Between the peaks and valleys of the English Lake District, a place so beautiful it has inspired everyone from Romantic poet William Wordsworth to pop titan Taylor Swift, lives a social media star and her two unlikely companions.
With single-track roads and no phone signal for miles, this UNESCO world heritage site seems an unlikely place to find an influencer but 26-year-old Lucie Graham is one unlikely influencer.
This is because Lucie owns an Instagram account for her two pet sheep Jamie and Ted. Whilst it is widely known the internet was exclusively invented to look at cute animals, Lucie goes well beyond the norm and in fact has the rare quality on Instagram of having some substance behind the clinically aesthetic square boxes and red love hearts.
#friendsnotfood – This hashtag, casually dropped on the bottom of her bio, perfectly sums up Lucie’s philosophy. An avowed vegan her platform goes beyond adorable, which her account undeniably is, to spread a message of plant-based love.
“Jamie and Ted are my babies,” Lucie said. “Jamie is a Herdwick (a breed totemic of the Lake Distict) and I’ve had her since she was 10 days old and we have a very close bond. She will happily be cuddled and kissed all day long and bleats whenever I leave the field or am out of sight.
“Ted is really funny and likes to play tag, He likes to do his own thing most of the time but when he wants a cuddle he likes to try and sit on my lap and snuggle in as close as possible. He often falls asleep on my knee.”
Both sheep turned one earlier this year and have organically racked up more than 34,000 followers in the last few months. Their meteoric rise, which has garnered shares from the likes of musician Moby and actress Lucy Davis, is a testament not only to how photogenic they are but also Lucie’s loving ethos which practically drips from every post.
Lucie added: “I haven’t told Jamie about how famous she is, I’m worried it will go to her head. Ted is pretty chilled about it, it doesn’t phase him.”
The account started after people kept telling Lucie they were so surprised to see sheep be so loving and playful with their owner. Initially, she was confused.
Then it started to click… Most people only see sheep in a field or dismembered in a plastic packet at the supermarket. I wanted to create their account to show people how amazing, intelligent and dog-like they are in hope that people think twice about eating them and see they deserve a full and happy life as much as you or I.
“I love Jamie and Ted with my entire heart so it’s been really nice to be able to share their personalities with people via social media and I think subsequently a lot of people around the world have also fallen in love with them.”
A long-standing vegetarian, Lucie said she gradually realised the hypocrisy of saying she loved animals and still turning into products and consuming them.
“I hashtagged my account friends, not food because that is what they are,” added Lucie. “We are all beings on this planet and when there are so many plant-based options, there really is no excuse to take another life for the sensory pleasure of a 15-minute meal.
“It’s about realising that we share the planet, and it would be ignorant to think that my tastebuds are more valuable than a life.
“A plant based diet can also fight climate change as experts have stated that consuming meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming. Personally I would like to have a planet to live on later in life and for my future children, their children and so on."
While controversial among the traditional farming community she lives in, meat-eaters and vegans alike can’t help but agree that the baaah-utiful pair have an un-ignorable cuteness. Whether running to meet Lucie or napping in her lap, the duo are a source of joy to thousands of people across the globe every day.
So whatever you eat, I implore you to go follow @jamieandted to make sure you never miss a bleat.