Memes take many a form, but none so good as those generated by @tasteofstreep – an Instagram dedicated to the love affair between Meryl Streep and a smörgåsbord of tasty delights. From the delectable hybrid of a strawberry glazed donut and Streep’s character in the 1989 film She-Devil, to the avocado mash-up of Meryl Streep’s 1979 photo shoot with revered American photographer Jack Mitchell, the treasures that Samantha Raye’s Instagram yield are simply more than we deserve or can bare to handle. In an Internet world where ‘shit memes’ and ‘shit posting’ reign supreme, @tasteofstreep provides a refreshing level of technical skill and innovation.
How did you come up with the concept for @tasteofstreep?
I really wish that I had a great answer for this, but honestly it sort of just happened. I’ve always incorporated food in the things that I make, be it collages, illustrations, or paintings. But I was visiting my family last summer in South Florida and I remember sitting in the living room at some odd hour of the night/early morning with my computer. I was Googling complete nonsense when I came across a picture of Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia. Somewhere in my mind I had the idea to put her on top of a pizza with [lightning] bolts shooting out of her hands, and the response on social media was overwhelmingly positive. A few months later I made a GIF of her from Julie and Julia where she’s holding a chicken, and I got a similar response. I think subconsciously that’s where I realized that people really love Meryl Streep … and people really love food. Finally in November of 2015 I decided to merge both Meryl Streep and food, in which the pink She-Devil doughnut photo came about.
What’s the creative process that goes into one @tasteofstreep image?
I am constantly searching for images, and whenever I find one that I’ve never seen before it always inspires me. First I look at the way her body is positioned and what her clothing looks like. Sometimes the clothing really lends itself to the food perfectly ([e.g.] the [samosa], the churros, the NY strip steak) and other times I have to really use my imagination. Once I find a food that works well with the photo, I go to town on photoshop and hope for the best!
Would you consider @tasteofstreep an aspect of your own artistic expression?
Yeah I think I would. I grew up surrounded by the arts and I studied drama in college. I feel like all of those aspects play a huge role in @tasteofstreep, that and my peculiar sense of humor.
Did you expect people to take to @tasteofstreep like they have?
Absolutely not. Never in a million years. Six months later it’s still so surreal.
What are your top three favourite Meryl Streep movies?
I hate to admit this … but I still haven’t seen them all! But from what I have seen (all performances, not limited to just movies), I would say: The Devil Wears, Prada Web Therapy … and I’m going to say thirdly that I’m really looking to Florence Foster Jenkins! I used to listen to her in college, so when I found out that Meryl Streep would be playing her I freaked out a bit.
To you, what’s the most appetising Taste of Streep image?
Appetizing. Hm. I am far from a picky eater, so they all look good to me! But if I had to pick one, I have a major sweet tooth, so either the churros or the twinkies.
Would you ever consider photo shopping other celebrities onto food in the future?
I would love to! I’m a big pop-culture junkie, and there are so many artists and celebrities that I find fascinating, be it a critically acclaimed three-time Academy Award Winner, or Ashlee Simpson.
You’ve now started doing movie screenings and trivia nights. Do you see the account helping you long term?
I’ve always been obsessed with physically going to the movies, and I don’t feel like many people do that anymore. It’s crazy to say, but going to the movies almost feels nostalgic at this point in time considering how easy technology has made it to stream movies in your own living room. Going to the movies is a special event in itself for me, so if I can do anything to get people off of the couch and into an actual theatre to celebrate these great films and performances, I’m all for it. There are only so many Meryl Streep films out there, so I don’t really know what the shelf-life for these “parties” might be. But they’re a lot of fun and I’ll keep doing them as long as I can, and as long as people want to come hang out at the movies!
What does the future look like for Taste of Streep?
Oh gosh, I have absolutely no clue. What I’d like to happen, is to take these ‘movie parties’ on tour and visit different dine-in theatres across the country. I get comments on my Instagram all of the time asking when I’m going to visit specific cities, and like I mentioned before, the fact that I have “fans” is really so surreal. Hosting these events is not only a way to support the art of film, but a way to express my extreme gratitude to all of my followers. And apparently I have international fans! I’ve never really been out of the US before, so to be able to host parties in different countries would actually be insane. If you know of any theatres, hook me up!