESSAY: Stellafication process w/ commentary

Destellafication process

Charlotte would turn herself into a an obscure version of how she could look like if the impossible were possible. She would create a narrative and a new 'real' by fusing form and content. 

Her Instagram following, which started growing slowly but surely, would be unaware of these modifications. They would actually play along and encourage her outrageously deceptive physique. Not knowing what is real and what isn't heightens the feel of uncanniness. 

But the viewer can also desire or despise the image because this level of absurd beauty can't be reached within realistic standards.

Stella regularly gets contacted by skincare companies and plastic surgeons because they want her to represent them. She gets sent makeup to write favorable posts about them on her Instagram.

Through hidden social media groups, she discovered the shady but thriving system of the replica market of fashion. These hidden groups would post links to products on an online retail service. These links would show something insignificant like a pair of socks while they were really a replica Gucci shirt.  

Balenciaga 'authenticity card'