The DMs

Diary Fiend Mackenzie Thomas Thinks Julia Fox Owes Her Coffee

Mackenzie-Thomas, portrait
Photography by Taryn Segal. All images courtesy of Mackenzie Thomas.

Do you remember being a pre-teen? The emotionally volatile period is the newest in-vogue topic for cultural critics and Internet auteurs alike. Twitter users regularly declare that men’s existential revelations are still catching up to the idle thoughts of young girls. Writer and online personality Mackenzie Thomas, 24, has paved the early years of her adult life providing evidence for their argument. 

She rose to prominence in 2021 with a few well-timed memes and a litany of readings from her childhood diaries. A 2014 entry, scrawled in colored pen, reads, “Dad you are such a coward and you are terrified of my commitment to pushing the boundary.” Her father had told a friend she was enrolled in violin lessons, seemingly out of embarrassment over the truth: that Thomas had taken up improv comedy. “Mom bought this for me so I could look pretty and I ate it,” she wrote later that year, after downing a tube of lipgloss. 

The issues at hand are trite, yes, but the intense emotional impact rings clear to anyone who's been exposed to a pre-teen's growing pains. And Thomas’s impulsive reactions and tug-of-war with the onset of "womanhood" strike the kind of relatable chord that quickly picks up followers online. Here, she tells CULTURED the most outlandish love story she has in her personal archive—complete with influential babysitters, schoolyard infamy, and cameos from Julia Fox. It’s the tale of how Thomas met the Internet.

CULTURED: Where are you DMing from?

Mackenzie Thomas: My bedroom in Los Angeles. Clothes and boxes everywhere. Just ate a Chick-fil-A breakfast sandwich.

CULTURED: Are you moving in or is it a more permanent state of affairs?

Thomas: I’m moving to New York at the end of June. I’m originally from New Jersey, so I’m eager to get back to the East Coast.

CULTURED: Welcome back! I feel like that leads into one of my other questions…which was if you can describe the LA writer ecosystem, or that of NYC. I suspect they may be different.

Thomas: Los Angeles is a really fun place. It’s an amazing place to sleep and hold onto your feelings. I feel like writers here digest slowly. I feel less of a push to put stuff out here, but more of a pull to my inner thoughts. New York is funny as well. Fast pace. When I’m there, I'm living outside myself. All the writers I know that live there seem to be inspired by the now. Everything has an expiration date. A new week is a new year there. Lol. Lots of writing about the self, but also lots of writing about loud noises. I love both places very much, obviously.

CULTURED: That feels very accurate for New York. Especially the loud noises. How did you start building an online following? 

Thomas: Best question you could ever ask me. My relationship with the Internet is the greatest love story I could tell you.

CULTURED: I’m so ready.


Thomas: I started using the Internet at age 7, I had a scene kid babysitter named Morgan. She showed me YouTube. We would watch re-uploaded episodes of Invader Zim on it. I immediately fell in love with the Internet, I was obsessed with the idea of having a box in my house that could show me whatever I wanted. My earliest memories of the Internet are also my earliest memories of my brain feeling like it had purpose for the first time. Lol. I was introduced to Tumblr around the age of 11 and started posting. I began to become more creative online, posting videos on my Instagram that were funny only to me. Kids at my school would stop me in the hallway and quote them back to me. I think that’s how it began.

CULTURED: Do you remember any of the quotes?

Thomas: I’m laughing they are so silly. Truly I don’t think any of them are worth bringing up in an interview. But one time when I was in high school a girl that was a few years younger than me asked to take a picture of me at our local Starbucks. The funny thing is she’s 1,000 times cooler than me now. People in my home town loved my little Instagram videos, most of them are deleted now. *Sigh*

CULTURED: What about your Uncut Gems meme? In terms of how proud your various accomplishments make you, where does that one rank?

Thomas: I would put it right in the middle. Low effort, high pay off. I made that video right before I went to bed, and only recorded it because I wanted to send it to my best friend Clare. She showed me the clip of Julia Fox earlier that day, and we couldn’t get over how she said “Uncut Gems." I woke up the next morning to 5 million views and a video of my voice echoing through the halls of a cruise ship in Ibiza because someone had made a dance remix to it. 


Thomas: Unfortunately I was preparing to put up a solo show for my visual art, so I didn’t get a bask in the glory of it all. But hi Julia Fox always.

CULTURED: She’s a staple of New York culture now, and you may have helped her on her way there.

Thomas: I’ll never take credit for another woman’s success, but she does owe me a coffee.

Photography by Taryn Segal.

CULTURED: How did you decide to start the diary series?

Thomas: I’ve always had my diaries. They are my most prized possession. Something that I pick up whenever I feel like I’m at a crossroad because they ALWAYS make me laugh, I wanted to share that laughter with other people. They are just too fucking good.

CULTURED: In your opinion, how niche is too niche on the Internet? Is there such a thing?

Thomas: Everyone is online. Everyone has itches that need to be scratched. There is something for everyone here. Also “niche” implies that the end goal is success. Some people just post to post. Some of my favorite things online are accounts that have less than 300 followers.

CULTURED: Care to share any?


Thomas: The other Mackenzie Thomas on Twitter who is literally the new hot voice of the alt lit scene to me. “I wanna go swimming. Someone take me swimming:)!" A lot of you bitches WISH you could be having thoughts like this. “I think imma be a good mom one day…” I know in my head she’s really thinking about it.


CULTURED: What's the craziest DM you’ve received?

Thomas: Okay I get insane DMs sometimes they are really sad. I get Oscar bait monologues DM’d to me every single day.

CULTURED: Oh. My. God. I don’t know what I was expecting but I’m still shocked.

Mackenzie-Thomas, Instagram, comment

Thomas: Not a DM but insane nonetheless.

CULTURED: Very much so! 

Thomas: I have a lot of people that DM me that I respond to because they’re perspective on my life is extremely vital to my survival. 

CULTURED: Have you ever regretted a post?

Thomas: It’s hard for me to regret something I put online. I know what I’m getting into when it’s out there. I love to look back on old Instagram posts and tweets. If they make me cringe all the better. ❤️ It’s hard to regret things when you’re sharing diary entries about putting your finger up your butthole to a million people. Sometimes when I get high I get scared about it though. If I’m being real.

CULTURED: Scared of the exposure?

Thomas: Scared of like…the digital footprint 😵‍💫 … my moms friend seeing this and thinking I’ve been the freak of the week hiding in plain sight this whole time 🤮 … Future employers … 😮 … my grandchildren. But that feeling never lasts.

CULTURED: I feel like by the time we have grandkids everyone will have put so much of themselves out there that there'll be a sense of mutually assured embarrassment. 

Thomas: I hope everyone is embarrassed, and I feel fine.


CULTURED: Do you have any internet predictions for the next 10 years? 

Thomas: I think the line between online and IRL will become so blurred it won’t even look like a line anymore. I think that’s scary, but hopefully by that time I’ll be completely analog, two kids in and sitting on my millions.