news

A fake pregnant belly and 'contractions': Why everyone’s talking about James Charles.

It's been a confusing week for James Charles' Instagram followers.

Over the weekend, the beauty influencer sparked a social media frenzy after sharing a photo of his newly shaved head.

"Just wait until you guys see what I did with my hair," the YouTube star teased on his Instagram Stories.

Watch a clip from James Charles' latest YouTube video below. Post continues after video.


Video via James Charles.

Later that night, the 21-year-old was photographed entering a Los Angeles restaurant.

"Did you shave your head?" videographer Kevin Wong asked.

"I did. Do you like it?" Charles responded.

"It’s gonna be my new look. It’s real. I just did it today." 

ADVERTISEMENT

And then, there was this:

Yep, that's James Charles posing with a pregnant belly in an elaborate maternity photoshoot.

Okay, that's a lot to take in.

Let us explain.

What did James Charles do?

On February 13, James Charles released a new YouTube video titled, '24 Hours Being PREGNANT!'

In the 15 minute video, the beauty influencer explained that his friend, fellow influencer Laura Mellado, had challenged him to live like a pregnant woman for a day.

"HI SISTERS! In today's video, I'm trying something I'll never get to experience, being pregnant! My best friend Laura is pregnant with her second baby so she challenged me to be pregnant for 24 hours to see if I was strong enough to go through what she does!" Charles captioned the video.

After putting on two silicone baby bumps to simulate pregnancy, Charles and Mellado, who is currently pregnant with her second child, completed several challenges.

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: YouTube. 

Wearing black jumpsuits, the pair drove to Taco Bell.

"Sorry for the big order, I'm eating for two today," Charles told the drive thru employee.

"Thank you so much. My baby's going to love that."

Later on, Charles experienced simulated labour contractions after using a digital transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device on his stomach.

Image; YouTube. 

The 21-year-old also posed in front of a background of flowers with his fake pregnant belly for a maternity photo shoot.

ADVERTISEMENT

"That looks... insane," one friend said.

"Yeah, very Halsey," another said.

Charles later shared the photoshopped shot on his Instagram page.

"Surprise," he captioned the 'naked' maternity photo.

How did the internet react?

At the time of publishing, James Charles' video has been viewed almost seven million times.

But despite the video's popularity, Charles has faced criticism from viewers.

Listen to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, below. Post continues after podcast.

On social media, many viewers claimed the video was "insensitive" — especially to those struggling to conceive.

"I love you James, but be ready to expect backlash. This wasn’t a good move. It’s very insensitive and I’m generally not a sensitive person. Sorry bud. This ain’t right," one viewer wrote.

"How thirsty for clout can you be?! So gross, disrespectful and insensitive. Also, I'm sure he's at an age where he knows that pregnancy jokes aren't okay," another commented.

Other fans criticised the stark similarities between James Charles' photoshoot and singer Halsey's recent pregnancy announcement. (Halsey shared her pregnancy news on Instagram in January after suffering a miscarriage and undergoing multiple surgeries to treat endometriosis.) 

In the YouTube video, Charles' friend describes his faux maternity shoot as "very Halsey". 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Halsey literally had endometriosis. For him or his team to say 'very Halsey' while he's taking FAKE pregnancy photos is f**king disgusting, and it mocks everything that she's been through," one fan wrote on Twitter.

"This kinda sucks," another wrote. "Halsey took these pictures to speak about her pregnancy after struggling with endometriosis and miscarriages."

However, many viewers defended Charles, describing the video as "light-hearted".

"I’ve been pregnant twice and trying for a third. Not offended at all," one person commented. "I would love to hook my husband up to a contraction machine."

Has James Charles responded to the criticism?

It seems James Charles was expecting criticism for his pregnancy video.

At the beginning of the video, Charles issued a disclaimer.

"This video is not being made in any way, shape, or form to make fun of, to make light of pregnancies and the sensitivities and the complications that come around it," he said.

"It’s obviously such a beautiful, beautiful thing that women go through with their bodies and it takes a whole lot of strength as well," he continued. 

"I know firsthand from watching Laura do it twice now. This is just a lighthearted video to see if I can last for 24 hours experiencing some of the 'challenges' that are even possible for me to actually experience today."

He also shared he would donate a portion of the video's proceeds to charities that support people struggling with pregnancy complications.

Image: Instagram. 

ADVERTISEMENT

While Charles hasn't explicitly responded to the backlash, the 21-year-old shared a screenshot of a fan's comment on his Instagram Stories.

"As a woman who was never able to have children, I wanted to see the video everyone was flipping out about," the comment read. 

"I did not start watching it with any expectations of feeling angry. And after watching the video I still did not feel any anger or see any disrespect on James' part."

In the video, Charles also explained that he isn't interested in having children. 

"I've always talked about the fact that I love kids but I just, I don't want my own," he said. "I can't. It's not for me."

Wait, did James Charles really shave his head?

As for James Charles' bald head, it's currently unclear whether the influencer's bald head is simply an elaborate prank.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Twitter, many fans have pointed out that Charles appears to be wearing a bald cap.

Only time will tell. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Feature Image: Instagram.

Want $100? Take our 5 minute survey for your chance to win. 

MMSurvey

00:00 / ???