Breaking up is hell, especially in the Internet age, when your now-kaput romantic life lives on through flirty tweets, luvved-up status updates and smiling vacation photos.
After a painful split with her boyfriend of three years, Toronto’s Cassandra Blackwell, 19, got creative rather than weepy. Instead of deleting the photo evidence, she reinvented it, replacing her ex’s face with pictures of Beyoncé.
Her tumblr page, Beyoncify My Boyfriend, struck a chord, and she’s been inundated with emails and tweets from the lovelorn ever since. “I’m not exactly equipped to help all these people through this,” she says. “But if I can make somebody smile, then I’m doing my part.”
Blackwell spoke to FLARE about being an Internet phenom, why she decided to reclaim her old pictures, and the healing power of Bey.
How did you get the idea to ‘Beyoncify’ your ex? I made the first picture in March. I was going through old Facebook photos—I think it was a Throwback Thursday—and I came across a picture of us at Canada’s Wonderland. I was like, “I really look adorable in this picture! I want to post this again.”… I literally just cut and pasted Beyoncé onto him, and I posted it on Facebook first. I think one person acknowledged it, and that was my big sister Carrie, and it was to make fun of my outfit. So, then I was like “OK, I’m going to post it on Twitter because people there appreciate my humour.”
Was it a painful breakup? It was because it was my first serious relationship. It was especially hard being in Toronto and away from my family, who live in Kingston, Ont. But some of the sites are making him out like he’s a bad guy and that wasn’t the case at all. It’s more that it just kind of died naturally. It was amicable.
What does your ex think about all of this? I’m not 100 percent sure, to be honest. We don’t really speak much. But I did talk to him when I decided to make the blog. I sent him an email that was like: “This happened on Twitter today. Let me know if you’re OK with it.” Basically, [his reply] was short: “Let’s just keep it anonymous and do what you want.” So that’s what I did. I feel like he probably thought it was just going to be my friends enjoying it. Nobody really expected it was going to be all over the place. But it’s fun.
Is the blog helping you in getting over the breakup? It has for sure, especially when I pulled up all the old pictures and stuff. They were difficult to look at, of course. But it was fun putting Beyoncé over them. It’s really fun to imagine that those times were actually spent with Beyoncé.
Are you getting a lot of emails from people who want to talk about their breakup? Yeah, I went through emails the other night with one of my friends because it’s becoming overwhelming to read them all myself. I made an email account for the site and I said, “I’d love to do your exes too. Send me pics to Beyoncify!”
When I woke up the next day there were hundreds of emails. It was crazy. Some of them were just sending me a picture and that’s that, but I’ve had an overwhelming number of people tell me what happened in their relationship and what their ex did to them and how they admire me going through a breakup and being able to laugh about it like this. It’s lovely to hear, of course. I love that I’m inspiring people to move past it better. But it’s overwhelming.
Have you Beyoncified anyone’s pics? I have. I’ve been doing them occasionally. I do have to work and stuff. I can’t spend all my time Beyoncifying!
Have you gotten any negative reactions? I have, actually, which is a little surprising. There was one girl, a psychology major, who wrote me to say this wasn’t a healthy way to cope. But I was like, “This is just a fun thing. It’s not supposed to be taken so seriously!”
Did you consider other options or was it always B? I chose Beyoncé immediately. I’ve been a diehard fan since I was a kid and would dance around to “Survivor.”