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How Demi Lovato’s image became an Internet meme sensation

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Memes have emerged as a unique form of expression and entertainment. They can be humorous, thought-provoking, or even bizarre, but one thing is for certain: memes often take on a life of their own, transcending the virtual realm and becoming a part of popular culture. One such meme that captivated the online world is the “Poot Lovato” meme.

This article delves into the fascinating phenomenon of the Poot Lovato meme, exploring how a single unflattering photograph of American singer and actress Demi Lovato transformed into a full-fledged internet sensation.

What Is Poot Lovato?

What Is Poot Lovato?

“Poot Lovato” is the moniker attributed to the American vocalist and performer, Demi Lovato. It originated from an unsightly photograph of the star that surfaced on Tumblr in October 2015. Following its appearance on the Internet, the image has given rise to an array of digitally manipulated caricatures and a fictitious narrative revolving around an entirely fabricated twin persona of Demi Lovato.

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Who is Demi Lovato?

Who is Demi Lovato?

Demetria Devonne “Demi” Lovato, born on August 20, 1992, is an American singer, songwriter and actress Her journey in the entertainment world began with her role on the children’s television series, Barney & Friends from 2002 to 2004. She gained widespread recognition by portraying “Mitchie Torres” in the musical television film Camp Rock (2008), and its sequel Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” (2010). Her debut single, This Is Me, a duet with Joe Jonas from the first film, reached number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Lovato’s career continued to soar as she signed with Hollywood Records. Her debut pop-rock album, Don’t Forget (2008), debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200. The follow-up, Here We Go Again (2009), debuted at number one in the U.S., and its title track reached number 15 on the Hot 100. Her third studio album, Unbroken (2011), explored pop and R&B genres and produced the U.S. platinum-certified single, “Skyscraper”. In 2013, she released her eponymous fourth album, which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and included the internationally successful song “Heart Attack.”

Lovato’s fifth and sixth albums, Confident (2015) and Tell Me You Love Me (2017), incorporated soulful sounds and mature themes. Confident earned her a Grammy Award nomination and “Sorry Not Sorry”, the lead single from Tell Me You Love Me, became her highest-charting single in the U.S., reaching number six.

She released her seventh and eighth albums, Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting Over (2021) and Holy Fvck (2022).

Additionally, Lovato has made a mark in the world of television. She starred as the titular character in the sitcom, Sonny with a Chance (2009–2011), served as a judge in the second and third seasons of the music competition series, The X Factor USA and appeared as a recurring character on the musical comedy Glee (2013–2014), and the sitcom Will & Grace (2020). Her acting credits also include roles in the television drama film Princess Protection Program (2009), the animated comedy film Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017), and the musical comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020).

Lovato has sold over 24 million records in the United States and has received numerous accolades, including an MTV Video Music Award, 14 Teen Choice Awards, five People’s Choice Awards, two Latin American Music Awards, and even a Guinness World Record. She was also featured on the Time 100 annual list in 2017.

Notably, Lovato is an advocate for several social causes and her struggles with issues such as eating disorders and substance abuse have garnered significant media attention. She authored the self-help memoir, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year (2013), and released the documentaries Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated (2017) and Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil” (2021), to shed light on her journey and challenges.

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Poot Lovato Story

Poot Lovato Story

On the crimson carpet preceding Lovato’s performance at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance at the Palladium Theatre on November 13, 2014, an unidentified mobile phone user captured an image of Lovato. Subsequently, the photograph underwent editing. As of November 3, 2015, both the original photographer and the initial editor remain anonymous.

On October 3, 2015, a Tumblr user, Versaceslut, shared a sketched portrayal of Lovato, inspired by the altered depiction of the pop sensation, in the fashion of the “I Have Drawn You” fan art trend. In just over a fortnight, the post amassed more than 75,000 notes.

On October 11, 2015, Tumblr Cstcrpt published the image accompanied by a caption that stated: “Demi’s doppelgänger. She endured a life confined to a cellar. This photograph was taken on her inaugural venture outdoors. She goes by the name Poot.”

The post garnered over 87,000 notes before the user deactivated their Tumblr account.

In the ensuing days, the image rapidly proliferated throughout Tumblr, with certain users incorporating the photograph into digitally manipulated images and contributing to the narrative.

On October 12t, 2015, a Twitter user @OfficialPoot initiated tweets while portraying Lovato’s alter ego. The user amassed more than 3,700 followers in the first week. On October 16, 2015, Wattpad user KayleeMarieTodd commenced the expansion of Poot’s backstory in a fanfiction piece, titled: “The Secret History of Poot Lovato.” Infusing elements of the Demi Lovato fan community, including the phrase “Delete It, Fat!”, the backstory received over 40,500 reads and 820 votes. Moreover, some individuals endeavoured to establish a Wikipedia page for Poot Lovato, but it was removed and identified as a fabrication.

On October 23, 2015, Lovato tweeted a response to the Poot meme, which she later deleted. She remarked: “It’s intriguing to witness an unflattering perspective transform into an internet sensation, amusing people. Ha.”

She subsequently added: “Oh, and to make actual ‘headlines’.” By October 25th, these tweets had been removed, as reported by Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Despite her reservations about the meme, Lovato tweeted a GIF of the image on April 3, 2017. Within the initial 18 hours, the tweet garnered more than 36,000 retweets and 79,000 likes.

The Poot Lovato Meme

Memes indeed have a knack for taking on a life of their own, and the Poot Lovato meme was a prime example of this phenomenon. Internet users, armed with image editing software and a healthy dose of humour, embarked on a creative journey by creating numerous parodies of the original photograph. These parodies ranged from inserting Poot Lovato into famous historical events to seamlessly integrating her into iconic movie scenes.

The fictional twin sister persona of Poot Lovato sparked a surge of creativity among fans. Fan art and fan fiction depicting Poot’s misadventures and escapades alongside Demi Lovato flooded social media platforms, offering a delightful blend of imagination and humour.

Poot Lovato’s meme status did not stop at fan creations; it extended to dedicated social media accounts centred on the multi-faceted artist. These accounts shared witty and fictional updates about Poot’s life, often involving humorous interactions with other celebrities.

Even well-known figures in the entertainment world could not resist the allure of Poot Lovato. Some celebrities jumped on the bandwagon, contributing their Poot-related content, which only added to the meme’s widespread popularity and appeal.

Numerous Tumblr users have expressed concerns about the Poot Lovato meme, deeming it problematic on several fronts. Some have specifically criticised it as ableist, as the backstory seems to incorporate elements of Poot’s character that could be interpreted as portraying her as differently abled. Additionally, the humour associated with the meme often involves critiques of both Demi Lovato and “Poot Lovato’s” physical appearances, which have been viewed as anti-feminist.

Moreover, the altered skull structure attributed to Poot has led to comparisons with the microcephalic character Pepper from the television series “American Horror Story”. These comparisons have also been denounced as ableists by advocates for disability rights and inclusivity.

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