It doesn't matter if you're Jewish or not, the Instagram account CrazyJewishMom feels applicable to almost any person from any background. The viral collection of candid (and over-the-top) text messages from mother Kim Friedman to daughter Kate Siegel have captivated followers for almost two years, showcasing conversations that focus around everything from relationships to Spanx. Almost 1 million social media followers can attest that not only are the insights into their unique mother-daughter relationship hysterical, but it hits close to home. As Siegel notes, "What she worries about is universal; all moms are concerned about the same things."
Paying homage to their one-of-a-kind bond, Siegel's debut novel "Mother, Can You Not?" is a collection of essays and stories from Siegel's life growing up with, a well, crazy Jewish mother. From the awkward (like Kim finding Kate in bed with a boy) to the aggressive (like the duo following a college admissions officer across three state lines), the book takes readers on a hysterical journey that explores a familial relationship that although unique, feels completely relatable. "Mother, Can You Not?" serves as a reminder that even though our moms can go a bit overboard, we can't help but unconditionally love them.
This sentimental message alongside stories that will make you (literally) laugh out loud, makes "Mother, Can You Not?" one of the best gifts you can give to the female role models in your life this Mother's Day. In celebration of the maternal figures in our lives, we sat down with the duo behind CrazyJewishMom, Kate Siegel and Kim Friedman, to discuss their newest book, what life was like when they went viral, and how their relationship has changed since becoming business partners.
And for even more CrazyJewishMom news, head over to AOL.com at 12 p.m. ET for more exclusive features, including Kim Friedman's best piece of dating advice.
A post shared by Crazy Jewish Mom (@crazyjewishmom) on May 3, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT
Do you remember your first Instagram post?
Kate Siegel: Yes because I had my one year anniversary of Instagram on November 3rd or 4th. It was ironically not a screenshot of a conversation, but a screenshot of all the voicemails I had from her.
Did you ever have an 'aha' moment when you realized that this account would be much bigger than it was?
Kate Siegel: It was more like a panic attack! This editor at Buzzfeed reached out and said she was interested in writing a post on the account. And I had a friend Jacob who worked there so I asked him what it would be about, and he said it would be a post that would get me some followers and be a cool feature. For whatever reason, the post went incredibly viral and was trending at the number one spot on Buzzfeed for two days. From there, a ton of other outlets picked it up and wanted to talk about our story.
Kim Friedman: How many followers did you go up?
Kate Siegel: In a day it went from 11,000 to maybe 200,000.
Kim Friedman: And then she threw up.
Kate Siegel: Yeah, we were at lunch and the Buzzfeed article went live. So I refreshed my feed and all of a sudden followers starting pouring in. I got up and I went to the bathroom and puked. It was not the best response to stress -- but it happens. The next week at work people kept calling me. They found my office phone number and it was really intense. That was tricky to navigate. For a while I was making it work, posting on Instagram before and after work.
Kim Friedman: And then she quit her job! She's unemployed and I think she needs a job. I think she needs medical benefits.
Pick up a copy of #MotherCanYouNOT today via link in bio 👆 AND available IN STORES in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia! In an effort to support local stores, we're offering bookplates signed by me AND my #CrazyJewishMom if you buy a copy at your local book store, post a photo with the book using the hashtag #MotherCanYouNOT, and fill out the form linked in my bio 👆! (Note: if you preordered, you can receive this offer as well, just post the photo and fill out the form in bio.) 📷: @AOL.Build and make sure to watch our exlusive in depth 20 minute panel while you're on my website under videos. Spoiler: my mom talks about the time she brought a dildo to a job interview! #CrazyJewishMom
A post shared by Crazy Jewish Mom (@crazyjewishmom) on Apr 9, 2016 at 11:07am PDT
What was the reaction from your family and friends once you went viral?
Kate Siegel: My dad doesn't really understand what's going on. I tried to tell him about Instagram, so step one I told him it was a form of social media. And that didn't compute with him because he's not on Facebook or anything like that. I tried to explain that I post conversations, people can follow me, and then read them. I don't think he really understands how it works. I signed both of them up for an Instagram account and then both of them promptly forgot their passwords.
Kim Friedman: Friends of mine happened to be on Instagram and so I was amazed that so many other people were interested in seeing our messages, regardless of whether they knew me or not.
Kate Siegel: It is also normal now for reporters to talk about our lives, but it was weird at first.
TUNE IN TO @NIGHTLINE TONIGHT TO HEAR MORE OF MY #CrazyJewishMom SHOUTING AT STRANGERS! Also, our interview with @danharris about #MotherCanYouNot (On sale now in stores and available via link in bio👆)! CC: @Johnkapetaneas @stevenrbaker @ozrenmilharcic @bookculture #MotherCanYouNot #CrazyJewishMom 📷
A post shared by Crazy Jewish Mom (@crazyjewishmom) on Apr 6, 2016 at 5:18pm PDT
It's probably because your relationship was always normal to you
Kate Siegel: People always ask when I realized that these messages were crazy. But growing up, these never felt crazy to me -- and I don't think I feel that way now, because that's how I grew up. So stalking a college admissions officer across three state lines was super normal.
Kim Friedman: That was her normal!
And it still is I'm guessing.
Kim Friedman: Yes!
Kate Siegel: In high school we were stalking admissions officers and now my mother is forcing strangers to buy my book.
Kim Friedman: Now I want to go see the CEO of AOL and get her a job here!
Kate Siegel: She loves AOL. But with the book, every person that she sees she forces it on them.
Kim Friedman: You could be a best-selling author like Ariana Huffington and then run something at AOL. Then you'd finally have health benefits.
Kate Siegel: Thanks mom.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusives on CrazyJewishMom, including their biggest dating advice.
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