Insta Spotlight: Taste of Streep
October 20, 2017
There may not be anything that’s universally loved on the internet, but Meryl Streep and food come pretty close. One graphic designer has managed to capitalize on both—and she’s mastered taking her influence offline.
Taste of Streep combines photos of Streep with enticing food photography. The result is visually clever (if not slightly bizarre) photos that have garnered the account over 200,000 followers. The woman behind the account is Samantha Raye, actress-turned-graphic designer.
We’ve taken a deeper look at the account, and even had a quick chat with Raye about her passion project turned thriving Insta business. So go ahead, eat your heart out.
#merylstreep #food #foodgasm #tasteofstreep #samantharaye #graphicdesign #foodart #playwithyourfood
The account took off in 2015 when, at 300 followers, a photo on Raye’s account was tweeted by People magazine. Raye, who is actually not a graphic designer by trade (she studied drama in college), taught herself Photoshop. She made whimsical creations combining actresses and food; first with Julianne Moore on a cake, and then Meryl on a donut. She decided to share the photoshopped images on a dedicated account.
In an interview with The Zeitgeist in February of this year, Raye said she wasn’t sure what was next for the account.
“I’ll keep @tasteofstreep going as long as I can. I love design work and I’ve been fortunate enough to pay my rent on that alone, but my real dream is to be an actor,” she said. “So fingers crossed for 2017.”
What’s become of Raye’s acting isn’t certain, but Taste of Streep has only grown this year. At the time of that interview, the account had around 112,000 followers; it has increased 80 percent by October.
Raye has capitalized on the account in multiple ways. Not only has she released physical artwork of the photos in the form of sticker packs and paper dish ware, but she is also hosting “Taste of Streep” themed events.
They are by and large movie watch parties, and usually in Brooklyn, where Raye resides. For example, she hosted a watch party of The Devil Wears Prada at Syndicated (a movie theater that features a bar and kitchen), as well as an Oscars party at Brooklyn bar Northern Territory.
Raye has also had the chance to host events as far away as London (a Death Becomes Her screening). She has, brilliantly, woven together her brand with Streep’s large filmography. She has a grasp on what kind of events will convince her audience to meet up offline: movie nights, trivia events, and always paired with food and alcohol.
“It’s the most incredible space, and it’s also a dine in theater,” Raye said of Syndicated, “so it kind of goes hand in hand with my account theme.”
Taste of Streep’s influence began on Instagram, but Raye has managed to garner IRL appeal. Her tactic of teaming up with “cool” bars has paid off.
“The energy in each showing is amazing. Everyone laughs and recites their favorite lines,” Raye told Business Insider about the screenings .
“I’d love to continue [the screenings] for as long as possible — our Mamma Mia! sing-a-long screening is becoming a bit of an annual tradition, people love it,” Raye told The Gramlist. “I’m a huge fan of going to the movies, and with so many streaming services available to us today — I feel like theaters are suffering.”
Raye sees her screenings as a way to forge community. Instead of watching a Meryl film on Netflix at home, she wants fans to come together. She said, “Getting people off of the couch and into a theater was my main goal with the events.” Raye has also teamed up with other viral, female millennial accounts, such as @h0tgirlseatingpizza. They have hosted joint events as well.
What Taste of Streep is void of, interestingly, is sponsored posts. Raye does feature photos promoting her Etsy shop and the various events, but there is not a #ad in sight. Perhaps she is choosing not to capitalize her influence on sponsored posts and instead favors her shop and events.
Despite her massive follower count, though, Raye does not consider herself an influencer. “Absolutely not,” she said.
As of the Business Insider interview, Raye was working as a full-time graphic designer—a job offer she received from tasteofstreep’s success. As the account grows even further, it will be interesting to note what strategies (events and Etsy wares as opposed to sponsored posts) will change, and what will remain constant.
What’s next for Taste of Streep? “Hopefully more food and more films!”