"I relate to Perrie very much," she says. "We have a lot of similarities. Being happy and sad at the same time—I see that in Perrie, and that's me too. So it is definitely a homage to her and it is part of why she is my idol. When she and Zayn Malik broke up I took it pretty badly because I feel I 'am' her—but I got over it slowly and have come to terms with it now."Edwards isn't Laura's first celebrity role-play account. She has been pretending to be famous celebrities on social media in 2009, beginning with Taylor Swift and then Demi Lovato. "I see it as a hobby," she explains. "Some people like to play football, but this is what I like to do in my spare time. It helps me relax and escape my real life.
The imposter @EdShreean has over 22,000 followers, many of them presumably as slapdash as me when it comes to scrolling through their timeline. On Twitter, it's easy to confuse 22,000 followers with 22 million, thanks to the way the platform displays a user's follower count.I'm not the only journalist to get thrown off by a fake celebrity account. In July, MailOnline reported that Empire actor Derek Luke "blasted Instagram followers for criticising [his] mixed race marriage.". But Luke doesn't use Instagram. An account with 86,000 followers called @iamderekluke is currently passing itself off as the actor by posting, for example, a behind the scenes photo on The View with Whoopi Goldberg, as well as pictures of Derek with his Empire cast mates.
I miss Zayn
— Ed Sheeran (@EdShreean)December 12, 2015
"It's a space where I obsess about Cheryl and post pictures of her. I've been a fan of Cheryl and her band, Girls Aloud, ever since I was younger, and yes, I love Cheryl," she says. "She's made me feel better about myself. Sometimes I do a bit of roleplay with other accounts," she says. "I'd love more followers. It lets me extend my audience and it's a way for me to meet other people. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel better because honestly, I don't have a lot of people to talk to in my real life."Dr Elle Boag, a senior lecturer in social psychology at Birmingham City University, confirms that people may be drawn to imitating a celebrity online if they feel alone or bored with their lives."People get lonely. It may be that they don't have a huge circle of friends, and they might feel that they're going to attract people if they pretend to be something they're not. Celebrities have a status, so by adopting that persona, they can quickly generate a positive appraisal. We, the general public, generally lead quite mundane lives. It's a form of escapism. It's an extension of fan fiction."
It's great when you tell someone your feelings for them. It lets them know that they should stop talking to you
— Cheryl (@Cheryl_RP)December 14, 2015
Laura and Jennifer aren't being malicious with their accounts, but some people, like the Derek Luke faker, are. Though his imposter Instagram isn't posting derogatory messages about him, it's certainly created a buzz around him that he never asked for.
You can be anybody online. Why wouldn't you be a celebrity?