Process This: We Talk to the Genius Behind Taste of Streep

Meryl Streep on all kinds of delicious, junky food. You’re welcome.

Long before you vowed to find someone that looks at you the way everyone looks at Meryl Streep, 26-year-old Samantha Raye was looking for the perfect slice of crispy bacon to superimpose her on. (If you’re unfamiliar with Raye’s fan-food-fic Instagram account, @tasteofstreep, it delightfully combines the greatest living actress of our time with the most delicious foods of all time–churros! pies! pizza pies!) We chatted with the New York-based graphic designer and acting student on her new-found fame, running with an idea no matter how far-fetched it may be, and the virtues of Jarlsberg grilled cheese.

Meryl Streep and food. I wanna say I can’t believe no one’s thought of that before, but the concept is so weird and delightful that I’m not even sure that’s possible. How did you ever come up with that?
I get asked this question all of the time… and I don’t really have a concrete answer. I guess it came from my love of film and my love of food. I say food (which I also love to eat–who doesn’t?) in the sense of it aesthetically. Long before @tasteofstreep was born, I found myself featuring food in all of my pieces, specifically horrible American junk food. Something about the colors and textures you find in processed treats is really triggering to me. I remember putting Julianne Moore on a cake one day, and somehow that led to Meryl Streep in She-Devil holding her poodle on a strawberry frosted doughnut.

So what’s your process like? I really need to know how you find the right Streep and delicious food combinations.
Haha, uhhh I don’t really know that there’s much of a “process” involved. I always take a few days away from creating a post–if it’s forced it’s not going to work. But in the middle of the day something will give me an idea and immediately I put it on its feet. A lot of it comes down to her outfits and her stance or positioning. From there, I pick a food or dish of some sort.

Are you an honest to goodness Streep fan? Tell me a bit about how that started for you.
I think she’s a force to be reckoned with in both the acting world and the real world. It’s embarrassing to admit, but the first film I ever saw her in was Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events. To be honest, I had no idea who she was. It wasn’t until college that I started watching more films with her iconic performances.

Your favorite food and Streep combination IRL? (Can be the food you would pair with your fave movie.)
Oooooh that’s tough. I want to say The Devil Wears Prada and an onion bagel or Jarlsberg grilled cheese, but that’s just because they eat it/mention it in the movie. It’s funny, I never realized how many food references or scenes there are in so many of her movies. You could probably pick a food for every movie, actually. Chocolate croissants and It’s Complicated, spaghetti and Defending Your Life, beef bourguignon and Julie and Julia. I’m sure there are more but those are what I can think of off the top of my head.

How do you balance the fun stuff, like this account, with your day-to-day? Is there something you’ve learned from one that informs the other?
Between school and work, I have very little free time. But the free time that I do have is always spent in some creative fashion. Whether it be working on @tasteofstreep or another project, it’s my favorite part of the day. I’m constantly creating, because you never know what could happen. I think this has taught me above all else to stop “watching myself” and just run with an idea, no matter how insane or far-fetched it may seem. That’s when the best things come about. Not only in art, but in life as well.

You’ve kinda blown up since you started this. Tell me a bit about what you’ve been working on.
Haha oh God–making sure I can pay rent and be an artist at the same time without having to work in the restaurant industry.

Have you met Meryl?
I have not, but the Florence Foster Jenkins premiere in New York was down the street from my office, so I did pop by and catch a glimpse.

Describe the perfect setting of your meeting–and what you would tell her?
Oh God the perfect setting; I don’t know if that exists! She could be in my own home, and I’d probably be too nervous to talk to her or reveal my identity. I don’t know that I’d really tell her much; I think I would rather hear what she has to say. [I’d love to] pick her brain about her experiences as an actor in New York in the ’80s. New York was a very different place at that time; the art scene was exciting and in full bloom.

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