Oct 09, 2023

Wired It Girls creator Shelby Hull chronicles the wired

Sometimes, sitting out a trend is cooler than getting swept up in it. (See: Don Draper, punk rock.) This is the thesis, at least, behind Wired It Girls — an Instagram account started in 2021 by Shelby Hull, a 26-year-old marketer at an independent record label in Los Angeles. For two years, she has been sharing photos of famous women eschewing the now-ubiquitous $169 AirPods in favor of wired ear buds, often of the slim white Apple variety that used to come free with an iPhone purchase.

Read on for why Hull thinks the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Lana Del Rey, Bella Hadid, Ice Spice, Phoebe Bridgers, Lily-Rose Depp and the Olsen twins (among others) are skipping Bluetooth for something (slightly) more old-school.

Q: What statement does it make to wear wired headphones, and how is it different from the statement projected by AirPods?

A: I feel like AirPods really say, like, I have money. Or: I’m on trend. I’m just like everybody else. But with wired headphones, you’re projecting low effort, that you can’t be bothered to keep up with everybody else. So many girls don’t even untangle them. It’s studied carelessness: If you show that you’re trying, you’ve failed, automatically. It’s not cool anymore. So the older, the dirtier, the more tangled the wires, the better.

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Q: You can also literally be more careless with a wired pair than with AirPods. Is that part of the appeal? If you’re an it girl and you’re out and about, you might not want the headphones you’d be devastated to leave in the back of a cab.

A: That’s definitely part of it, that you don’t have to be quite as precious with them. I think you have to be even more precious with the AirPods Max that are so trendy now.

Q: The Cut just called those hot-girl headphones, I think after Bella Hadid wore them. How does that sit with you?

A: It doesn’t sit well with my spirit, I’ll tell you that. [Laughs.]

Q: The AirPods Max — which retail at $549 — and the wired headphones both solve one real AirPods problem, though: If you have long hair, it’s hard to tell you’re wearing them.

A: Yeah. Headphones you can see just say, like: Please don’t approach. Please don’t reach out to me. At the gym, people don’t come up and talk to you. I just love that they say: I can’t be bothered right now. Please don’t speak to me like I’m listening.

Q: Who’s your favorite of the Wired It Girls you’ve featured on your Instagram?

A: Oh — [laughs] Al Pacino. That paparazzi photo of him, where he’s clearly on the phone through his wires and he’s, like, yelling on a walk? That’s the energy I like to see. That’s, like: Do not approach me. I’m busy. I’m taking care of business.