See an Instagram meme. Reflect yourself onto the post. Tag your closest friends immediately to let them know it is literally you. This basic equation of social media virality helped illustrator Julie Houts’ personal Instagram account rack in more than 200,000 followers.
The Carroll Gardens-based artist known for posting sarcastic sketches that grapple with what it’s like to be a millennial woman has turned her viral success into a new book, “Literally Me,” set for release Oct. 24. A combination of essays and satirical drawings, the book lightheartedly mocks society’s social-media-age obsession with celebrity culture and perception of women.
“The book is a mix of tongue-in-cheek essays and drawings that focus on things that concern the women in my life,” Houts, 30, explains, adding that she had no idea so many people would end up relating to her point of view. Interest in her page took off in 2016 after Refinery29 called her an Instagram artist who “understands life perfectly.”
“By far the most popular comment on any of the Instagrams is people writing, ‘Literally me,’ which I always thought was so funny because I was like no, it’s literally me,” she adds, nodding to the title.
Among the celeb-focused collections found in the book is a six-page sketch set documenting the every move of Kylie Jenner called “Kylie Jenner steps out” and a section gearing up to crush every “Sex and the City” fan’s dreams with captions that read, “You are not a Carrie.”
“I’m so sick of hearing the constant, ‘I’m a Carrie’ or ‘I’m a Charlotte’ or ‘I’m a Samantha,’” Houts says. “Everyone self-identifies so strongly with these women that to me are just fragments of real women. They’re exaggerated versions of women in our lives. Even Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t a Carrie.”
Other notable sections include a “drop dead” sketch exposing the pressure society places on new moms and brides-to-be, and a “how to become effortless” tutorial mocking the “natural beauty” makeup trend.
Though much of the book is meant to be comical, you’ll find a few shorts that ring true to Houts’ life. Particularly, a personal essay explaining how the late Princess Diana may or may not have been her birth mother.
“My editor and I thought it was important that if I was going to be poking so much fun at everyone else, we had to get a little personal as well,” she said. “The Princess Diana section is about me being adopted and growing up thinking that she was possibly my birth mother and when she died how I felt about it.”
Whether or not Houts is related to the “People’s Princess” is still up in the air.
Stay tuned: Julie Houts will take over our Instagram page on Oct. 24 to share new sketches, book excerpts and more.