Those who are on BeReal (and there are many, enough to make it the No. 1 free app in the US and No. 2 in Canada and the UK), know that the notification demanding users that it’s “Time to BeReal” once a day, seems to always come at the most inopportune times. For days in a row it will pop up in the afternoon, prompting a user to take another photo of their laptop, forced to shield any work content open at that moment that may not be fit for the eyes of their dozen or so followers. Or, it comes when you’re laying on the couch at night, embarrassingly rewatching the previous season of RHONY because you just need to unwind a little. So, when the notification comes and you’re actually doing something interesting—say, at a Harry Styles concert—it’s cause for celebration.
OK, last night the notification actually went off around 6 PM ET (I checked), but despite the name and entire point of the app, at least one fan (and probably more) who attended Harry’s House last night, sat on her notification until she was in the pit of Madison Square Garden, face to face with Styles. Content with facing the stain of the “two hours late” mark on her post (an indicator which shows your followers how “real” you really were that day), the young woman asked Styles to take her BeReal.
“No!” the musician responded enthusiastically, once again treating MSG like a small jazz club filled with a few devoted fans instead of an arena packed with 20,000 screaming girls. Styles shuffled back on the stage, before changing his tune. “Yeah, come on then,” he said, reaching out for the phone. “What is it?” Unsurprisingly, the crowd goes while. “I’m ready,” he said, spreading his pink-panted legs in a power pose. “It’s my big social media shine.” Despite Styles’ immediate questioning of the app, he has no problems working it when he gets his hands on the fan’s phone, taking the two necessary photos for the post before tossing it back to the fan. “It’s real!” he says with a chuckle.
Of course, the resulting pictures are already all over social media, the selfie featuring Styles with his eyes half-closed, a mob of screaming fans recording the moment on their phones in front of him. And while the app has spawned memes of what celebrities’ posts on the app would be like, this may just be BeReal’s first authentic celebrity moment.
It’s notable that the moment comes from Styles, and not someone like Kylie Jenner, who has been noticeably more active on TikTok as her native Instagram continues its failure to keep up with the growing short form video platform. BeReal is the antidote to apps that generate mass followings, as it’s built around a small community where one is hypothetically supposed to feel comfortable enough to post authentically at any given moment. But if anyone could find a way to hijack that, it’s probably Jenner.
Styles, though, has made it clear he’s not a social media guy. He recently revealed he only uses Instagram to look at posts about plants and architecture and called Twitter “a shitstorm of people trying to be awful to people.” Maybe that’s why BeReal is the perfect alternative for him, a place where he can post a photo of his plant’s growth process for Olivia Wilde or Alessandro Michele to admire, away from the prying eyes of his rabid fanbase. Maybe, this whole event has convinced the singer that he too would like to BeReal.