The influencer's Instagram following was kickstarted when she bought 40,000 followers in 2013Yiggie9 / DroitetLiberté / Wikimedia commons

Caroline Calloway, an American influencer and St. Edmund’s alum, has claimed that she lied on her Cambridge application. Calloway, whose 600,000 social media following was built upon Instagram posts about her experience at Cambridge, told Vanity Fair last week that she “forged” her grade transcript.

Calloway applied to Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge multiple times over a four-year period, before finally receiving an offer from Cambridge in 2013. During this period, she was still an undergraduate at New York University. She claimed to Vanity Fair that she “couldn’t live the rest of [her] life with an NYU email address.”

She told Vanity Fair this week that she faked details on her application to Cambridge: “I lied on my application. I forged my transcript when I got in”.

Calloway kickstarted her Instagram following by buying 40,000 followers in 2013. Her Instagram captions followed her life as a “bright-eyed American undergraduate among a glamorous and decadent elite”, notes her Vanity Fair profile. The “semi-fictional” posts featured “very, very long confessional captions”, creating a “real-time” memoir of her time in the university.

In 2015, she described her college - St. Edmund’s - as “objectively the worst” college. In her second and third years, she rented rooms at Downing and King’s, for the sake of “living in a beautiful college”. It was the parties she threw in these rented rooms, Calloway told Varsity in 2020, that earned her a reputation for being the “Gatsby of Cambridge.” On Twitter, she describes herself as “the patron saint of Cambridge and chaotic good”.


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Calloway also told Varsity of her love for the limelight, whether it brings fame or infamy: “I take up a lot of space online and I’m not that famous. And that’s what I’m most proud of.” She also said: “I want to be famous. I want to be rich. [...] I want to live comfortably.”

The Cambridge alum also expressed the value she applies to “fakeness”: “What actually pulls in the likes and what actually keeps a community quiet and calm is just faking it to a certain degree.”

Calloway’s post-Cambridge life has often courted controversy, as her former NYU classmate Natalie Beach claimed to be her uncredited ghost-writer, of both Calloway’s Cambridge Instagram captions and the proposal for her memoir, in a 2019 expose. In the same year, her $165 per-head series of creativity workshops was dubbed a “one-woman Fyre Fest,” after journalist Kayleigh Donaldson described the tour as “influencer nonsense,” and Calloway as a “blatant scammer.”

When contacted by Varsity, St. Edmund’s College said: “We cannot comment on individual students, however we take statements like this very seriously.”

Caroline Calloway was contacted for comment.