You probably don’t know their names, but Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer are two of the most influential women in the entertainment industry right now, loved by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen. They certainly know their power, but you’re probably more familiar with the Comments By Celebs Instagram account they run together, which has amassed a whopping 1.1million followers (and steadily, steadily growing). The project - which started less than two years ago - has not only become a point of fascination for fans, and the celebrities they hold to god like status, but a massive brand, with the wielding power to break news and create headlines. (Oh, and they have a spin-off podcast too.)
It’s even more impressive when you discover that the account only started as a hobby while the girls were studying at Syracuse University in America. Talking to Grazia Daily, Emma says that she started the account when Instagram ‘changed their algorithm to highlight verified comments’, however, it’s the speed in which the pair capitalized on the change which has enabled them to work on the account full time. (And the brand has grown so exponentially that they’ve employed another person - their friend Isabel - to help.) Emma says, when they started the account, they were relentlessly scrolling and sourcing all the content themselves, but now it’s eagle-eyed fans who often spot the best comments, sliding into their DMs to share screenshots, leaving time for Emma and Julie to focus on other aspects of the brand that has almost become an entertainment news outlet in its own right.
“Recently I’d say [the account] has really made the shift from just humour to also really entertainment news,” Emma explained. “Because comments make headlines so a lot of time the comments that we post end up making headlines, so sometimes we break stories so that’s the kind of how the account has evolved.” With advent of social media, most entertainment news sites look to Instagram for quick and easy stories, whether that’s a joke between two celebrities, a photo of a popstar looking great in a bikini or a family announcement. But ‘clapbacks’ or a feud, played out by social media, are like catnip to showbiz journalists. It’s easy drama, with a lot of the leg work needed to find a story removed. Most recently, the Kardashians versus Jameela Jamil debate hit websites across the world when The Good Place star commented on a photo of Kardashian advertising a weight loss product on Instagram, writing: “If you're too irresponsible to: a) own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic, rather than this laxative products… And b) tell them the side effects...then I guess I have to.” (Comments By Celebs re-posted it.) “We understand that and take that seriously, and that’s kind of why if you see our comments they’re mostly positive,” Emma says, talking about the headlines the brand has the power to create. “We’re not in the business of shading people, or highlighting negativity. If there’s a great clapback, we’re going to post it - but more so, we thrive on the headlines that we’re creating that are positive.”
With over a million followers - including Gwyneth Paltrow (‘kind, really funny’), Chrissy Teigen (their favourite), John Mayer, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas and his fiancé Sophie Turner - celebrities are definitely not naive to the power of the brand. Yet Julie and Emma are both far too humble to admit that celebrities might leave vaguely funny comments in the hope that they will be noticed, then quickly screenshotted and uploaded to the account. “We always say that we would never say that somebody’s leaving a comment to try and get our attention,” Julie says. “I think that celebrities and their teams are noticing that comments are making headlines so they’re more inclined to want to comment, totally. I also think no matter how famous you are, it’s human nature to want to be considered funny; everybody wants everybody to think they’re witty, they’re funny and they’re smart. So, if you have the opportunity to make a witty comment, and they know that it’s going to be blasted to millions of people, why wouldn’t you take that up?”
But what if they’re unsure? What if a post is really funny, but it could result in pissing someone, who has over 50 million followers, off if it’s shared on the account? Well, unlike many journalists, Comments By Celebs asks for permission. Both women said part of the reason the account has been endorsed by so many A-listers - including Kelly Ripa, who first got the word out about the account on her talk show Live! - is Julie and Emma’s relationships with the celebs they cover. “They really get it that our goal is to be respectful and we want them to be able to trust us,” Emma told us. “I always tell it because it’s so true, there’s been so many examples where we see something, and we know it’s going to go viral, but there’s a little bit of uncertainty over whether or not we think they’d be okay with it. We always ask. If it’s someone we have a relationship with, we’ll message them ‘Hey, just seen this and we want to get your permission first, because I know it’s going to make headlines.’ I think that they respond really well to that, because they’re not used to that.” And amazingly, as a result, nobody has ever requested for a photo to be taken down. The pair also say that celebrities, when they do meet them in real life at showbiz events, are surprised. “I think what’s really fun for us is meeting them [celebs],” Julie laughs. “The people that know the account, when we meet them it’s always interesting because they never envision that it would be us. I don’t really know what they have a picture of, but it isn’t us, they meet us and they’re like ‘oh my God, we didn’t expect you to be so fun.’”
Other than clapbacks, one of the other things we all seem to be obsessed with are unconventional celebrity pairings. The Sun noticed recently that Paris Hilton and Jack Whitehall have been enjoying an unexpected flirtatious friendship, which, presumably, was noticed after Paris commented a load of heart eyes on the comedian’s posts. “We get sent comments by Paris Hilton on Jack Whitehall’s photos a lot, I don’t know too much about it, but other people have noticed that too,” Emma says. Even more unusual, Julie says the first bizarre celebrity friendship they noticed was Barbara Streisand and Jamie Foxx. “We were just scrolling one day and after a couple of pictures we see that Jamie Foxx has commented on like every single one,” she said. “He was like ‘You’re the most beautiful woman’ and I said to Julie, did you have any idea they were friends!?”
But now, instead of merely observing them, they’ve successfully struck up their own friendships with some of the richest, and most famous, people in the world, what plans do Comments By Celebs have for the future? “We’re going to continue with the account and continue to grow that the way it has been growing,” Emma states. “We’re looking to expand the podcast and have really cool celebrity guests, we really want to continue to make that a way to engage with our followers - we’re really building a company and a brand. Our goal is to be a household name and to continue to grow in the entertainment news space.” But that’s hopefully not before Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson follows them. “We’re like a fan club for The Rock, we would love him to get involved,” Julie laughs.