Madeline Argy is Unwell: How this brutally honest and chaotic UK influencer became a global sensation

Posted by Emilie McMeekan in News

2 months ago

This week it was announced that Alexandra Cooper, host and founder of the Call Her Daddy podcast, was launching a network called Unwell. In her Instagram announcement, Cooper described it as: “A community and network dedicated to alllll things unwell. More shows. More voices. More crazy f****** stories.” She also posted a redacted document of the first two signings on the Unwell talent roster who will host new podcasts, sending the TikTok community into a spin.

Speculation that Alix Earle was one of the signings (which has since been confirmed) hit fever pitch when Earle posted on TikTok that she had a big announcement to share about what she was doing next, now her hot mess summer was ending. Earle is a construction heiress whose antidote to Instagram’s chilly perfection has earned her millions of followers. And the other name at the top of the list? UK creator Madeline Argy. On Tuesday, it was confirmed: “Madeline Argy is officially Unwell.” The Unwell network Instagram gained 11,000 followers in the first 30 minutes and has since climbed to 213,000.

Madeline Argy Energy has been running hot through the summer. Argy has been called the UK’s Emma Chamberlain, referencing the LA-based influencer who went from YouTube to high fashion and now has her own coffee line. TikTok is producing It girls at a rate of knots these days, from Iris Law to Sofia Richie Grainge and Ivy Getty. However, Argy is different because – crucially – she is not a nepotism baby.

Madeline Argy Energy is chaos and honesty

Sussex-born Madeline Argy is 23, with 4.5 million followers on TikTok. She started posting on the platform in March 2021 and her TikTok videos featured a little lip syncing, a little cooking. But her most successful videos were brutally honest posts about her mental health (she spent two years at a special school), improbable adventures (she worked at an American summer camp) and her sex life (she’s bisexual). The bisexuality element is important because in 2022, the UK TikTok community played detective and uncovered that she was in fact dating UK’s hottest rapper, Central Cee. His hit Doja begins with the now-famous lyric: “How can I be homophobic, my b**** is gay?” and TikTok became fixated with the song and the identity of the woman. An investigation led to the unmasking of Argy, because of a shared hoodie. A year later, Central Cee is at the top of the charts again with his track Sprinter, and the pair have been filmed together, inspiring #couplegoals comments. Her Instagram is scrapbook in style, featuring candid Carousels of food, cartoons and more styled-up shots.

Despite her A-list relationship, Argy’s content has not wavered from its chaotic, relatable reminiscing of her dating disasters, school horrors and mental health issues. She also went viral in July (34 million views), with this post. In it, Argy is crying and asking what DJs actually do, and this led to stellar DJs such as Diplo reposting it, and Loud Luxury remixing her video at a set in Brooklyn Mirage. She’s been at the shows, with Ami Paris, at the Monaco Grand Prix with McClaren, as well as LA. She posted about her most recent depressive episode and being sent a Stanley Cup by the brand (and exercise clothes which she said she’d never wear because she doesn’t exercise). There was a 60% spike in Stanley Cup iceflow searches on Google that day.

On TikTok, commercially, Argy is very cautious. She usually says no to brand events because she finds them draining. She doesn’t often name her products in her GRWMs leaving her fans to dissect in the comments. There are occasional flashes of products such as ELEMIS, Charlotte Tilbury and Nars, but what Argy is tapping into is the rise of the companionship factor that is shaping the new generation of creators. People log on for what feels like a FaceTime call catch-up with a friend – the brands and the products are adjacent, in the background. On YouTube, her vlogs are more involved but similarly low key about brands. A recent trip to LA involved a Levi’s fitting and a secret shoot, and the video was sponsored by Depop.

Argy has a podcast where she talks about sex and relationships but it’s not regularly updated, which brings us to the news of her signing to the Unwell stable. Looping into Unwell’s themes, Argy’s openness on relationships and mental health make her the perfect fit as the UK voice of Cooper’s stable, with Argy’s new podcast launching in September. Unwell matching Argy with Alix Earle defines her as part of this new generation of content creators.

There is no room for doubt, Cooper is an expert and ruthlessly sure of herself – she refused to adapt her content when she was part of the Barstool Sports network, went solo when her co-founder refused to continue, and then in 2021 she signed a US $60 million (£47 million) deal with Spotify. Call Her Daddy has been the second most-popular podcast on the platform every year. Now she has Argy in her corner, and with her singular style of storytelling, Madeline Argy may be Unwell, but she may also be unstoppable.

By Emilie McMeekan, CORQ features director. Picture credit: Madeline Argy via Instagram