This was screamed repeatedly at me this past Saturday night while I was out dancing with my friends Fatima, Chris, and Meaghan at the Sultan Room in Brooklyn. It was a big Halloween bash, and I was dressed as Britney Spears, the princess of pop. My costume—her head-to-toe denim look from the 2001 American Music Awards—was a bona fide hit. “I love you, Britney!” another partygoer yelled from across the dance floor. My friend Chris, however, was not met with such a warm welcome: He was the Justin Timberlake to my Britney, right down to his jean fedora, blazer, and pants. “You’re brave for being Justin in this climate,” a costume-wearing patron said to him, referencing the bombshell (and unfavorable) stories Spears told about Timberlake in her poignant memoir, The Woman in Me, released earlier this month. “Love you, though, Britney.”
This year was admittedly the perfect time to dress up in homage to the pop singer—though it’s not a new tradition for me at all. For the past three years now, I’ve used Halloween as an opportunity to remind people of the greatness that is Britney, bitch. My first costume in 2021 replicated the time that Spears stepped out in a tee that famously read “Dump Him.” I imitated the whole look, right down to her shearling jacket, page-boy cap, and pigtails. For bonus points, I even carried a coffee cup just like her, only mine read, “Work Bitch—Free Britney.” (This was before her conservatorship ended the following month; I, like many true fans, was a longtime supporter of the Free Britney movement.)
I’ve long had an obsession with Britney. As a child of the ’90s, I was instantly transfixed by Spears’s glamorous pop-star energy. I would spend hours practicing her dance moves in my parents’s backyard while her song “Oops! I Did It Again” blared on a pink boom box. I didn’t just love her—I wanted to be her. To me, she embodied confidence, strength, and perfection—though, her memoir shows that her childhood was far from idyllic. It makes sense, then, why I’ve dressed up as her for my recent Halloween costumes: She represents all the things that so many of us lack in our mundane day-to-day lives. Cosplaying as her also gives me an opportunity to spotlight her musical genius. If you ask me, the way she has cemented herself as a pop icon is too often criminally underrated.