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It’s the ultimate modern-day tale of redemption: a convicted felon charged with the second-degree murder of her mother, forging a new life as an influencer.
Enter social media’s newest It Girl: 32-year-old Gypsy-Rose Blanchard, recently freed after serving eight years in prison for her involvement in the killing of her mother, Dee Dee.
In just over a week since her release, Blanchard has made (at this time of writing) 33 Instagram posts, 15 TikTok videos, and amassed millions of fans across her social media platforms – her most popular being her TikTok account, which boasts 9 million followers and counting.
Welcome to the internet in 2024: are you ready to join the Blanchard – or, as her fans affectionately call her, “Gyp Gyp” – fan train?
Wait, who is Gypsy-Rose Blanchard?
Following her mother’s murder in 2015, Blanchard became one of the most famous victims of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (now known as factitious disorder imposed on another), a rare mental disorder in which a caregiver induces or exaggerates an illness in another person (typically a child).
The murder, which Blanchard had planned, was carried out by her then-boyfriend, Nick Godejohn, while she hid in the bathroom.
Blanchard was sentenced in 2016, aged 23, while Godejohn received a life sentence in prison without parole in 2019.
Dee Dee had fabricated lies about her daughter’s physical health to family, friends, and professionals, convincing her daughter and those around her that she needed a wheelchair and an oxygen mask to live.
The medical abuse began from an early age, with Dee Dee claiming her child suffered from leukaemia, epilepsy, asthma, and muscular dystrophy, homeschooling her daughter to isolate her from society and receiving charity and disability payments.
Okay, what’s she doing on social media?
Thus far, Blanchard’s Instagram paints the picture of a city girl making up for lost time: in her first week of freedom, she’s visited multiple New York City landmarks, saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, sat down for interviews with Good Morning America and Lifetime, and got her nails and lashes done.
She’s kept fans fed with photo and video content, showing fans her child-like voice, famously recreated by actress Joey King in The Act, has dropped slightly and sounds closer to her age.
Previous existing photos of Blanchard showed an apparently sickly girl in need of her mother – with Instagram, Blanchard has reinvented herself as a confident, glamorous, and, in the eyes of her audience, a recovering victim of abuse.
Her social media also shows off her marriage to Louisiana-based teacher Ryan Anderson, whom she met through a prison pen pal system.
With Anderson thrust into the spotlight alongside her, bullying comments have made their way into his comment section. Thankfully, he has a prison wife.
“Ryan, don’t listen to the haters. I love you, and you love me. We do not owe anyone anything. Our family is who matters,” Blanchard wrote in a now viral response to hate comments.
“If you get likes and good comments great, if you get hate then whatever because THEY DON’T MATTER. I love you … besides they jealous because you are rocking my world every night.”
Other Instagram commenters have warmed up to Anderson, likening the couple’s relationship to the iconic levels of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Barbie and Ken.
So, are we all Gypsy-Rose fans now?
Blanchard’s story is one that has been told, and retold, by Netflix, podcast hosts, the news media, and more – why not take your story into your own hands?
After serving eight years behind bars, Blanchard will be less familiar with the battlefields of social media than the Instagram users commenting “she served time so she could serve looks” under her photos – some fans worry the mass amount of attention on Blanchard may be exploiting her, and that joining social media could be detrimental to her healing from her trauma.
From her posts, Blanchard appears happy, supported, and self-confident, a woman far removed from the sickly child her mother made her out to be.
One Instagram commenter summed up the predicament of her fame: “From being exploited by her mother to being exploited by media. It’s so sad. I wish she could have taken some time to herself first. However, on the flip side, maybe she really wants to be heard and seen.”