‘I’m literally as basic as people think I am.’
In 2019, Ms. Covington woke up one day in August and discovered she had become a Twitter meme. “Hot Girl Summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn,” Isabella Markel tweeted, from a now-suspended account, referring to the song by Megan Thee Stallion.
Ms. Markel, who is now a TikTok creator with more than 200,000 followers, also included an old photo of Ms. Covington with another influencer, Emma Gemma, on a content trip in 2016. (Ms. Covington said in the years before her daughter was born she’d typically take three content trips per month, traveling everywhere from Aspen to Aruba.)
“I was at home, and I was so bored,” Ms. Markel, 22, said recently in a phone interview. “I was literally just, like, looking up ‘Christian girl outfit’ on Google and saving the random photos.” In the photo, the two women are wearing blanket scarves, skinny jeans and heeled bootees. Their long tresses are styled in gentle, barrel curls. Ms. Markel’s intent was to make a “silly” meme to entertain her fellow Twitter trolls, she said.
The tweet took off. Ms. Covington gained thousands of followers. While some people enjoyed the meme, others used it as an opportunity to criticize Ms. Covington and Ms. Gemma, judging them based on their appearances. “The Women In The ‘Christian Girl Autumn’ Meme Want You To Know Something,” read the headline on a BuzzFeed News interview where the pair set the record straight.
“I’m a nice person and I love everyone and I’m accepting of everyone,” Ms. Covington said at the time.
Three years later, Ms. Covington, who is a Christian, specifically Methodist, has embraced her status as fall royalty. She has also stayed in touch with Ms. Markel over the years, donating $500 to a GoFundMe campaign that Ms. Markel, who is transgender, started in 2020 to help pay for her transition.