Arielle Charnas’s Instagram is public once more. In terms of basic human empathy, I cannot fault her for making it private over the summer. The influencer and designer fled COVID, got COVID, was called out for a dubious fashion line drop, and was called out again for taking a PPP loan for her million dollar company. Those are messes of her own making, though in terms of resetting her brand, shutting things down was probably the best thing she could do.

But that doesn’t mean she stayed quiet. 

While disgraced figures like Jessica Mulroney and Leandra Cohen and Audrey Gelman took full absences from Instagram after their own respective scandals, Charnas instead just limited her audience. Sometime in July, her Instagram account went private, leaving Something Navy, her fashion brand, as her sole public-facing platform. She cocooned herself in the safety of the ... one million people who follow her.

That’s a lot of people, but the move effectively shielded Charnas from the onslaught of criticism she had been getting. For instance, r/Blogsnark, where she’s a frequent topic, could no longer allow threads or comments about her Instagram per its own rules about discussing private accounts. Plus, without hoards of strangers coming to her page for the sole purpose of tearing her down, posts like this one went largely unchallenged:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RUBY IS A MOOD. #familydinner

A post shared by Arielle Charnas (@ariellecharnas) on

Charnas and family tagged themselves indoor dining at Dopo Argento in July which, while technically permissible (Long Island was in phase 3 of reopening at that time), is still suspect considering the apparent lack of masks and well-known risk that indoor dining poses. Mostly, you’d just think someone who was branded a “covidiot” would keep their risky behavior off the ‘gram, but protected by the privacy setting, the post only received two or three skeptical comments. 

Charnas also used the opportunity to cloak a rather significant life change: moving to Miami. While she said in an Instagram comment that she and her family only plan on being there for a few months, it’s a drastic switch from her NYC-and-Hamptons-based brand, especially considering she’s currently promoting Something Navy’s fall/winter collection (it is currently 80 degrees in Miami). 

Charnas isn’t the only influencer to do a brand-180 thanks to the pandemic. Naomi Davis of Love Taza, who was also mentioned in the same New York Times piece that called out Charnas, built her blogging empire living as a family of five in an upper west side apartment. Then a pair of twins arrived shortly before the pandemic, which prompted them to hop into an RV, motor away from their brownstone, and resettle in Arizona. But Davis stayed public the entire time, no doubt fielding questions and criticisms as her family made decisions in real time. As for Charnas, we get to be surprised by this whole new person. Maybe she’s hoping that will make us forget the controversies that made her.