Jennifer Aniston, once one of the few A-list actress holdouts to social media, opened her Instagram account yesterday and as of this morning she’s counting an enormous 8.6M followers, all from one Friends 25th anniversary reunion selfie with her fellow cast members Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer.
Already off of that one photo, Aniston has more followers on Instagram than fellow actresses Jennifer Garner (7.4M), Julia Roberts (6.8M), Nicole Kidman (5.5M), Charlize Theron (4.5M) and Shailene Woodley (4.4M). The photo itself logged a mind-boggling 10.2M likes. Aniston also smashed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s record of the fastest Instagram account to reach 1M followers. According to the Guinness World Records, the royal couple have held the title since April, when they signed up to the app and amassed that number within 5 hours and 45 minutes. Aniston’s Instagram amassed so many followers, it reportedly crashed her account for a bit yesterday, but was quickly fixed.
Aniston’s launch of her official Instagram is properly timed to her new Apple TV show, The Morning Show, dropping on the new streaming service on Nov. 1. In the series, Aniston plays a national morning news anchor who is trying to keep her career alive after her co-host (Steve Carell) is fired for sexual harassment, and she’s paired and goes toe-to-toe with a brassy, spitfire Southern anchor played by Reese Witherspoon. Both Witherspoon and Aniston are producers on the show.
Social media monitor RelishMix gave us some play-by-play action as Aniston racked up followers. At 9:30pm last night, 15 hours in, the Horrible Bosses actress had clocked 5.8M followers and 7.1M likes from the Friends photo. By 9;50PM, Aniston’s Instagram added 100K followers in 20 minutes. She also feasibly outstripped the number of followers of her Friends peers with Cox (4.5M), Kudrow (3.7M), LeBlanc (3.3M) and Schwimmer (2.3M). In fact since last night, all of them saw a halo effect from Aniston’s tagging with spikes in the followers: Cox (+300K), Kudrow (+200K), LeBlanc (+200K) and Schwimmer (+200K).
By and large, Instagram, next to competitors Facebook and Twitter, has a reputation for being a less-trolly environment, making it largely a safe hub for celebrities to be themselves sans followers’ snarkiness.
Also adding to Aniston’s great Wednesday: E! will honor her with The People’s Icon of 2019 award for her cinema and TV work at next month’s E! People’s Choice Awards. The awards show will be broadcast live from Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on Sunday, November 10 from 9-11 PM on E!. Aniston is also nominated in the Female Movie Star of 2019 category for Netflix’s hit Murder Mystery.
“Jennifer Aniston is a tour de force, who has portrayed some of the most iconic, unforgettable and relatable characters of our time,” said Jen Neal, General Manager, E! News, Live Events and Lifestyle Digital in a statement. “For gracefully conquering comedy and drama on both the small and big screen, we’re honoring Jennifer Aniston with ‘The People’s Icon of 2019.’”
Earlier this month, Fathom Events and Warner Bros. reported that their three night event of the Friends 25th Anniversary grossed close to $3M at 1,600 theaters, which made it the second-highest U.S. cinema release of the year so far.