The Obscure Origins of Every Great Pop Fandom Nickname (2023)

When some know-nothing troll unleashes a deeply offensive shitpost about Gen Z god Lorde, the only artist for whom I’m truly ride-or-die, I seek the comfort of my fellow stans. The Lorde fandom is an impassioned, emotional and intelligent group — I’m 100 percent biased, which is the point — but there’s one problem: We don’t have a collective nickname. Lorde once said she finds pun-centric nicknames “grating,” so her wish for a no-name fandom is our command.

But these are dark times (dare I say, even melodramatic). Pop-starlet stan clans have turned into brutal, warring factions. It all makes me wish we had a name to unite us — like our peers do.

Most artists making new music today have a name for their group — whether they wanted one or not. There’s Beyoncé’s BeyHive, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters and Mariah Carey’s Lambs. Some are more unimaginative: Swifties, Bardigang, Selenators and Camilizers suffer from the burden of “name + suffix” cliche. Break up with your name, Arianators. I’m bored.

So, to honor the craft of stanning, I’d like to shine a light on the sometimes obscure origins of these peculiar fandom names.Paws up, Little Monsters. It’s your time.


Beyoncé: BeyHive

According to writer Alyssa Bereznak at The Ringer, the terms for Beyoncé fans first proliferated in 2012 when the now-defunct fan website launched. An anonymous web designer and early member of the BeyHive helped Beyoncé redesign her website, including a new section devoted to her fans. The designer first suggested calling it BeyEntourage. Beyoncé passed, so he proposed BeyHive. “She was like, ‘That’s hilarious, let’s use that,’” he told The Ringer.

Since those early days, the BeyHive has buzzed endlessly. I’ll refrain from adding my own thoughts on the name because the BeyHive is prone to attack and I don’t want to get stung. Just ask Golden State Warriors courtside sitter Nicole Curran.

Miley Cyrus: Smilers

I remember the day Hannah Montana aired in 2006. I watched it on our tiny kitchen TV, so old it even had a VCR. That is to say, I know the story behind “Smilers” by heart.

Miley Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus. Her father, Billy Ray, used to call her “Smiley” because she always beamed ear to ear growing up. Smiley was then shortened to the Miley we know today. Smilers, then, is a nod to their queen, for whom they’re always smiling.

Megan Thee Stallion: Hotties

Houston’s Hot Girl loves her Hotties, and the hotties love their Hot Girl. Megan Thee Stallion has associated with the term Hot since the jump. First came her 2017 EP Make It Hot; then the 2018 single “Hot Girl.” Now we have the Hotties and the ubiquitous phrase Hot Girl Summer, which turned into a song featuring Nicki Minaj. Thee Stallion is a branding savant.

(Video) Why does Cristiano Ronaldo refuse to get tattoos?

To be a Hottie is to be a bad bitch regardless of gender, resident Bay Area Hottie Leila tells MEL. “A hottie is someone who loves herself and doesn’t give a fuck what anyone has to say about her! A hottie loves Megan and lives her life the way she wants to!”

If you’re a real hottie, please spread positivity 💙 we real around here and we fw everybody that fw us. No dry hating no dry beef 🔥

— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) March 19, 2019

Lady Gaga: Little Monsters

When Gaga isn’t lusting for Bradley Cooper as Ally or smoking onstage at the MTV VMAs as Jo Calderone, she might be performing as Mother Monster. Gaga’s stans are called Little Monsters, a reference to her second album, 2009’s The Fame Monster. Whenever Mother Monster calls, Little Monsters like the incomparable Staten Harry put their paws up for their Rah Rah Bitch.

Happy birthday, @ladygaga from us and @TheREALStaten 🐾

— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) March 28, 2019

Ed Sheeran: Sheerios

My favorite stan name goes to a man. (No one is more shocked — and saddened — than me.) While I’m ambivalent about Sheeran as an artist, “Sheerios” is so cute! It’s a play on the British greeting “Cheerio,” as Sheeran hails from the U.K. But I choose to believe it’s actually a reference to my favorite cereal. Who doesn’t stan whole-grain oats? Either way, Sheeran has given his Sheerios a stamp of approval.

i get asked all the time what my fans call themselves. i approve of sheerios, i like that one

— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) October 14, 2012

Mariah Carey: Lambs

One of the OG fandoms is Mariah Carey’s Lambily. As writer and long-time Lamb Rich Juzwiak writes for the New York Times, the name is a term of endearment for her fans that Carey first used liberally in the 2000s. It’s stuck ever since. The Lambily, unlike their BeyHive or Nicki Minaj’s Barbz, is soft and sweet.

(Video) Fandom's Biggest Controversy: The Story of Proshippers vs Antis

Lana Del Rey: Gangsters (maybe?)

Although Lana Del Rey is getting the best reviews of her career for her new album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, her collective and outspoken fanbase hasn’t agreed on a name. On Reddit, some call for Gangsters, a reference to her repeatedly being called gangster Nancy Sinatra.But the use is minimal.

Blackpink: Blinks

The first female K-pop group to perform at Coachella is taking over the United States, and no K-pop fanbase (save for BTS) has as vocal an online fandom. “Blink” is a portmanteau of black and pink.


Speaking of BTS, their fanbase name is ARMY — often stylized as A.R.M.Y. According to Urban Dictionary, the name stands for Adorable Representative M.C for Youth. BTS itself is an acronym of the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan, which means Bulletproof Boy Scouts. So if the BTS boys are the bulletproof Boy Scouts, then the A.R.M.Y. is there to protect them. Get it?

Kesha: Animals

This one is simple. Kesha fans are named after the title track of her debut album Animal. Though be wary. Animals attack — even their own mother.

The animal fandom is SO boring right now…@KeshaRose can you do something to shake the table already damn

— kwasi 🙆🏾‍♂️ (@nyazobrien) March 25, 2019

Katy Perry: Katy Cats

Katy Perry named her cat Kitty Purry. She has a fragrance called Meow, which is bottled in the shape of a cat. So it’s only fitting that her fans jumped on the cat train and called themselves Katy Cats.

@katyperry THANK YOU for posting Kitty Purry 😻 Didn’t think we’d ever see her again

— CLAUDIA (@katykicksass) July 8, 2018

Nicki Minaj: Barbz

The Barbz are infamously petty. Do not cross them. Also, did you know Lil Nas X was an OG barb known as @NasMaraj?

(Video) Pretty Pastel Please, Alex's JEALOUS FURY over Lucy Livin! GASLIT fans about separation & divorce!

Barbz (male stans are known as Kens) are a reference to the doll Barbie. Minaj has long associated herself with the Mattel company’s iconic character. The rollout and album cover for her debut mixtape Playtime Is Over in 2007 was Barbie-themed. Most recently, she’s released the songs “Barbie Dreams” and “Barbie Tingz.”

Honestly, I’m afraid of the Barbz. They’re known to swarm around anyone from rapper Quavo to a high school principal. As Wendy Williams says, never date a Barb.


— Rob (@fagnika) April 23, 2019

Rihanna: Navy

While the Barbz might be the most brutal, the Rihanna Navy is certainly the most omnipresent. Navy gets its name from a lyric on Rihanna’s Rated R-era song “G4L”: “We’re an army/ Better yet, a navy/ Better yet, crazy, guns in the air.” The name was solidified after she appeared in the 2012 film Battleship.

“I personally really like it,” longtime Navy cadet Alexander Summerfield tells MEL of the name. “It fits with Rihanna’s strong and empowering persona.”

Carly Rae Jepsen: Jepsies

Back in 2012, indie pop darling Carly Rae Jepsen voiced her approval of the “Jepsies” nickname. Unfortunately, it’s another banal “name + suffix” situation. This might be why the nickname doesn’t seem to be in use as much lately —although that could also be because any Jepsen fan could simply be called someone with taste.

@TheCarlyArmy: @carlyraejepsen YOUR FANS ARE NOW CALLED JEPSIES like Gypsies” hahaha..I lOVE this!

— Carly Rae Jepsen (@carlyraejepsen) February 27, 2012

Jennifer Lopez: JLovers

In 2014, writer Kevin O’Keeffe made a strong case that JLovers is a shitty name for us J-Lo stans. “It sounds more like a Jennifer Love Hewitt stan base name,” he wrote. As someone who once performed a rendition of “Jenny From the Block” as “Joey From the Block” for a high school talent show, I am repulsed by the banality of “JLovers.”

(Video) The Script - Hall Of Fame (Lyrics)

I hereby declare that we shall be called Hustlers. After all, hustling is what J-Lo is best at. She’s the Queen of Consistency.

Lorde: TBD

When Lorde finally releases her long-awaited third album, I hope we stans will have a name. Rumbling has started around names like “The Disciples” and “Ellavators,” after Lorde’s real name, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor. I propose we shall henceforth be known as Ellaphants. We’re a large base, we’re wise and we’re social. Ellaphants, the light has turned green. We stampede now.

Joseph Longo

Joseph Longo is a culture and entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in The Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly and more. He's still trying to understand what it means to be a Gemini Rising.

Recommended Reading

  • Culture: A Highly Questionable Cultural History of Richard Gere’s Ass Gerbil
  • Culture: What’s The Deal With Pussy Slapping?
  • Culture: Bar-Closing Songs, Ranked
  • Culture: An Oral History of The Onion’s 9/11 Issue
(Video) Heartbreaking at Bobbie Gentry's funeral, a detail that made many fans cry


Why are Rihanna's fans called Navy? ›

The Navy. Rihanna's fans enlisted in her "Navy" following a particular lyric from her 2009 album Rated R: "We're an army, better yet a navy, better yet, crazy, guns in the air."

What is Rihanna's fan base called? ›

While the Barbz might be the most brutal, the Rihanna Navy is certainly the most omnipresent. Navy gets its name from a lyric on Rihanna's Rated R-era song “G4L”: “We're an army/ Better yet, a navy/ Better yet, crazy, guns in the air.” The name was solidified after she appeared in the 2012 film Battleship.

What are Billie Eilish fans called? ›

But there hasn't even been too much public debate as to what Eilish fans are called. They're just… Billie Eilish fans, right? A tweet from Billie Eilish stan account @ccharteilish sparked a discussion last week with a tweet in which they referred to Eilish fans as “Avocados.”

What are Cardi B fans called? ›

Bardi Gang

What are Doja cat fans called? ›

Surprisingly, Doja Cat's fandom now has an official name: Kittenz.

What are Nicki Minaj's fans called? ›

Harajuku Barbiez Presidentduane, also shortened to Harajuku Barbz, Barbiez, HBz, and most commonly Barbz are all of Minaj's fans. The name derives from Minaj's girly-girly alter-ego, The Harajuku Barbie Presidentduane, and the fashion she promotes.

What are Christina Aguilera fans called? ›

12. Fighters: Christina Aguilera's stanbase. Named for her song "Fighter," this one works slightly better than the Black Stars or Daydreamers because the inspiration is a hit song.

What are Ariana Grande's fans called? ›

Ariana Grande: Arianators

Ariana's fans weren't always called Arianators. They started out as Ariana Army and then Tiny Elephants, before moving onto Arianators!

What is Taylor Swift fans called? ›

Swifties is the name of Taylor Swift's fans. The name simply comes from the name 'Swift'.

What are Ed Sheeran's fans called? ›

Ed Sheeran fans, or 'Sheerios', are a committed bunch. When he performed a Live Lounge session in December, fans braved freezing temperatures to meet the star while he was visiting Radio 1.

What are Katy Perry fans called? ›

These are the artists who inspire a devotion so tribal their fanbases even name themselves: Taylor Swift has her Swifties, Ariana Grande her Arianators, and Katy Perry her KatyCats. All are fiercely devoted to their idols. Listen to the best of Katy Perry on Apple Music and Spotify.

What are Selena Gomez fans called? ›


What are Justin Timberlake fans called? ›

41. What are Justin Timberlake fans called? Justin Timberlake's fandom are called ''The TN Kids'.

What is Miley fans? ›

Miley Cyrus' fandom are called 'Smilers'. [ RCA]

What are Harry Styles fans called? ›

As one of the world's biggest pop stars, the ex-One Direction singer has amassed millions of fans, referred to as “Harries”. You'd be hard pressed to find an article about Styles that doesn't mention his fans. They've sold out shows in minutes, taken over TikTok trends and camped outside venues.

What are Camila Cabello fans called? ›

Camilizer | Camila Cabello Wiki | Fandom.

What are Bruno Mars fans called? ›

Bruno Mars

His debut album was titled "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," his band's name is the Hooligans and he eventually decided to give the name to his biggest supporters. The one thing that Bruno can attest to is that his fandom includes supporters of all ages.

Why does Nicki call herself Barbie? ›

"But anyway, I was calling myself the Harajuku Barbie because a lot of girls on MySpace at that time—this was when MySpace was really big—were calling themselves something Barbie and I wanted mine to be really unique and different," continued Nicki.

What did Nicki Minaj change her name to? ›

Originally adopting the stage name Nicki Maraj, she eventually changed it to Nicki Minaj stating that "my real name is Maraj. Fendi flipped it when he met me because I had such a nasty flow!" Minaj released her first mixtape, Playtime Is Over, on July 5, 2007, and her second, Sucka Free, on April 12, 2008.

What is a Cardi B fan? ›

Cardi B's fans are known as the 'Bardigang'. [

What are Olivia Rodrigo fans called? ›

Olivia Rodrigo's fans are commonly referred to as “Livies.” Livies are known for their strong support of her music and their eagerness to follow her career.

What are Meghan Trainor's fans called? ›

Trainor's fanbase is collectively identified as Megatronz.

Whose fanbase is called the Navy? ›

Rihanna's fandom are called the 'Rihanna Navy' and often just refer to themselves as 'Navy'. [ Fenty Beauty]

Who has a bigger fan base Beyonce or Rihanna? ›

Beyoncé has more than 272 million followers, compared to Rihanna's slightly modest 135 million followers.

What is Drake's fanbase called? ›

What is Drake's fanbase called? : r/Drizzy.

What are Taylor Swift's fans called? ›

Swifties is the name of Taylor Swift's fans. The name simply comes from the name 'Swift'.

What is Nicki Minaj fanbase called? ›

Harajuku Barbiez Presidentduane, also shortened to Harajuku Barbz, Barbiez, HBz, and most commonly Barbz are all of Minaj's fans. The name derives from Minaj's girly-girly alter-ego, The Harajuku Barbie Presidentduane, and the fashion she promotes.

What fanbase is called ARMY? ›

ARMY is an acronym for “Adorable Representative M.C. For Youth” and literally means army. BTS's name in Korean, Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단), translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” in English. Their fans are ARMY, and BTS is the armor that protects them, signifying the band and their ARMY will always be together.

What is the 3rd biggest fandom in the world? ›

Top 10 most powerful fandoms in the world ranked
  1. BTS- ARMY.
  2. Taylor Swift Fans- Swifties. ...
  3. One Direction-Directioners. ...
  4. F.R.I.E.N.D.S- The friend zone. ...
  5. Naruto Fandom- Narutards. ...
  6. Harry Potter's- Potterheads. ...
  7. Marvel Universe-Marvelites. ...
  8. Star Wars Fandom Warsies. ...
Mar 11, 2023

Which singer has the most fans in the world of all time? ›

Popularity rankingArtistTour dates
01Drake6 concerts
02Rihanna1 concert
03Coldplay47 concerts
04Eminem0 concerts
94 more rows

What are Lil Wayne fans called? ›

Wayniacs - fans of Lil' Wayne… and also Wayne Newton.


1. Kathleen Kennedy Said Kevin Feige Movie Was Made Up by Fans?!
(The Resistance Broadcast)
2. Every Song from Julie and the Phantoms | Netflix After School
(Netflix After School)
3. My Ordinary Life-The Living Tombstone
(The Living Tombstone)
4. BAD OMENS - Just Pretend (Official Audio Stream)
(Sumerian Records)
5. The Rock Entrance 2000 Rochester, NY ( Huge Pop) Owns The McMahons & Triple H - RAW IS WAR!
(One Of The Millions)
6. Your Favorite K-Pop Group Probably DOESN'T Have The BIGGEST FANDOM!
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated: 05/24/2023

Views: 5341

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.