Who is 'Instagram scammer' Caroline Calloway – and where is she now?

·5-min read
Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images
Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images

For those with a true crime or scammer obsession (Me! Hi! Hello!) the name Caroline Calloway is sure to be familiar... But for those not yet in the know? Buckle up, it's about to get juicy.

Why is Caroline Calloway famous?

Caroline Calloway Gotschall, born in Falls Church, Virginia, to a wealthy family, first rose to fame as a fairly stereotypical blogger in 2012, documenting her time studying creative writing at Cambridge University with beautiful photos accompanied by lengthy, poetic 'sad girl' captions. After convincing a leading literary agent's secretary that she had an appointment with him, Caroline also managed to score a six-figure book deal, however she never filed the full first draft and in 2017, said she was backing out of the deal, whilst battling with an Adderall problem, despite having already received 30% of the advance. The literary agent later described her as 'dishonest' and 'deeply unwell', as per The Guardian.

Things then took a further turn towards the end of 2018 and in early 2019, for two reasons.

Firstly: Caroline attempted to run a series of IRL 'creativity workshop' for her followers, charging $165 a ticket, but a viral Twitter thread painted them as the blogger's equivalent of Fyre Fest. In response, Caroline then wrote a Refinery 29 piece about the disastrous event (and her subsequent cancellation), how she was branded a scammer overnight (and how Taylor Swift was her muse during that tough time) and used the immortal line: "Scamming is my brand right now, but it’s a narrative I would like to be excluded from." She also said that the "event was disorganized because I’m always disorganized and I ordered too many mason jars", but that she actually felt many things had gone right during the workshops too, but that that had been glossed over by attendees.

It's also worth noting, that according to The Guardian, many were refunded the cost of their tickets.

Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images
Photo credit: Noam Galai - Getty Images

However, things continued to landslide for Caroline in September 2019, when her former friend, Natalie Beach, a fellow creative writing student, wrote a searing tell-all about her for The Cut, alleging that many of the lengthy Insta captions Caroline was famed for (and her book proposal), were actually her doing. Natalie described in the detail how the pair met at college and how she soon became financially dependent on Caroline, who would behave erratically and once kicked her out of the accommodation she'd promised her for the summer, essentially leaving her homeless.

Prior to the piece being published, Natalie sent Caroline a note about the impending article and Caroline quickly went on a social media tirade, ranting about her former friend and the audacity of it all, stirring up plenty of hype and intrigue in the process. She also edited the captions on her Instagram posts, to include references to Natalie. Sadly, a lot of Caroline's behaviour appeared to indicate some form of mental health struggles, which became car crash viewing for her 700,000 followers (and beyond).

What was Caroline Calloway addicted to?

Caroline has been open about having a past addiction to Adderall, a stimulant prescribed to help those with ADHD, which she began taking recreationally in 2011. In an interview with The Guardian in 2020, she said of her drug struggles: "They were delicious, I mean, don't get me wrong, they murdered my life and I'll never touch it again – but drugs are fun."

In Natalie's feature for The Cut, she also described Caroline as having bouts of depression and struggling to get out of bed for days on end, alongside her seemingly 'manic' behaviour, something which also no doubt further captured the public's attention, alongside the unravelling of their thorny, Gossip Girl-esque friendship.

According the Addiction Center, signs of an Adderall addiction may include:

  • Being overly talkative

  • Loss of appetite

  • Unusual excitability

  • Social withdrawal

  • Financial troubles

  • Aggression

  • Sleeping for long periods of time

  • Incomplete thoughts

  • Relationship problems

  • Disorientation

  • Mania

  • Impulsive behaviours

Caroline states in her Refinery 29 op-ed that she has generalised anxiety disorder and depression, too.

What happened to Caroline Calloway (where is Caroline Calloway now)?

In her Refinery 29 piece, Caroline said she initially 'leaned in' to the label of scammer, feeling she had little other choice: "I changed the hashtag I use in my Instagram captions from #adventuregrams to #adventurescams. I changed the name of my fandom from adventurefam to scamfam."

Now, according to her most recent social media forays/Instagram bio, she's still planning to release a book - without the assistance of a ghostwriter this time - called And We Were Like. However, her days of being a run-of-the-mill Instagrammer, relying on beautiful prose and imagery to gain followers and likes, has well and truly come to an end.

With regards to Caroline's next project, she will be making a brief cameo in a new hulu movie, Not Okay, out 29 July, about a young woman who fakes a trip to Paris to boost her online popularity:

Does Caroline Calloway have Instagram?

Yes, she does - but currently her profile is barren, featuring approximately zero posts. You can find it @CarolineCalloway. She also has a now-empty TikTok account that first popped up back in March of this year, featuring clips promoting her book, which she says is now available for pre-order, with the same handle; @CarolineCalloway.

My Insta Scammer Friend airs on BBC Three on 28 July and will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer

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