You can find her shopping for seasonal décor at Home Goods. Or perhaps at home, reading a book by the fireplace in her Ugg boots. Or maybe on Instagram, posing with a Chanel bag on her arm and a Starbucks holiday drink in hand. Such are the simple pleasures of Christian girl autumn. And for influencers like Caitlin Covington, it’s more than a season—it’s a state of mind.
Covington accidentally became the face of Christian girl autumn in August 2019, when trans creator Isabella Markel turned an image of Covington and fellow blogger Emily Gemma into a viral meme.
“I was just looking at clothes, women’s outfits, the Christian girl aesthetic or whatever—the skinny jean and the big bag,” Markel tells Glamour. “I just thought it was so funny and I just kept on using these pictures. And I was like, ‘They’re actually kind of bad bitches if you think about it.’ It’s camp. It’s high-level camp.”
The meme racked up thousands of likes and replies in a matter of days. “This picture thinks Africa is a country and is going on a mission trip there in 2020,” one commenter joked. “This picture asked me not to kiss another man in public and if I could please leave the restaurant,” another added. Then, in a plot twist no one saw coming, Covington embraced the meme and set the record straight: She isn’t a Republican. In her house, “love is love” and Black Lives Matter.
“We were all making jokes,” Markel says. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh, my God, she loves Trump.’ But then she tweeted and was like, ‘I love trans.’”
And so, in the strange way things always seem to happen on the internet, Covington became an unlikely LGBTQ+ icon. A year later, when the meme reappeared in September, Covington doubled down and donated $500 to a GoFundMe to help Markel cover the cost of transitioning.
“She was so sweet about it,” Markel says. “I wasn’t expecting her to be that sweet about it. I was expecting, ‘Come on, guys, maybe don’t clown me like that.’ Instead she was like, ‘Finally, people are seeing my fall photos.’”
Covington has been traveling to New England to take her annual fall photos since 2014. Months of research and thousands of dollars went into the production of this year’s weeklong shoot in Vermont. Typically, Covington tells Glamour, the planning begins with a thorough analysis of when and where the fall foliage is expected to peak. Then she moves on to carefully selecting outfits and scenic locations in which to showcase them. Covington told The New York Times that brands—which appear to have been Saks and Nordstrom—sponsored two of her posts during this year’s trip to the tune of $10,000 to $15,000 each. And in the weeks leading up to the trip, Covington debuted a fall capsule collection in collaboration with Liverpool Los Angeles. This houndstooth “coatigan,” Covington noted, was her favorite (and best-selling) piece from the collection.