Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.
The tabloid press started the trend for couple hybrid names such as Brangelina and TomKat in the 2000s, but the concept has been co-opted by a new generation for a different purpose. Inspired by the tradition of internet fanfiction communities, who ‘ship’ their favourite fictional character pairings from TV shows, films and books, teenagers are doing the same with their favourite celebrities. You might have heard of Larry Stylinson, an imagined relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson from One Direction. And today, one of the most popular examples is Hannie, aka YouTube stars Hayden Summerall and Annie LeBlanc.
Their names may sound like characters from a young adult novel, but 12-year-old Hayden and 13-year-old Annie are actually real people. What’s not real (as far as we know) is their romantic relationship. The two tweens are just friends, but their fans think they’d be so perfect together that they’ve formed an entire community around the idea. This involves a great deal of creativity, from writing fanfiction, to making tribute videos, and editing images of the pair to suit the storyline in their collective imagination.
It might not be easy for Hayden and Annie to deal with the pressure and speculation around their relationship at such a young age, but the Hannie obsession clearly comes from a place of admiration and goodwill. Their mostly-female fans find Annie relatable, and want to see her dating a cute boy in the same way they’d hope for a friend to find romance with their school crush. The popularity of Hannie has already translated into success for the scripted YouTube series Chicken Girls. The creators, Gen Z media company Brat, cleverly cast them as a fictional couple. Hannie helped Chicken Girls achieve 55 million views in its first season, and opportunities to appear in traditional TV and film projects are sure to follow.
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Image courtesy of Tiger Beat