On Jan. 7, Gypsy Rose Blanchard posted a TikTok chronicling her first trip to New York. Soundtracked by Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York (Taylor’s Version),” the post featured a slideshow of photos of Blanchard and her husband, Ryan Scott Anderson, as they toured local hotspots like Times Square and Radio City Music Hall.
The TikTok garnered more than a million likes and a deluge of positive comments like “legendary queen” and “such an icon.” The TikTok encapsulates a series of monumental shifts in Blanchard’s life: her release from prison, her subsequent rise to fame and her entrance into adulthood.
“I’m coming into this just brand new,” Blanchard told HuffPost during a Zoom press conference on Jan. 9 for a Lifetime docuseries about her called “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.”
“I feel like I’m a new baby bird on the internet. I don’t even know how to do all of the emojis,” she added.
Now 32, Blanchard experienced almost none of her youth as a normal child. She suffered years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, who is believed to have had factitious disorder imposed on another, formerly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy. It is a psychological disorder in which a parent makes up or causes an illness or injury in their child.
Dee Dee convinced doctors, nonprofits and family members that Blanchard hadleukemia, asthma and muscular dystrophy. She also made her daughter, as well as others, believe she was younger than she was.
In 2016, Blanchard was found guilty of aiding her ex-boyfriend in the murder of her mom and served eight years in prison. A few days before the end of 2023, Blanchard was released on parole.
Anderson and Blanchard are seen leaving "The View" on Jan. 5, 2024, in New York.
Finally, Blanchard is free and coming into her own. She’s getting all the experiences she lost as a young girl, but at an incredible pace — and it’s primarily thanks to Gen Z.
The demographic has embraced her: her TikTok has skyrocketed to nearly 10 million followers and the hashtag #gypsyrose has almost 5 billion views on the app.
Speaking on her story being etched into the Gen Z zeitgeist, Blanchard told HuffPost, “I think it’s great,” before saying that she thinks the generation relates to her “because I’m coming out and experiencing things for the first time” that she didn’t as a teenager.
“And I’m just doing it now for the first time, so I think maybe I’m a little bit more relatable in that sense, and I think we all kind of feel the need to want to be loved and seen for who we are,” she said. “So I think that’s the appeal about me— is that I’m learning about my identity while Gen Z is learning about theirs, too.”
Her rise to stardom among Gen Z is surprising even to the creators and influencers who have promoted her story.
Haley Price, who has more than a million followers on TikTok and co-hosts the true crime podcast “Inhuman Podcast,” told HuffPost that the podcast’s 2022 episode on Blanchard had more downloads than their other episodes. Price said that she and her podcast listeners are “happy” to see Blanchard live her life for the first time because abuse victims don’t always get that chance.
“I have never seen anything like this,” Price said. “It’s pretty incredible how fast everything happened. There were definitely people that knew her story before the murder, but the story that was known was that she was suffering from all of these illnesses. So after the murder, when everything came out about what her mother had done to her, I think a lot of that brought a lot of sympathy.”
Melissa Moore, the executive producer of “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” echoed that sentiment to HuffPost during the press conference, characterizing Blanchard’s story as “Gen Z’s O.J. Simpson case.”
“I think her case was the equivalent to [O.J.’s for] Gen Z because they were just coming to know the world and they saw for the first time that the world is unfair and that [she] went to prison,” Moore said. “A lot of Gen Z has come up to me and expressed that. And that their interest in following Gypsy is that the scale of justice did her wrong, but they’re hoping that the scale of life does her right.”