While impersonators probably aren’t high on everyone’s list of people to avoid, our girl Ariana Grande’s TikTok look-alikes aren’t your average impersonators. For starters, it seems like any “professional” copycat would do their best to, um, actually emulate their subject successfully. In Ari’s case, her impersonators can’t even be bothered.
It brings up the question of whether or not we can actually call these people Ariana impersonators—in some cases, it seems like they’re just conflating the Nickelodeon alum’s identity as a recording artist with that of her former character on Victorious, Cat Valentine. Needless to say, the thank u, next singer isn’t all too happy about that.
Ariana, 26, took to Instagram recently to air out her grievances over the latest set of TikTok impersonators she’s been dealing with. She related to something that a filmmaker Jordan Firtman shared about meme culture: “What if we, like, we took a moment, like a small clip from a movie or a TV show. Something that, like, an artist really poured their soul into and it, like, it just took them years to make,” Firstman said in a video. “What if we took a moment from that and we kind of, like, recontextualized it—like, does that make sense? And we put a completely arbitrary meaning onto that thing that the artist loves so much? Kind of, like, degrading its entire value.”
According to Ari, this is “really how it feels,” when strangers on TikTok attempt to impersonate her. She reposted Firstman’s video and added a comment on her Instagram Story. “Omg can this please also double as your impression of the ponytail TikTok girls who think doing that Cat Valentine voice and that wearing winged eyeliner and a sweatshirt is doing a good impersonation of me…’cause this really how it feels…” she wrote, adding, “‘Degrading its entire value’ I screamed.”
So, Ari impersonators: If you’re going to do it (don’t), at *least* don’t use Cat Valentine as your basis!