Meet Anubis, Instagram Fashion Diety

Meet Anubis, Instagram Fashion Diety

Lauren Servideo's breakout Instagram persona finds humor in fashion minutiae.

Lauren Servideo's breakout Instagram persona finds humor in fashion minutiae.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Picture it: you’re out on a Saturday night. The club? China Chalet. The scene? “Litty.” All of a sudden, in the usual fog of second-hand smoke, two yellow eyes flash. From the same source, a strange voice: "Yeah, no, I’ve been in L.A. a bunch,” it hisses to no one in particular. You feel the fleeting hypnosis of seeing an unplaceable celebrity. Who is she? you might think. But if you have to ask, you aren’t following Anubis, a.k.a. @servideo, a.k.a. Lauren Servideo, Instagram’s foremost resource for gonzo fashion satire.

Anubis, the mysterious bicoastal club-goer in the above hypothetical, is perhaps the most recognizable of the various personae that Servideo has cultivated online. An amalgam of an ancient demigod and a modern-day fashion aspirant, the character seems to answer the question, what if the Egyptian god of death was one of us?

Anubis was unleashed unto the world on July 16, when a video featuring Servideo in full Transylvanian garb, rattling off, with a morbid case of vocal fry, Tumblr-bred platitudes (“You look fucking eleganza! You look fucking snatched!”) broke a very specific corner of the Internet. The profound dissonance of Anubis—god of the dead, ultimate outsider—as the stereotypical fashion try-hard, dishing diet conspiracies (“My nutritionist told me that juice cleanses are actually really bad for you.”) and humble-bragging about her Opening Ceremony gig (“Between you and me...we might be working on something with Virgil Abloh.”) resonated with a certain young, hyper self-aware demographic. Comic Patti Harrison reposted it to her Instagram, citing @servideo as her sole reason for continuing to use the app. Fashion types like Hari Nef and Matthew Adams Dolan soon appeared in Servideo’s follower count.

If none of these words together have made sense, not to worry. Servideo herself hasn’t always occupied the niche socio-professional ecosystem that her videos seem to ironize. After studying journalism at SUNY Albany, the New York native took jobs in publishing, and now works in tech, creating videos in her off-hours. Anubis came to her, says Servideo, on her way to work one day. “Our office is a block away from that really really big Halloween store in Union Square,” she says. “Every now and again I will walk by and I’m like, ‘Lauren you have to go in and buy costume or buy a prop, and you have to make a video out of it,’ just as a way to challenge myself. At first I was thinking [the character] would be a vampire that had kind of a Valley Girl accent.”

The most distinctive quality of the Anubis character is her voice—a kind of sarcophagal rattle, ostensibly resulting from eons spent in the underworld, with a surprisingly adorable origin story. “The voice that I use for Anubis is the one I used for my cats as a child,” Servideo explains. “Like, some people have a voice for [imitating] their pet, and that was mine for my cat," she says. "My sister can do it, too, and it doesn’t hurt to do. [laughs] So that’s good for the longevity of this character.”

Growing up upstate, Servideo found humor in the crusted-over groupthink she encountered online. “I spent most of my summers inside on the computer, [searching] 4Chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica, when I was way too young to be on [those sites],” she says. Later on, more IRL patterns of behavior served as inspiration for her first character: “I just had a lot of friends that were dating skateboarders or people that just... You know the kind that I mean. I would just do the imitation of the guy… [In exaggerated bro-tones] ‘He kind of sounded like this.’”

But she admits her characters, who range from put-upon Pittsburghian Victoria to Alexis Neiers with ficus hands to a pathological Everlane shopper, are just as much reflections of her own personality. Clearly, [Anubis is] an amalgamation of 16 different people that both you and I probably know and are friends with,” says Servideo, who emphasizes that her imitation is indeed a form of flattery. “I actively try to make sure none of this is mean spirited; she very much is me.”

The birth of Anubis coincides with a growing kinship between the New York comedy and fashion scenes, as demonstrated by recent overlaps like that of Eckhaus Latta with alt-cabaret doyenne Catherine Cohen and VFILES with Steven Philips-Horst. But Servideo says her good timing is entirely accidental. “I never thought [this] would be anything other than just filming and posting for my friends. My pie in the sky idea was, yeah, it would be great if I could work in comedy,” she says. “Of course you always think, well maybe. Maybe something could happen.”

Lauren Servideo (Photography: Landon Speers)
Credits: Photography: Landon Speers

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