Couple offers hilarious distraction during coronavirus crisis by dressing up as Elton John, Joe Exotic and more

Chloe Mead dressed up as the Joe Exotic as part of a "COVID closet" social media challenge. (Photo: Harriet Clare, Chloe Mead)

Everyone is coming up with clever ways to get through the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic — and for an artist couple in London, that’s meant creating dramatic TV and movie-character looks.

Freelance photographer Harriet Clare, 28, and dancer and performer Chloe Mead, 29, first posted a few looks on Instagram and then expanded to Twitter with a friend’s encouragement, eventually adding a short video of Mead dressed as the Cruella de Vil and another of her dressed as Mr. Bean, of British sitcom fame. And the “COVID closet” hashtag was born.

“This is what happens when you’re freelance, in isolation, with an extensive fancy dress wardrobe. 10 days of challenges and counting…” Clare tweeted in late March.

Clare and Mead have posted a new “COVID closet” post each day, coming up with new looks by polling their followers, who choose the look of the day. With Clare usually behind the camera and Mead in front, the pair has done Harry Potter, Joe Exotic, Beetlejuice, Mary Poppins, Edward Scissorhands and more, receiving thousands of likes and shares along the way.

Clare calls the response to their humorous posts “brilliant,” but acknowledges the seriousness of pandemic.

“We have said that we don't want to detract from the severity of the situation, but it's wonderful if we can give people even a few seconds of distraction,” Clare tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The photographer remembers the simple moment that helped bring the magic to life.

“One morning, Chloe put her hair up and it looked like Little My from the Moomins,” Clare says. “So she decided to complete the look and she went to find the rest of the outfit. I then took a picture and we sent it to our friends and they found it funny so we thought we should get other people to challenge her to dress up as other characters. The first suggestion was Captain Jack Sparrow and we laughed so much doing it we decided to continue.”

Though there have been dozens of looks, the women do have their favorites.

“Chloe's favorite look so far is Elton John, because the outfit was so great and we had such a laugh at her terrible piano playing. And mine is probably Harry Potter, because it was such a challenge trying to work out the ‘effects’ and I loved working with the Google AR,” Clare admits.

Clare says she and Mead aim to make people laugh during these uncertain times, but most of all, they hope to inspire others to tap into their creative side.

“If you're trying too hard to be creative, it can sometimes become counterproductive, so just keep engaging yourself in creative things, reading, watching, making, playing and something will come from it,” she suggests. “The internet is amazing to share what you're doing, but make sure you're making it for yourself and your own enjoyment first.”

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