In the funny photo, André lies naked on a couch sipping a glass of wine with a strategically placed heart emoji covering his crotch. Meanwhile, Ratajkowski is seen smiling wearing nothing but a red bra in the mirror behind him.
Definition:: Hard launching a relationship is the celebrity-led trend of explicitly announcing a new romantic relationship on Instagram via a photo or video and an accompanying caption.
Why it’s important: Ratajkowski’s and André’s irreverent nude photo signaled a shift from the traditionally romantic relationship hard launch.
- Typically, up until now, celebrity relationship hard launches have been an opportunity for stars to be ultra-public and serious about their love. For example, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox hard launched their relationship in July 2020 with a black-and-white photo alongside the caption: “Waited for eternity to find you again.” While Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck announced their relationship in July 2021 with a glamorous photo of them passionately kissing.
- Hard launches can be an important debut for a new celebrity couple and their brand. If a celebrity couple hard launches their relationship effectively, it can boost their star power and showcase them as a marketable commodity. Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram account grew by 44 million followers when she hard launched her relationship with Travis Barker with a steamy photo in 2021. Zendaya’s and Tom Holland’s first official photo as a couple in June 2022 is the 18th most-liked Instagram photo ever.
- Ratajkowski’s and André’s X-rated photo subverted the amorous hard-launch tradition with their silly and seemingly spontaneous Instagram-official photo. It ushers in a new era of celebrities being more candid and knowing with social media relationship documentation.
- Similarly, Lizzo announced her relationship with Myke Wright on February 5 with a photo alongside the comically self-aware caption: “HARD LAUNCH.” And in January, Chris Evans and Alba Baptista unusually announced their relationship with a series of prank videos.