This portfolio appears in VICE Magazine's 2019 Photo Issue. With this issue we wanted to celebrate the absurd, the lighthearted, and the humorous. It’s important to take a break from the real world. As much as we need to be informed, engaged, and aware, we also need to laugh. We wanted to champion the people making art with a sense of humor. In today’s climate, there’s something nicely subversive about that. You can read more about our theme in the letter from our editor.
Lauren Servideo is quickly becoming a comedic Instagram icon with her relatable, loveable, and cringe worthy set of character-driven videos she’s developed natively on the platform. She also happens to work there, which makes her keenly aware of the influencer culture she’s parodying. Earlier this year, we did a deep dive into her various personas and felt a particular attachment to Anubis, a fun-loving vampire who lives in LA and loves to gossip and shop. So when we began scheming for this year’s photo issue we knew we wanted to include her in some way. The final idea—Anubis posing for a resort-wear fashion shoot—was executed by photographer Lula Hyers. Born and raised in New York, Hyers tells us that she’s heavily influenced by her hometown and when it comes to photography, she often finds herself experimenting with what it means to capture someone’s essence and vulnerability.
The final result of their collaboration is bright, beachy, and hilarious. We caught up with Servideo about her characters, how she got her start, and what’s next for Anubis.
VICE: Walk us through your typical day.
Lauren Servideo: Open my eyes, don’t stretch, don’t take my time getting ready, walk to work, spend six to eight hours glued to my ergonomic desk chair, walk home, take a breather, and then go back outside and wander around until it gets dark. My boyfriend has one of those digital pianos with several kinds of rhythms and noises and I’ve taken to playing roulette with the different demo sounds and just banging away at those freaking ivory keys, baby! It feels very purgative at the end of a long day even though I absolutely do not know how to read sheet music.
When did you start making videos? Was Instagram your first platform, or are we talking OG photobooth?
I started making videos in the early 2000s on the family computer. Instagram is the only platform I use now.
Are there any characters since our last interview that you’ve been excited to develop? What’s that process like for you?
She’s been around the block, but I absolutely love doing Victoria. Part of that process involves studying videos of people who vacationed on the Jersey shore in the 90s and 2000s (but not the Jersey Shore). I’d love to see where I can take my Brandy Melville manager character too. Some people have told me that it is “so brave” of me to show my pale, flabby stomach like that, which absolutely dilutes the real definition of bravery or courage for people who, you know, run into burning buildings. We all have different benchmarks, I guess.
I feel like Anubis has resonated deeply with a lot of your audience, why do you think that is? Are there parallels in the personality you developed for her and yourself?
Thank you for saying that! Sheesh, I’m not sure. Maybe the same reason people get a kick out of watching Chris Lilley do Ja’mie in Summer Heights High? Let me be clear, however: I would never deign to say that I have even a quarter of the talent he has—just that our fan base has the same sense of humor! It’s someone you know but something is just... slightly off.
If Anubis could style herself, what do you think she’d rock outside of her crisp white shirt? Imagine Anubis in all Ed Hardy? I was at Beacon’s closet and one of the buyers was wearing head-to-toe Ed Hardy/Affliction gear and I thought of how bananas that would look on Anubis. Jersey bro regalia forever!
Being someone who brings a lot of joy to people through comedy, what’s currently making you laugh?
Rachel Sennott’s Twitter and Youtube channel and Conner O’Malley’s series on Howard Schultz. TV-wise, I loved Pen15 and The Other Two.
What’s next for Anubis and the world of Lauren Servideo?
Hopefully something longer on a larger screen! I think Anubis showing up to a movie premiere in an archive Mugler couture could turn some heads. I am grateful that I even get to consider that there will be a next for me.