The Influencer: Beautiful Cassandra

Jane Austen’s cheeky 12-part ‘novel’ The beautifull Cassandra is dedicated to her elder sister Cassandra. Notions of feminine decorum and restraint go out the window in this comic strip of a story. Fifteen year-old Cassandra, let loose on London, indulges herself to the max. – stealing, eating, adventuring, and finally returning home to her unsuspecting mother, satisfied that, ‘This is a day well spent’. Fuelling the comic bravado is the sad truth that an eighteenth-century girl like Jane or Cassandra could rarely do what she wanted, and certainly never alone and without money, permissions, or consequences.

Rachel Barnwell and Zoe Moore have turned Cassandra into a wannabe Instagrammer and influencer with a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach to doing “MAD fings” for her followers. They riff on the original Cassandra’s pranks in this modern retelling, in which Cassandra co-opts her friend Jane to help her with a series of birthday posts. The comedy is balanced by the anticlimactic mismatch between Cassandra’s online profile and her unglamorous reality.