I’m willing to bet that if you’ve heard of actress Ana de Armas, you’ve heard of her most infamous stan account, @ArmasUpdates.
Celebrity fan accounts like Ana de Armas Updates exist on Twitter or Instagram, where they provide constant updates on an artist they passionately support. Stan accounts can be a great resource for recent paparazzi photos, or updates about its celebrity’s projects and awards. Sometimes, these accounts will respond to news about their celebrity; occasionally, this can turn sour, where the celebrity might weaponize their fandom to push their own agenda, for instance, or to defend their own offensive behavior or opinions. Usually, stan accounts are unconditionally supportive of their celebrity, regardless of how they might act.
But in recent months, Ana de Armas Updates has fashioned itself into a new kind of the stan account, one that balances a praise of the Cuban actress with subtle and humorous critique of her behavior amid COVID-19 — behavior that has occasionally been irresponsible (going outside for frequent walks in spite of lockdown, and forgoing a protective face covering when she does.) The effect is that Ana de Armas Updates has become a sort of hybrid presence on the internet: part fan account, part activist account, and part comedy account.
Ana de Armas Update’s subtle needling of the actress eventually led to the ultimate betrayal: In mid-April, de Armas blocked the account. Soon after, the official Twitter for Knives Out (the Rian Johnson film for which de Armas is best known) also blocked the account (although the feud was resolved and they are now on amicable terms.)
Despite of the blocking, Ana de Armas Updates has continued to post about de Armas, while also sharing resources with its nearly 24,000 followers regarding such things as Black Lives Matter, the Yemeni civil war, and COVID-19 protective measures (it briefly changed its Twitter username to “Ana Defund the Police Armas Updates”).
Earlier this week, Ana de Armas Updates, who describes themself as “a recent college graduate working in the health-care industry” spoke with the Cut about the account, their thoughts on Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas’s relationship (a.k.a. BenAna), and who they would stan if they were forced — in extreme circumstances — to stop supporting de Armas.
Why and when did you begin this account?
This account began as — and still is — a fandom source for Ana de Armas: to celebrate her and promote her professional projects and achievements. It was created last fall when I realized that Ana’s star was rising, and I wanted to help track that trajectory (particularly for American audiences; Ana has a multitude of great fan accounts based in international territories).
How did you feel when she blocked you?
Obviously disappointed. I strive to be her biggest cheerleader, and when it happened I felt empty … It was like, Where do I go from here? I started this account so I could wholeheartedly support its namesake. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong — just being tongue-in-cheek about how she had been handling things during these unprecedented times. I still maintain this approach because that is what comes naturally to me — it’s my voice.
However, she did have every right to block my fan account. She found what I said to be a nuisance, and I have to understand that. It was also a swift power move on her part — and I admire that.
How do you feel about her relationship with Ben Affleck?
She can befriend or date whoever she wants; it’s not my place to judge who she is associated or romantically involved with, unless they are considered to be an actual detriment to her, because that is her choice and life. I am a fan of them separately, and even more so together. They are clearly very happy as a couple. And, for the record, they are 100 percent real.
Your account balances praise de Armas with subtle and humorous critique of her behavior amid COVID-19. This is unusual for stan accounts, who often stan their celebrity even if they’re acting badly. Why did you choose to do both? When did you decide to be a bit more critical? And how do you balance those two things?
I have never understood the concept of blind worship or sugarcoating in fandoms or the stan Twitter community. If a celebrity — or anyone, for that matter — is not acting appropriately, I believe one has to accept the consequences of being criticized by others. As a public figure, Ana de Armas is put to task of utilizing her platform properly, and curating her image knowing that it is how others will perceive her.
I took on the role of being her “quasi-publicist.” My approach is one of lighthearted sarcasm because I do not mean to offend, but I want to be absolutely aware of the way she has presented herself in photos. As a stan account, of course, I adore her, but I also want to help her in realizing that her actions can be impressionable when it comes to how they are interpreted by the people that follow her.
It’s almost like tough love — that’s where the balance comes in. I’m just looking out for her, especially now that there are more eyeballs watching her every public move.
Is there anything she could do that would officially stop you from stanning her, and is there another celebrity you would consider stanning instead?
Blatant bigotry such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, or enabling any terrible behavior would result in an un-stanning. Her current actions are far from being similar to those, so I still stan. I stan other actresses (actresses are more interesting than actors) such as Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.
How do you feel about de Armas being one of the few subjects of celebrity paparazzis since COVID began? Do you think she’s taking advantage of the moment, or that she’s acting irresponsibly? Both?
Nobody thought that COVID would cause such an impact on our daily lives, and I am sure she did not as well. The Hollywood machine just came to a halt. This was supposed to be her big year of A-list clout with projects such as No Time to Die playing a Bond girl, Deep Water playing a femme fatale opposite her boyfriend Ben Affleck, and also her much-anticipated star performance as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde (now confirmed to release in 2021).
She was due to be as visible as she is today, but on red carpets and press tours, in contrast to the reality of this quarantine era. Her association with Ben Affleck — no stranger to the tabloids — during this time caused a sensation, because the paparazzi are literally camped outside their residence tracking their every move.
However, there is something to be said about their constant, elaborate dog walks and Dunkin’ Donuts runs. Perhaps they are playing into it because the paparazzi come with the territory. I will continue giving her the benefit of the doubt that she knows exactly what she is doing.