"I'm eating a pic of Luke every day until he eats one of me."
That's the rallying cry of Tilly, a 5 Seconds of Summer fan who vowed publicly at the beginning of November to eat a photo of lead vocalist Luke Hemmings each day of the month.
For the past 25 days, Tilly has posted daily videos of the stunt on Twitter, attracting polarized reactions from the internet while she waits for Hemmings' approval.
Tilly's first video of eating a Luke photo racked up over 165,000 views. The second day's grabbed nearly 50,000. And while views have tapered off as the month has gone on, each new video Tilly posts gets over 1,000 views within a day.
truth is at the bottom of the ladder:— tilly misses 5sos :( (@getyouatilly) November 1, 2018
i will be eating pics of luke for the rest of my life
The videos are incredibly simple. Tilly holds up a photo of Luke, usually gives the camera a smirk, smile or duck face, and chews and swallows the photo in a matter of seconds. Often, she opens her mouth to make it clear there aren't any tricks involved.
"At first, the only people that had seen it were my mutuals and they all thought it was hilarious," Tilly tells MTV News about her stunt. "At the time, I only had about 100 followers so I didn't think many people would see it."
Tilly's idea to eat the Luke photos came from another 5SOS fan who did the same thing, but with pictures of Colleen Kelly, a YouTuber and high-profile member of the fandom. Neither of these photo eaters are alone, though, evidenced by a man who ate photos of Jason Segel every day for 100 days.
After the initial fanfare from Tilly's fellow fandom members, attention started pouring in from all corners of Twitter, with a wide range of opinions on her photo-eating thread.
the internet is a strange fucking place and i absolutely love it https://t.co/Ds7uwZEphB— 𝒿𝑜 🎞 (@hotspacevinyl) November 24, 2018
how has nobody sent this to her parents yet https://t.co/xdVEFLl4DL— amy (@cassiansnesta) November 27, 2018
y'all are weird https://t.co/F3S1ppe8n8— kayla 128 (@battooedbeart) November 25, 2018
"The hate got to me a bit, but when I realized that it doesn't matter what people on the internet — who I have never met in real life and probably never will — think about me, I just laughed it off," Tilly says.
"Now I find it quite funny and often retweet the particularly bad and funny ones."
Some backlash to Tilly's videos addressed the possible health concerns involved with eating photos every day.
And while there's no telling exactly what will result from regularly eating paper and ink, it comes with some serious risks, according to Will Bulsiewicz, MD MSCI, a board-certified gastroenterologist.
if i had money i'd print it on edible paper https://t.co/n0VA07pXsI— tilly misses 5sos :( (@getyouatilly) November 5, 2018
"There's very little scientific writing about paper ingestion," explains Dr. Bulsiewicz, who regularly shares health and nutrition facts with his 22,000 followers on Instagram. "We do know that ingestion of paper has the potential to cause abdominal pain, bloating, and digestive distress."
There's a large amount of ingredients in paper, including cellulose from trees, "fillers like clay, chalk, and calcium carbonate," and more chemicals that act as bleaching agents, strengthening agents and binders, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz.
Some components can't be digested and can cause blockages or perforations in the intestines, while others may "cause damage to the gut microbiome."
In terms of the ink, Dr. Bulsiewicz compares its ingestion to the consumption of dish-washing soap. That doesn't seem too risky, he says, but some possible printer-ink chemicals, like diethylene glycol, are "known to cause kidney and liver damage and may even affect brain function."
"To be fair," Dr. Bulsiewicz says, "these risks are most likely with ingestion that far exceeds what happens when you chew a boy-band picture and swallow. But the point is that there is no amount that is safe and even a small amount has the potential to harm."
Before beginning to eat daily photos of Luke, Tilly says, she "did do a bit of research into it and the general consensus of it was that it's not very good for you but it isn't going to harm me or make me sick."
After informing Tilly of Dr. Bulsiewicz's perspective, she admitted that she plans on stopping the stunt in the near future.
As for Tilly's hope that Luke will see her thread and actually eat a photo of her, both she and Dr. Bulsiewicz confess that chances aren't so high.
"I don't think he would ever" eat a photo of her, Tilly says of her original goal. "At this point I just want him to acknowledge the tweet."
"Personally, I would encourage Tilly to put that paper to good use and pen a thoughtful letter to Luke Hemmings, letting him know the positive influence he's had on her life and the ways he's inspired her," Dr. Bulsiewicz adds.
"There are better ways to capture someone's attention than to hurt yourself."
— Matt Gehring