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Meet Instagram's Newest Food (and Travel) Sensation

There's more to her Instagram phenom than these superficial interest-pullers.
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When you gain almost 7,000 followers on Instagram in 8 days, you know you're on to something. This is what happened to Melissa or, known better on the web (and on the iPhone), Girl Eat World -- and by taking one look at her Instagram account, it's no surprise it's taken off as quickly and strongly as it has.

Melissa's Instagrams are remarkably simple and complex all at once: her hand, her food of choice of the moment, the setting of her snacktime.

Yes, she's eaten some pretty amazing foods (Hello Kitty Donut?! Takoyaki?! Agedango?!) in some pretty incredible places (think everywhere from Saigon to London), but there's more to her Instagram phenom than these superficial interest-pullers. There's something about her Instagrams, all composed in the same way, that captures perfectly the relationship between food and travel, and the way both speak to the soul in different but congruous ways. It's simple, yet simply amazing.

With only 33 posts and only following 50 other users, Girl Eat World's follower statistic is sure to continue to climb. I was lucky enough to catch her before she reaches a not-responding-to-email-or-comments level of fame, and got the scoop on this incredible account:

1. This sounds silly, but who are you exactly?

My name is Melissa, I am Indonesian but living in Singapore for the past four years. It's an awesome country to live in, lots of delicious food to eat and serves as a great hub for traveling in Asia.

2. What inspired you to start the Girl Eat World Instagram and Tumblr?

I started posting these food pictures to my Facebook, where I received positive feedback from friends, so I took more. One of them kept pushing me to create a dedicated Instagram since he thinks other people will enjoy it as well, but I only finally got around to it after my Japan trip -- about 8 months after I started taking these pictures. And that's how the Instagram was born!

3. What are your thoughts on the rapid success of these channels?

It sounds cliche to say, but I've never thought it would receive this much attention (my friend was right!). I guess it amazes me how fast things can spread through social media -- I've always heard about it but never experienced it first hand. On the other hand, I had people posting pictures of me (with my face on it) that were obtained through Twitter/Facebook without my consent, so it's definitely making me more careful about what I post online. Aside of that, I think social media is great and I love how engaged and active people seem to be.

4. Do you have a long-term plan (or at least hopes and dreams) for Girl Eat World?

I don't at this point, especially since it's only a week old. I will just keep traveling and eating as I have done and see how it goes.

5. Have you always been a foodie?

Yes. Almost embarrassingly so. All my friends know me as "that girl who is always eating" or "that girl who has too many food pictures" or even "we better hide the food if she is coming." I guess you can say food and travel are my priorities in life...

6. When did you start taking these photos? Which is the first you took, and what prompted you to take it?

The first one I took was the gelato in Rothenburg, which is also the first picture on my Instagram (it's pretty much uploaded in chronological order). Last summer, I went on a solo backpacking trip to Europe. I didn't feel like asking strangers to take my picture and I'm not too fond of selfies, but I AM always eating so I took pictures of food at whatever memorable site I was in.

You can check out all of Girl Eat World's photographs on Melissa's Instagram account and Tumblr.

This interview was originally posted on Yes, Like The River.

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