Amelia Dimoldenberg just turned Duck downstairs for an appointment. In August of last year, the new king of pop slithered into his Instagram comments with a request: “Date at the chicken shop?” he asked him. “I’ll buy you a portion of chicken nuggets, it will be the best date of your life,” she replied. And for the last year, the chat has moved to DMs, as the couple have tried to coordinate with their equally hectic schedules an appearance on chicken shop date, Dimoldenberg’s immensely popular web series. The last time she texted him, she asked him if he could quickly fly to Sweden (as is done) to film it. She was going back and forth about whether to accept the offer. How often do opportunities like this happen? Does Sweden even have chicken shops? “I left it on read for a whole day,” she recalls, but she ultimately turned it down, saying it had to happen in the UK. “It’s what the fans want. It would be so much more iconic.”
Charming big names is as easy as breathing for Dimoldenberg. Few can say they’ve made Andrew Garfield visibly blush the way he did in this year’s issue. G.Q. men of the year red carpet, when he cut short the usual awkward talk by complimenting Garfield’s armpits (which featured prominently in a certain cover session). Garfield’s eyebrows are raised so high that they reach his hairline, but work to relax his hair. “It’s weird what you do,” he tells her. “Rare as good. It’s very specific what you do.”
Weird is one way of describing his methods. chicken shop dateDimoldenberg’s YouTube show featuring celebrities including grime artists, football players and A-list actors, to London’s best whipped-wing purveyors, he shows off his knack for pulling stars out of their media-trained reverie and capturing something awkwardly (and hilariously) real. A web series needs a creative angle to cut through the noise, but it’s Dimoldenberg’s abrasive personality that sets his show above the rest. She subverts the feigned courtesy of the interview circuit to reveal just how sublimely bizarre the whole charade really is.
But today it’s out of the fast-food joints and exposed to the extravagant pageantry of a Michelin-starred restaurant: London’s Ritz Hotel, no less, with tuxedo-clad waiters, tiny bite-sized plates, a ban of pants. “I’ve never been here before,” she says, after running up to hug her and look up at the restaurant’s towering baroque ceilings. A quick glance confirms that we are both about 30 years younger than the average eater here. “Oh my gosh…” she says, her eyes wide. looney tunes-style, on the menu. It turns out that fine dining is a strange new experience for both of them. Dimoldenberg politely declines the complimentary platter of duck liver hors d’oeuvres. “I come from a family of picky eaters,” she confesses. “Maybe that’s why I like nuggets and fries.”
chicken shop date started as a magazine column for your local youth club publication and has grown exponentially to become a cult favorite talk show with over 180 million views and guests including Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX and jack harlow. On camera, Dimoldenberg is terrifyingly realistic, squashing conventional niceties (“It’s certainly an exaggeration of my personality,” he says), but Amelia in real life is goofy and bubbly, a far cry from the sardonic persona she plays online. Over lunch, each colorful, star-studded story she shares is punctuated with a toothy smile, as if she’s silently asking, “Can you believe it?”