Gina Mei
April 27, 2015 6:01 am

If your Facebook feed has been flooded with peculiar, large-headed cartoons that look vaguely like your friends in the past week, don’t worry: you’re not alone. A new app, called MyIdol (which, yes, sounds suspiciously close to a certain OTC painkiller), is blowing up worldwide, and the results are both hilarious and a little terrifying.

The app — from Chinese development company, Huanshi Ltd. — converts anyone who uses it into a 360 degree cartoon character version of themselves. You can dress up your MyIdol and try out new hairstyles on them, and then you can make easily shareable images, GIFs, and videos featuring your little cartoon. It goes without saying that a lot of people have been taking advantage of the app, and even a few celebrities have joined in on the fun. So, we decided to give it a try.

My Chinese reading comprehension is a little rusty (sorry, Mom!), but even those who aren’t familiar with the language can figure out how to use the app pretty easily. After you take your initial photo (the app provides a crosshair for you to line your face up with), MyIdol puts markers around your face to get your proportions right, which you can adjust accordingly. You then have the option to pick “男” (boy)  or “女” (girl) before the app builds out your cartoon — which is a little confusing if you don’t know what the characters mean, since “男” is a green button and “女” is a red button, suggesting it’s a “yes” or “no” thing. You can switch this up later.

Admittedly, my selfie game is not very strong. A word to the wise: if you have bangs, you’ll need to pull them back, otherwise you will have ghost hairs on your cartoon’s forehead and it will look very odd. (I learned this from trial and error, but it touches on it in the how-to video.) Here’s the app downloading my face (without bangs and in better lighting).

And it’s true: My Idol analyzes your face with startling accuracy. (Disappointingly, it even captured the zit I got this morning.) When I consulted the HelloGiggles office, the general consensus seemed to be that my cartoon looked as if I’d “had a baby with Anne Hatheway.” She’s an Oscar-winning actress and kickass at lip-syncing, so I’ll take it.

When you first meet your cartoon, it takes you to a “homepage” and gives you a few options: a little sweater (for dressing your mini me), a video camera (for making videos, of course), a silhouette (for photos), and a winking smiley face (for GIFs). I started with the sweater button, gave her the hairstyle closest to my everyday look (which is to say messy), and dressed her in the only all-black option (my default outfit). You can definitely get weird with it — and honestly, you should, because it’s way more fun — but I tried to keep things simple for the sake of brevity.

Then, I started playing around. Here are a few of your photo options.

And here are a few of your GIF options. (I’m partial to the ones where I’m crying and flipping tables.)

I also made a video, which is a suspiciously accurate depiction of me on Lunar New Year, but I’ll save us all the embarrassment of sharing the whole thing and provide you with this little teaser.

Personally, my MyIdol days are probably numbered, but it was fun while it lasted. People are going crazy over the app — and it’s proven to be a surprisingly polarizing topic (some people absolutely hate it, while others possibly haven’t opened another app in days). MyIdol has actually even sparked a few debates across the Internet about self-representation, which is totally valid, even though it might seem odd for something so seemingly trivial. Most notably, Allison P. Davis wrote a hilarious review of the app for NY Mag, in which she discusses the anxiety of creating the perfect MyIdol:

While the MyIdol craze is probably just the latest, passing fad in smartphone entertainment, we think it’s an excellent way to take a work break. Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

(Images via HelloGiggles.)