The anonymous artist behind @breadfaceblog on why sunlight is overrated, the cathartic joy of smashing your face into carbs, and why she doesn't care if you get off on her videos
There is something oddly satisfying about the way the 31-year-old, New York-based anonymous Instagrammer known as Bread Face performs for her followers. Maybe it’s the sound of her hands banging a giant breadzel on her kitchen table before she rolls her face all over it, making crunching noises beneath fuschia mood lighting as No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” plays in the background. It could also be hearing the crispy layers of a Tartine pain au chocolat break as she smashes her obscured face into it to “La La Love You” by the Pixies while wearing a cheongsam under purple lights. (A 2018 Valentine’s Day post where the carb-friendly influencer faceplants a heart-shaped raspberry rose pithivier to Sonny Rollins’s “You Don’t Know What Love Is” yielded over 1.2 million views.) Whatever it is, the handle @breadfaceblog has amassed 193K followers since she started the account in the summer of 2015.
A writer by day, Bread Face found her way into the art world after Seattle Art Fair curator and artistic director Nato Thompson’s niece introduced him to the account. At first, he dismissed it as something stupid, but then, he realized that an art audience could find it interesting, so he invited Bread Face to smash her face into bread as a performance piece. Bread Face agreed. “I got super lucky,” she told Document in August at the fair’s 2019 edition, where she performed daily at the four-day event. Each performance was bathed in red light and featured three long tables loaded with bread shaped like her face—Swiss rolls, loaves of white bread, and more. Bread Face wore a surgical mask until performance time, and audience members were asked not to take photos. Those who tried were immediately reprimanded.
Document sat down with Bread Face after a performance to ask her about creepy fan requests, the inherent joy of face-planting bread, and whether she has a future in performance art.
Ann Binlot—Do you remember the first time you smashed bread into your face and what it was like?
Bread Face—I don’t remember the first time. I sort of give in into my impulses.
Ann—Do you like eating bread?
Bread Face—Yeah, doesn’t everybody like eating bread?
Ann—Not the gluten-free or carb-free people. Why do you want to be anonymous?
Bread Face—I think I get all the best parts of fame and none of the bad parts. I want to be taken somewhat seriously in my day job. I don’t know, at this point it might even help my career more than hurt it, but I want to keep this alter ego.
Ann—Do any of your colleagues know that you’re Bread Face?
Bread Face—The ones that know—it’s developed into a friendship, but for the most part I don’t tell people.
Ann—How close have you come to having your identity revealed?
Bread Face—I’m sure it’s not very hard to find me…my friends are always like, ‘You’re not a jewel thief, like no one gives a shit.’ People have found me.
Ann—Even with the performance, I think it’s highly probable that someone could have snuck a photo.
Bread Face—Totally, but even if they get a picture of my face, it’s like, ‘Okay, so I know what she looks like,’ but how can they be, ‘That’s so and so!?’
Ann—They could do reverse image search on Google, or something like that.
Bread Face—I guess they could, but I’m just a regular 9-to-5er, I don’t really have an internet presence.
Ann—What’s the weirdest request you’ve had from your YouTube or Instagram?
Bread Face—Because people are very confounded by it, they automatically shove it into the fetish category. I get some DMs where people ask me for very specific fetishes. One person—I forgot what it’s called, but it’s when you’re sexually aroused by the idea of a giant woman consuming small people—he or she or they are constantly asking me, ‘If you had a potato chip and there was a city on it, would you eat it?’ All they want me to say is yes. They have no follow-up or they don’t follow me.
Ann—I imagine you get a lot of bread fetishists, if that is such a thing. Does it ever creep you out? How do you feel about it?
Bread Face—It’s pretty hard to creep me out. I have a high tolerance—
Ann—What creeps you out?
Bread Face—I think I read on Reddit, ‘What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard of?’ The top commenter, he was an erotica writer and he had been commissioned to write specifically for this man who wanted a story where he is an alien invader of a planet populated by himself, and he wanted the aliens to consume his body. But that also doesn’t weird me out.
Ann—The most disgusting thing I can think of is, like, scat, when people are sexually aroused by feces. Do you know what that is? Does that gross you out?
Bread Face—I’m not into it, but I can understand the power dynamic of being treated like literal shit.
“I’m very nocturnal and I really don’t like natural sunlight. I think it’s overrated and there are so many people that make you feel constantly bad about not going outside, but I think you only need 10 minutes of sun.”
Ann—Smashing your own face into bread—does that arouse you or turn you on?
Bread Face—Not sexually. I find it very pleasurable, but I don’t get off on it. If someone gets off on it, that’s cool, that seems pretty harmless.
Ann—Has anyone been obsessive with you in terms of trying to contact you in real life or anything?
Bread Face—Yeah, there are people I’ve had to block and report—
Ann—Is it easy to keep your Instagram self separate from your real self?
Bread Face—Yeah, I’m very careful about it.
Ann—Tell me about the lighting, because I feel like the lighting plays a big part.
Bread Face—I’m very nocturnal and I really don’t like natural sunlight. I think it’s overrated and there are so many people that make you feel constantly bad about not going outside, but I think you only need 10 minutes of sun. I’m kind of a homebody, I do like to club and go party, but I like the option of having a cold atmosphere at my apartment. I have a fog light, a disco light, I have water lights—
Ann—You have a lot of lights.
Bread Face—I have a lot of lights. I love color lighting.
Ann—How do you select the music that accompanies the actual smashing of your face into the bread?
Bread Face—It’s just any song that I’ve always obsessively loved or I’m currently listening to. That’s like the only thing that’s really personal to me.
Ann—What about the types of bread? I saw that you baked bread in the shape of your face. Can you tell me about that?
Bread Face—Because I’m anonymous and I never show my face, I kind of wanted this to be a little bit of a ‘face reveal’ even though I only take off my mask off during performances. A friend of a friend actually came over and made a life cast of my face. Then we made a stone mold, then I made a silicone mold on top of that. I would work at my day job and then at 5pm I’d come home and make silicone molds until midnight.
Ann—Where did you bake it?
Bread Face—Funny story, the baker actually pulled out, like, two days before. To be totally fair, we were asking for a high volume of bread, and I’m sure that on top of his daily output, it was just a lot. We needed like 400, but my mom and I ended up getting access to the stadium’s industrial-sized kitchen, and we baked for a day. It was horrible, but also kind of fun.
Ann—What kind of bread?
Bread Face—They were Duncan Hines. I’m not much of a baker.
Ann—They were cakes!
Bread Face—They were cakes, bread cakes.
Ann—How do you select bread the rest of the time?
Bread Face—I went shopping and selected the bread I thought would be fine, or that I have previously done and have fond memories of. I like Texas Toast loaves, and I think it’s funny to hear the audience’s reaction, because I’m usually doing it alone in my apartment. I like those Little Debbie cakes, anything cream-filled. I know it’s gratuitous, but they love it. I love it too. It feels great.
“I did try to go after that whole Instagram, Instagirl lifestyle, and I fucking hated it. It sucked all the joy out of it.”
Ann—How do you monetize?
Bread Face—I have a Patreon page, but otherwise I’m very careful about keeping this a joyful, fun project. I did try to go after that whole Instagram, Instagirl lifestyle, and I fucking hated it. It sucked all the joy out of it. It started to feel like a job, and I felt obligated to go to events that I don’t want to go to. I know that’s annoying to complain about, but I want to do what I want to do.
Ann—What was it like hearing the audience reactions?
Bread Face—Hearing audience reactions at all was very bizarre because I’ve only ever done it alone in my room. When I’m down there with my face in the bread, you can see me laughing a lot. You can hear people gasp, ‘Ooooohhhh.’ It’s just bizarre to hear anyone in the room. It’s surreal, like making a private moment public.
Ann—How does the act of smashing bread into your face bring you joy?
Bread Face—Everyone needs a creative outlet that isn’t necessarily tied to what you do for a living. It relieves stress in some way. It makes me not want to kill myself at my 9-to-5, and sadly, because I grew up in a capitalistic society, I did feel a little bit validated once I got followers. I thought, ‘Oh my ideas aren’t that bad.’ It’s cathartic and meditative, and everyone needs that. Regardless if it goes towards anything or you publish it or you share it, everyone should do something for themselves.
Ann—Do you see a future for yourself in performance art?
Bread Face—I’ve never really had to answer questions or interact with people. I didn’t have answers to these questions. A lot of these people come from an academic art background and they would ask me about the meaning, and what was gonna happen once they put their face in bread, and I’d be like, ‘I don’t know.’
Ann—You’re like, ‘I just do it because I like it.’
Bread Face—Yeah, and there’s a very confusing answer for that, but never say never. I would totally be down if somebody wanted to foot the bill for me to do some performing, but I don’t think it’s going to become my day job anytime soon.
Ann—What’s next for Bread Face?
Bread Face—Overall, with this account, I just want to work with like-minded people that want to do funny bullshit.