Not-So Rich & Famous
The Australian Women's Weekly|Christmas 2019
She has over six million Instagram followers and Reese Witherspoon on speed dial. But who is Celeste Barber? Tiffany Dunk meets the social media star to find out.

A glamorous woman reclines against the kitchen bench in a skin-tight designer dress as shiny and bright as the jewels that drip from her fingers. Preparing a festive meal for the household, she pouts for our cameras before languidly reaching for a packet of crisps, holding them elegantly aloft … and pouring the lot decadently into her open mouth.

Delicately picking stray crisps from her heaving cleavage she furtively pops them into her mouth, chewing frantically before breaking into a raucous chuckle and yelling “Christmas!” delightedly.

Welcome to the world of Celeste Barber, where fashion meets physical comedy in the social media age.

Less than five years ago, Celeste was an under the radar Aussie actor and comedian who had appeared in series including All Saints and Home and Away. Today, however, the 37-year-old mum of two and stepmother to two more is fast becoming as world famous as the women she parodies on her Instagram account.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Cindy Crawford, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and, of course, the entire Kardashian clan are just a few A-listers who have seen their high-glamour posts and videos hilariously recreated by Celeste in a far less picture perfect style. Those comical snaps launched her into sell-out US tours, a televised comedy special, a collaboration with fashion designer Tom Ford for his 2019 Spring/Summer show, a best-selling autobiography and now a children’s book.

“In short, I take inappropriate half-naked photos of myself and put them online,” she simply sums up the job which has now become so intensive she’s hired a full-time assistant.

“It’s a bit of a dig at celebrity culture. I do parodies of quite famous photos. I like taking the mickey out of myself so I always thought it would be funny to see what it looked like when a normal person did fancy people things.”

It all started, Celeste tells The Weekly, when she and her older sister, Olivia, were laughing at pictures of celebrities and models posing in what, for most people, would be implausible situations. Some were bent like finely tuned contortionists into ridiculous yoga poses; others used household objects to mask their obvious nudity and one – posted by social media queen Kim Kardashian – had her oiled up and underwear clad lounging atop an inexplicable pile of dirt. The pair was in stitches and it sparked an idea in Celeste’s head. What, she mused, would it look like if a regular person tried to emulate these scenarios?

Challenge accepted, she thought. And soon a photograph of Celeste lying on a dirt pile in a pair of granny panties and a slightly grubby bra, juxtaposed against the Kim Kardashian original, broke the proverbial internet, gaining her over 10,000 followers in a day and swiftly launching her to instant Insta-fame.

“I’m an overnight sensation 15 years in the making, that’s how I see it,” she laughs. “I’m very grateful that it’s gone as well as it has. The people I parody are on board and they’re very kind. And, let’s face it, no one looks worse in those photos than I do.

“The way I look has never been the most interesting part of me and I’ve always known that. That’s why I see social media stuff and go, ‘Okay, cool, that’s never going to be me and that’s fine’. I’m lucky. I want to see stuff that’s funny and I know I’m good at funny. I’m happy to be good at what I know I’m good at.”

While many worry about the effect social media has on body positivity, Celeste has found herself an unwitting poster girl for those looking for better role models online. It’s a perk of the job she relishes, if not one she set out meaning to provide. And it’s definitely formed the genesis for her latest project, a children’s book called Celeste The Giraffe Loves To Laugh which she’s dedicated to her two sons, Lou, eight, and Buddy, five.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLYView All

Role model royals

As we celebrate William and Kate’s 10th wedding anniversary, Juliet Rieden asks: can the close-knit Cambridge five steady the royal ship with their duty, dignity and family values?

10+ mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

TOGETHER FOR CHANGE

As allegations of sexual assault and harassment swirl around our federal Parliament, Samantha Trenoweth sits down with some of the most powerful women in the land to consider the issues that have shaken the nation.

10+ mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

Remember the time

APRIL 1823: The first Sydney Royal Easter Show

1 min read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

“Finding my power” -Toni Pearen

Facing her demons (and a few snakes) in the jungle led to a personal and professional renaissance for Toni Pearen. Jenny Brown meets the former pop princess as she steps into a brave new life.

9 mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

“I was lost before Lauren”

It may seem a charmed life, but MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has had serious lows with the highs. He tells Sue Smethurst how love saved him.

9 mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

Ray of hope

Nobody would consider the parents of children with cancer lucky, but for two families who were included in a ground-breaking Australian program to fight childhood cancers, lucky is exactly how they feel. Genevieve Gannon meets those families.

10+ mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

My story: My journey out of darkness

When screenwriter Kristen Dunphy checked herself into a psychiatric ward, her world was unbearably dark, but with pen and paper in hand, she found the glimmer of hope that carried her home.

6 mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

In the name of my daughter

When her 20-year-old daughter was brutally murdered in a Queensland hostel, Rosie Ayliffe needed answers. What she uncovered compelled her to launch a campaign to expose the dangers backpackers face in Australia, she tells Juliet Rieden.

10+ mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

Best friends forever

A trip down memory lane makes the perfect birthday gift for a much loved childhood friend.

3 mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021

How To Max Your Morning Rituals

In our quest for the best possible wake-up and start to our day, we need a multisensory approach that draws us out of slumber and kickstarts our body clock. Here, Russell Jones, author of Sense, shares simple ways to feel good.

4 mins read
The Australian Women's Weekly
April 2021