If you scroll all the way back to 2015 on Madonna's instagram, you'll see something a little weird. It's her head on someone else's body.
Way back when, when Madonna was promoting her album Rebel Heart and the Joy Division shirt had handily supplanted the Pink Floyd shirt as the rock band accessory du jour, artist Amelia Goldie was visiting her parents when her friends tagged her in an unusual post. It was an image from Madonna's Instagram account, captioned with "I look kewl." But it wasn't Madonna who looked kewl in that picture; clearly, it was Goldie, with Madonna's head hastily photoshopped onto her body.
"I laughed and thought it was a joke then realized it was on her official account and couldn’t believe it. I was in shock." Goldie said. "I told my parents and they still think it’s a joke and can’t comprehend how or why it’s happened. It’s hilarious."
Last week Goldie posted a TikTok about the phenomenon, using "Oh No" by Kreepa, a popular sound that people on the platform have used for TikToks describing weird, surreal, and unfortunate occurrences. Normally people use this sound for, say, dogs who are having trouble getting their snacks, or people getting pied in the face.
Goldie's TikTok, which has now been faved over a quarter of a million times, exploded simply for being such an absurd situation. What do you even do when a celebrity on the magnitude of Madonna pretends to be you, or at least to have your body? In fact, Goldie posted a follow up to the TikTok because someone had scrolled all the way back to 2015 and saw that the post was still there.
What’s still a mystery is how this happened, why this happened, where Madonna’s team found this photo, who did the edit and how they did it, and why it’s still up years later. It’s also notable that this happened years before the advent of deepfakes, and before our ongoing national conversation about bodily autonomy when it comes to putting someone’s face on another person’s body.
Goldie has reached out to Madonna through her Instagram but she's never received a response. Motherboard also reached out to Madonna's publicist to ask about the post, but did not receive a response either.
"I’m surprised it’s still up honestly," Goldie said. "Quite a few people are saying that she should credit me and that it’s a bit strange!"
Indeed, if you look at the comments on this post now, all the most recent ones reference Goldie's TikTok. "Wow you look so kewl, almost looks like you're on someone else's body," one comment reads.