Caroline Calloway’s former ghostwriter Natalie Beach has come out of the woodwork to tell her side of the story. The writer, based in Los Angeles, wrote a lengthy tell-all about her friendship with the famous Instagram influencer for The Cut, titled “I Was Caroline Calloway.”
Followers of Calloway on Instagram have known for several days that this article was coming, as Calloway posted about it herself on several occasions. She maintains that everything Natalie said is true. In her first post about Beach, Calloway wrote, “Everything in Natalie’s article will be brilliant and beautifully expressed and true. I know this not because I have read her essay but because Natalie is the best writer I know.”
Beach and Calloway met in an NYU writing class seven years ago. Calloway is an Instagram influencer with just under 800,000 followers who is known for three things: her style of writing novel-worthy captions in Instagram posts, her reported $500,000 book deal that she would eventually back out of, and a creativity workshop she ran earlier this year, which was compared to the Fyre Festival.
Calloway has since objected to a singular aspect of the lengthy article about her friendship with Beach: the mention of an alleged suicidal period for Calloway.
For The Cut, Beach wrote, “Back in L.A., I bought us time with the publishers by writing a quarter of the manuscript by myself, but Caroline hated it so much that she threatened suicide if I wrote anymore.”
Calloway objected to this line in an Instagram post, which shows a screenshot in which she wrote,
“I wasn’t suicidal because Natalie was a bad writer. She’s a wonderful writer. Life no longer seemed worth living because I had sold a memoir I couldn’t and didn’t want to write and I was living inside an addition I didn’t know how to solve.”
Calloway has been open about her recovery from an Adderall addiction, which she says she suffered from during her friendship with Beach.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Beach Was Calloway’s Ghostwriter For Many Instagram Posts & For Her Famed Memoir, She Says
In Beach’s lengthy article for The Cut, she revealed that she was a ghostwriter for Calloway in the early days of the Influencer’s rise to fame, up until 2016. She and Calloway met when they were both 20 years old; they are now 27 years old, respectively.
Beach says she collaborated on many Instagram posts over the course of their friendship for the influencer and, perhaps most surprisingly, that she even collaborated on Calloway’s memoir.
Calloway first made headlines when she sold an unwritten memoir for a reported $500,000 in 2015. She would eventually back out of the contract and owe her publisher a reported $100,000, per a 2018 interview she gave to Man Repeller.
She told the publication that she backed out of the deal because, as she said, “my choices were: write a book that wasn’t really about me — that was just about boys — and get lots of money, or back out of the contract and owe lots of money.”
She said, “I chose the latter, and I’m working on changing my business model so I have the income I need to repay them.”
Beach told a different story in her article. She said that she was still collaborating with Calloway on the book as late as 2016, and that Calloway had informally promised 35% of the profit from the book in exchange for Beach’s help.
Caroline looked like she was in pain as she wrote, gritting her teeth and turning away from the screen like she was reaching through a blizzard to type…
The last time we saw each other in person that winter in New York…She offhandedly promised me all the film-TV rights to the book. The book that she still couldn’t write.
Back in L.A., I bought us time with the publishers by writing a quarter of the manuscript by myself, but Caroline hated it so much that she threatened suicide if I wrote anymore. After she said that, I pulled away and watched in real time on Instagram as she counted down the days until she missed the final deadline for her book contract.
Perhaps the most damning accusation Beach lobs at Calloway is that the influencer bought tens of thousands of followers in the formative stage of her Instagram career.
2. Calloway Has Linked Beach’s Story in Her Own Instagram Profile
In response to the publication of the article, Calloway wrote a brief Instagram post in which she noted that she had linked the article in her own Instagram bio.
In an Instagram story, she wrote, “I haven’t read it yet. But. Read it. Enjoy it. Share it. Her writing is beautiful and true.”
In an Instagram post written five days prior to the article’s publication, Calloway maintained that she wanted her fans to support Beach’s work.
“You should read Natalie’s article when it comes out,” she wrote. “I’ll post a link when it does. Go leave a comment on nymag.com even if it’s insulting me. Every digital impression will be another reason for The Cut to hire Natalie again and to pay her even more next time. And The Cut doesn’t have access to the audience most interested in hating and loving Caroline Calloway.”
3. Beach Is a Writer Living in Los Angeles
According to her article, Beach moved to Los Angeles in 2016. She is still living in Los Angeles, and has written as a book critic for Oprah Magazine among other endeavors.
Her website offers links to a number of her book reviews.
Beach was with Calloway during a number of the influencer’s apparent European adventures, which Calloway documented with lengthy Instagram captions throughout 2013. In fact, Beach is mentioned in some of Calloway’s captions, including one from a trip the two women took to Sicily, Italy.
Calloway (or Beach) wrote,
“Pack your bags, Instagram! We’re off to the land of endless summer! Along for the ride is Natalie, one of my most sunburn-able and hilarious friends, who described today’s remote destination (the Aegadians Islands) as, ‘the kind of place you go to hunt people.'”
Beach writes about this Sicily trip in her article, noting that she was “deputized as the photographer” and saying, “She was building a second version of herself in front of me, and how could I compete with that?”
“I should have been having the time of my life in paradise,” Beach wrote, “but Caroline had a way of making me feel small, as if I had folded myself up like a travel toothbrush so she could take me along for the trip.”
4. Calloway Wrote Several Posts About Beach in the Days Leading up to the Article’s Release: ‘If Natalie Says it, it Must Be True’
In the days leading up to the publication of the article, Calloway wrote numerous posts about her own friendship with Beach. In one such post, she said,
Things I have felt over the past three days: Sadness. Anger. A brief moment of peace when it was raining and the bbs were flowing and the light in my cheerful little apartment was all blue.
Now I just feel impatient. I don’t like not knowing and still anticipating what this article will say. I want to rip the bandaid off. More than anything I just want to read Natalie’s writing voice again.
In other posts, Calloway expressed anger, sadness, and frustration over her former friend’s decision to write about their relationship. In a post four days prior to the article’s publication, Calloway wrote, “I realized today in therapy that I’m not numb. I’m pissed. I know this is not an endearing thing for me to feel right now. But it’s true.”
She went on to share an apparent email message from Beach that she had received, along with her response to that message:
She said: “I just want to say that while some of what I write about might be painful, I steered away from gossip and salaciousness, and there were several secrets of yours I decided to keep.” I feel: So ungrateful for this gratitude! The premise should not be that I expect her to sell my secrets to The Cut and so I’m thankful when she holds back. The premise is that I TOLD HER MY SECRETS BECAUSE I NEVER THOUGHT A SINGLE KNEWOULD END UP IN THE CUT.
In true meta fashion, Beach then went on to respond to Calloway’s responses within her article for The Cut, writing, “For almost a week she’s been posting constantly — how much she misses our friendship, how hurt and ashamed she is about whatever she thinks I’ll say here, how relieved she is that I broke the trust in our relationship so she can now write about me, too…I’m not surprised she’s taken an essay of mine that didn’t exist yet and turned it into a narrative for herself.”
5. Beach’s Article Has Stirred Up a Massive Response on Twitter
It’s unsurprising that an article written by Calloway’s apparent ghostwriter would cause a fuss on Twitter, given how viral Calloway’s “scam” was earlier this year.
“give natalie a $375k book deal imho,” one user wrote on Twitter, referencing the massive book deal Calloway received for her now-cancelled memoir (Calloway has said on Instagram that she is working on a new memoir, also titled And We Were Like).
Another user wrote, “Hope the sports podcast I’m about to go on wants to talk about Caroline Calloway and Natalie”
Still another person wrote, “honestly this is way more interesting as a story about toxic/obsessive creative friendships than it is as a story about influencer drama and scams”
Katie Baker, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, wrote, “As a serious investigative journalist/four-year follower of Caroline Calloway‘s instagram I feel the need to point out the SCOOP in the middle of Natalie’s story that confirms she bought her followers”
Many noted that the bulk of the article focused on what appeared to be a toxic female friendship more than anything. Kaitlyn Menza of the Royally Obsessed podcast wrote, “I feel like I’ve read or seen or experienced this friendship dynamic a million times, the manic pixie alpha and supportive beta. This is Beaches. This is A Separate Peace.”
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