This was inevitable, really. Sydneysiders, in a collective fit of lockdown-induced boredom, have begun stanning NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian online. This has led to some TikToks more befitting of a cult pop star than the head of the state government.
There’s a weird kind of attachment going on here. People aren’t frothing Berejiklian’s policies, nor are they infatuated by her complete lack of charisma. It seems that Berejiklian just getting on with the job, as she’s become known for during the pandemic, makes for quite compelling political theatrics.
These attributes have actually allowed Berejiklian to comfortably weather many a scandal (not to mention an absolutely cursed TV set up) while remaining fairly popular. In fact, even her love life is now being met with the same kind of fascination as, say, palace intrigue.
Who gives a shit? Sydneysiders do, apparently.
People have started playing COVID bingo with the daily case numbers and what colour jacket Berejiklian will wear at her press conferences. Meanwhile, a selfie with Berejiklian seems to be the hottest Hinge profile accessory since lockdown started again. But perhaps most noticeable is the influx of TikToks which nearly idolise the Premier in a non-partisan way.
Some TikToks are thanking the Premier for keeping Sydneysiders safe. Others are jokingly thanking her for ruining their plans with the lockdown restrictions. And others again are shitting on the Berejiklian’s apparent obsession with keeping as many things open as possible, even if the case numbers and exposure sites sometimes paint a picture of chaos.
Many of them attest to the newfound ritual of tuning in to see a familiar and reassuring face every morning during lockdown.
@allyrigby#sydneylockdown2 #gladysberejiklian #lockdownsydney #lockdownhumour #taylorswift #bondilockdown♬ Out Of The Woods – Taylor Swift
@definitelynotalicexxxMy girl Gladys looks fly today @gladysberejiklian_mp #fyp #foryoupage #sydneylockdown #gladysberejiklian #gladystime #gladdydaddy #besties♬ original sound – Ethan Seal
@yourm8sandySave us Glady, it’s everywhere #fyp #sydney #lockdown #gladys♬ original sound – Sandy
On a more cursed note, there’s also a trend of people just grinding on Berejiklian as some kind of tribute of appreciation for how the lockdown has panned out so far.
Not sure if the Premier herself would approve here, but the people have apparently already spoken.
@bethwynnthanks for putting the central coast in lockdown when we have 0 cases darl xxx♬ Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
@jadealiciascottSHES DOING HER BEST! IT ISNT EASY TO PLEASE EVERYONE #gladysberejiklian #bills #gladdydaddy #fyp #sydneylockdown #covid♬ Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
@sophiegale29#TikTokFanFest #PostAMemory #fyp #gladys #foryoupage #myman @issystabback @crazy.kristal♬ Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
@jadealiciascottGive us some good news Gladys!! #nsw #covid #premier #gladysberejiklian #thesuperiorstate #fyp #australia♬ Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
@hobsonnthank god #fyp #billsbillsbills #covid19 #corona #australia #lockdown♬ Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
The Gladys Berejiklian stanning has even spawned legit fancams.
In theory, if the 5 million-odd people of Sydney were to collectively stan the Premier, it would automatically become one of the world’s biggest fandoms overnight.
@bondagequeenskinny#nsw #fyp girl boss gladys♬ Dog House – Slayyyter
@jacobgormleyThe queen of Australia everyone #auspol #liberal #scomo #scottmorrison #australia #fyp♬ original sound – Jacob Gormley
@jadealiciascottWe have the most stylish premier ???? #fyp #gladys #gladysberejiklian #premier #sydneylockdown #nsw #lockdown #edit♬ the wapvengers – ems ᗢ
Lockdown-induced political fawning is nothing new. Just ask the millions of Melburnians who grew rightfully attached to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews‘ North Face jacket, or any of his other routine press conference idiosyncrasies.
Hopefully Sydneysiders snap out of the hollow political idolisation when lockdown eventually lifts. But in the meantime, there’s no denying how fun it is to collectively lose our minds fawning over Gladys Berejiklian.