All of Life’s Secrets Are Hidden in Britney Spears’ Instagram

Britney Spears saved my Sunday by releasing a 32-second Instagram video of her painting a diptych on the terrace of an ivy-clad villa dressed in nothing but a white bra, boxer shorts, trainers and a paint-splotched shirt. Mozart’s Turkish March is playing. Britney, deeply focused, bends her head while gently dabbing paint on the canvas. Her two-piece artwork, blue and violet flowers next to (something that looks like) the eye of a candy-colored whirlwind, sits on a small easel. A soft breeze blows. The yard is drenched in sunlight.

Since Sunday, the video has been viewed almost four million time and been reposted by people like designer J.W. Anderson and artist Oda Jaune — which I mention only because it’s delightfully random. Everyone I know has seen it and loved it. Why does this video spark such joy?

The more I watch it, the more questions I have. For instance, Britney wears two slightly different outfits in the video: one with a paint-splotched shirt, one with a transparent, sleeveless blouse. Was this filmed in two sequences? If this isn’t a spontaneous shot, what is it? Why does the music cut off so abruptly at the end? Why Mozart? Why is she painting flowers when there are no flowers around? Why is she painting at all? Did she even paint this? Is this really Britney Spears? And if yes: Does this mean that she’s planning a comeback even though she’s been back depending on who you ask?

Britney Spears is the ultimate figure of nostalgia. She was the first pop star I ever heard of, “Lucky” the first pop song I ever listened to. Just the sight of Britney Spears makes me think wistfully back to those wonderful years when I knew every line of “Oops!… I Did it Again” without knowing what any of it meant, when I dreamed of becoming a pop singer who wore silver eyeshadow and red latex overalls.

You could argue that Britney painting to Mozart went viral because there’s something ridiculous about it, because there’s nothing more entertaining to a reality show-obsessed society than watching a former megastar be kind of embarrassing and unaware of it. Scrolling through Britney’s Instagram feed is a wild trip past pictures of at-home “fashion shows,” rainbows, pink clouds, videos of her dancing halfheartedly across a stage in glittery underwear, mysterious quotes (“You know what I love about people? Their dogs.”), snaps of family dinners and gym poses. She’s like a character from Desperate Housewives.

Some cynics or critics may consider this video the latest addition to Britney’s string of breakdowns that began the day she shaved her head bald — an incident that, as a side note, marked its 10th anniversary this year.

But watch closely. Doesn’t Britney seem at one with the world here? I can’t help but feel like she’s making fun of me a little, like she knew I’d send the video to friends with no context besides “Omg.” Look at her opulent surroundings, look at the sunny day, look at her free time with which she used to paint. This is a woman who is doing well — so well, in fact, she’s impervious to the judgement of others.

“Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!!”, her caption reads, followed by an armada of silly emojis. For once, a celebrity is so out of touch with the world, she’s in touch with it again. It’s refreshing to see someone take so much pleasure in a painted doodle, to take such advantage of a lazy, sunny Sunday. Honestly, we could all learn something from it. If Britney Spears’ infamous head-shaving was a cry for help following the descent of a glorious career, this video is proof she’s so far past it, she can’t even believe the internet still references it.

Here she is, at ease, proving she’s mastered the highest art of all: self-aware irony. If Britney Spears can emancipate herself from the world’s judgment, can’t we all?

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images.

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  • Obsessed with the questions stemming from the video. My theory is that she got too hot in the first shirt so changed into the translucent one, which also relates to why she chose to add red into the mostly blue/purple paintings.

    Speaking of the 10th anniversary of her bald head, can we get an MR article about the recent trend of celebrating everything’s “anniversary”????? ENews’ instagram is the worst at this. Like did you know the x episode of x show came out 7 years ago?!!?! It’s approaching the equivalent to a couple celebrating month-versaries. I get it, we’re nostalgic, but do we really need reminders of how many years ago certain pop culture events happened? How many times can enews interns try to make us feel old?

  • Ash

    Just going to leave my favorite repost of it here…

  • Ashley Hamilton

    Britney’s Instagram is perfect.

  • Peter

    I have an original Spears hanging in my foyer. I recently had it appraised again for insurance purposes.

  • danikayintx

    Britney’s definitely been back – her Vegas show is amazing! So sad it’s ending – I would definitely go again!

  • Clairebear

    Have you seen her most recent one spinning and kissing her boyfriend with classical music? Brilliant.

  • Isabel Sanoja

    Love love love this!

  • Bambi loves Rose

    Please can Britney read this! It’s so foresightful.
    An homage on mortality! We’re all gonna die, girls….

  • Beasliee

    I love the at home fashion shows! So adorable.
    She did one for her son’s birthday a while ago and all her employees / security start appearing from all angles alongside her kids. It must be such a funny way to live. Although I love the idea of her calling a big burly security guy to record her painting or doing her private catwalks. I wonder if they brainstorm the content together beforehand!?

  • Nicole Gannaway


  • Madeline C

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. A coworker and I constantly marvel at the wonder that is her insta. It brings joy, playfulness, and a wonderful sense of being completely unhindered by why is “cool” or “hip”. She posts the stuff that I think we would all secretly have a kick ass time doing (painting for no particular reason with an outfit change, dramatic and bizarrely edited shots with her bf, fashion shows once a week, workout videos that are weirdly serious and yet completely lacking in true #fitspo content) with not a hint of shame. Honestly for the past few months when I have been having social media anxiety about things I am posting or whatever I try and channel Brit.

  • She is truly a delight