I went down the Selena Gomez - Hailey Bieber rabbit hole. This is what I found

In the so-called drama between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber, we’re all grasping at straws. But Meredith Clark writes that’s exactly why it’s so entertaining.

Meredith Clark
Saturday 25 March 2023 11:41 GMT
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Three moments that make Selena Gomez fans claim Hailey Bieber copies her word-for-word

If the rumoured “feud” between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber is all you could think about over the past couple of weeks, don’t worry - you’re not alone.

Ever since Selena Gomez posted about her laminated eyebrows (and yes, this resurfaced drama was ignited by eyebrows), my social media feed has been filled with internet sleuths dissecting the years-long back and forth between Justin Bieber’s ex and his current wife of four years.

Just to be clear, the so-called drama between Selena and Hailey isn’t simply about their overlapping relationships with the former teen heartthrob. I would know, considering I’ve averaged about four hours a night on my phone, scrolling through videos of tattoo comparisons, screenshots of old tweets, and past award show appearances looking for some semblance of celebrity discord.

However, from my hours of investigation, I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s all there truly is to this supposed feud – speculation. But perhaps that’s why we’re all so invested, because we have nothing else to go off but clues.

It all began last month when Selena Gomez posted a video of herself to TikTok, where she shared that she “accidentally laminated my brows too much” – because we’ve all been there. Hours later, Kylie Jenner entered the chat when she shared a photo of her own eyebrows to her Instagram story, writing: “this was an accident ?????”

The Kylie Cosmetics founder then posted a following screenshot to her Instagram story showing her FaceTime call with pal Hailey Bieber and a close-up of their eyebrows taking up half the screen.

Of course, the internet did what the internet does. Fans instantly believed the Instagram story was a dig at Selena’s appearance, forcing Kylie to make a statement. “This is reaching,” she commented on a viral TikTok post. “No shade towards Selena ever and I didn’t see her eyebrow posts! u guys are making something out of nothing. This is silly.”

Things could’ve ended there, but the videos kept coming. One resurfaced clip went viral on TikTok which showed Hailey Bieber hosting her old show, Drop the Mic, alongside co-host and rapper Method Man. During the episode, Method Man was presenting a performance, which he described as “a one-on-one rap battle full of the meanest lyrics about a celebrity since Taylor Swift’s last album”.

At the mention of Swift, Bieber pretended to gag and stuck her tongue out before rolling her eyes. Fans accused Bieber of “mean girl” and “bully” behaviour, before Selena herself responded to the clip.

“So sorry, my best friend is and continues to be one of the best in the game,” she commented, seemingly signaling to fans that things may not be so copacetic between her and the model.

Then came the comparisons. A conspiracy theory later went viral on social media that accused Hailey of “copying” Selena, from their tattoo placements to their respective cooking shows.

One Selena-lover shared clips of alleged similarities between the 2020 cooking show Selena + Chef, which is in its fourth season on HBO Max, and Bieber’s 2022 “What’s In My Kitchen?” YouTube series. Others compared interview responses given by the two celebrities, who both wished people “knew” their “heart” – ah celebrities, they’re just like us. Fans have also accused Bieber of “copying” Gomez’s tattoo; the singer got a small lowercase “G” inked behind her ear and Bieber got a similar “G” tattoo behind her ear two years later.

If the alleged similarities between the two weren’t enough, fans have also resurfaced Hailey’s old tweets in support of #Jelena, because the internet is ruthless.

“I don’t care what anyone says but Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez together is the definition of a teenage dream!” she tweeted in September 2011, according to screenshots captured by Page Six.

“I’m for sure 100% team #Jelena,” she tweeted that same year.

“Selena Gomez is so cute. Don’t argue. Bye,” said another.

It seems that Hailey Bieber (neé Baldwin) was just one of the many tween-agers who were obsessed with “Jelena” – the nickname given to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s on-again, off-again relationship. The two took their relationship public at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in February 2011, before calling it quits in 2015. That same year, Justin was spotted kissing Hailey on New Year’s Eve in Turks and Caicos while Selena was partying with Kendall Jenner in Dubai. They reconciled in 2017, but were over for good by May 2018. Two months later, Justin proposed to Hailey and they were married that September.

The mountains of evidence and unwavering support for Selena Gomez, who has amassed a dedicated fanbase ever since she rose to Disney Channel stardom, didn’t bode well for Hailey Bieber. The nepo baby turned fashion “it girl” has worked hard to make a name for herself – one that’s separate from her actor father Stephen Baldwin, her even more famous uncle Alec, and her pop star husband.

In 2022, she launched her own eponymous beauty brand called Rhode Skin (two years after Selena Gomez founded Rare Beauty, but who’s counting?). With her seemingly effortless model off-duty style, Hailey easily became the inspiration behind multiple beauty trends that have gone viral this year: glazed donut nails, brownie glazed lips, and sleek bob hairstyles.

But as Hailey’s 10-year-old “feud” with Selena resurfaced, and internet users dubbed her as a “mean girl”, the 26-year-old model lost nearly one million followers on Instagram in one week – the platform that arguably contributed to her success. The “mean girl” label is a hard one to shake, especially when everything now exists online…forever. A hostess recently went viral after she told the world about the time Hailey Bieber “was not nice” to her at a restaurant.

So much so that on Friday 24 March, Selena Gomez called for an end to the “feud” by issuing a statement on her Instagram story – the first acknowledgment of any so-called drama that we’ve seen in the last 10 years. “Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity,” she wrote. “This isn’t what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying. I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop.”

Hailey followed up Selena’s statement with an Instagram post of her own. “I want to thank Selena for speaking out, as her and I have been discussing the last few weeks how to move past this ongoing narrative between her and I,” she said on her story.

“The last few weeks have been very hard for everyone involved and millions of people are seeing so much hate around this which is extremely harmful. While social media is an incredible way to connect and build community, moments like this only create extreme division instead of bringing people together.

“Things can always be taken out of context or construed differently than they were intended. We all need to be more thoughtful about what we post and what we say, including myself.”

“In the end, I believe love will always be bigger than hate and negativity, and there is always an opportunity to meet each other with more empathy and compassion.”

In the case of Selena, who has been known as the “girl next door” ever since she first appeared on Barney and Friends at just 10 years old, Hailey Bieber didn’t stand a chance.

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