Conspiracy Theory: Celebs Stage Their Own Pap Shots

Mehera Bonner
Photo credit: Splash News

From Cosmopolitan

Hey, cutie. Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April issue, so if you like what you see, you should probably snag a hard copy ASAP. Bye!

Let’s think back, for a moment, to simpler times. Times when celebs leaked their locations to photogs from their Black­Berrys. Pre-Instagram, an omg-I-didn’t-see-you-there pic was the only way to show off an “effortless” OOTD or a budding ’ship.

Now, stars can post anything at any time on their own feeds. So who needs the paps anymore? They do. Because some things (read: convincing #RelationshipGoals snaps) just hit differently when they’re “candid.” Basically, famous people still tip off the TMZs of the world to control their own narratives...without seeming like they’re trying to control their own narratives. It’s meta, it’s sneaky, and you’re too damn smart to fall for these setups. At least, now you are. Enjoy this walk down memory lane of times we're pretty pos that these celebs thought they were getting away with it:

When they need to hype a completely real, not-at-all-fake relationship

Photo credit: Splash News

So Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello happened to be doing their best impression of horny mermaids right before releasing their thirst-trap track “Señorita”...just as a photographer was passing by? Sure.

When they’re tryna maximize ~content~

Photo credit: Splash News

Look, if I rented a $250-mill yacht for my 22nd b-day like Kylie, I’d want to show it off too. And when you’ve already posted an appropriate number of grid shots, why not work that eager troop of paps to your advantage?

When they wanna show off their mans...

Photo credit: Raymond Hall - Getty Images

…without making their followers roll their eyes over a mushy-gushy post about how much they love Pete Davidson. Plus, Ariana Grande managed to subtly flash her Big Engagement Ring Energy via her Starbs grip—without having to post a ring shot like an attention-seeking basic B.

When they’re trying to promote a new album

Photo credit: Raymond Hall - Getty Images

Taylor Swift can go months without being spotted by cameras. She basically hibernates between albums, so the times she is seen leaving her house (in perfect makeup, natch) are all about getting more eyeballs on whatever she’s working on.

When they’re sponcon-ing something without telling the FTC

Photo credit: Raymond Hall - Getty Images

Matching your outfit to your soda can and holding said can in the most label-showing way = highly sus. FWIW, Kendall says this wasn’t an ad, but at the very least, I’ve gotta think she was distancing herself from a certain *other* iconic drink.


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