The image is bright—the colors, vibrant—the eyes as round as saucers. The girl kicks her heeled shoes up on the side of the wall, one on top of the other, while her right hand is stretched outwards towards you, one finger on the left hand pointing towards herself mischievously. In another photo, she swings from a pole in a Metro railcar, writing, “My stripper song is ‘Pony.’” Throughout, it’s impossible to see her real face, though she would never say what she shows you is fake. What you see is a massive bunny costume head, pink, pleased, and with long eyelashes. This is LittleBunnyDC, a brand new Instagram personality about to make it big in the District.
The girl behind the mask is Catherine “Cat” Breen, a Los Angeles-native-turned-DC-resident who works as an office manager for a data center company. All day, every day, her world is filled with human relations, insurance, phone systems and expense reports.
“It’s certainly not a creative outlet,” she says, happy to don her orchid pink disguise with its floppy ears and jovial grin.
Before moving to the DMV, it wasn’t unusual for Breen to put on an animal head disguise. Often, she would traverse the California town, going to parties with friends in order to take photos together with a Polaroid camera. After moving to DC in October 2015 to be closer to her then-boyfriend-now-fiance, all that came to a screeching halt.
“Not having friends is hard because you don’t get out that often,” Breen says. “It’s a weird city, and it’s the opposite of L.A. in that it’s so serious and everyone takes themselves really seriously, even the young kids.”
Because of this, her desire to do anything unorthodox or creative became stifled. Once the aspect to leave it all behind arose, she knew she had to ignore the seriousness of the city to express her true self.
The bunny head comes from Urban Outfitters, purchased for Halloween a few years ago, but, for about a year and a half it sat unused in a corner of her living room. After her fiance began throwing out unnecessary objects in their home, the question of whether or not to throw out the bunny head emerged. She insisted she needed it, and he agreed if she could figure out a way to use it.
“I’ll do something with this,” she says. “But it’s kind of hard to actually execute that in a city as serious as DC. It’s hard to be weird in public. You get a lot of weird looks from people, and I was nervous about bringing that out.”
Back home, Breen has many supportive friends who would don animal heads with her.
“When I lived in L.A., I think we had eight or 10 different animal masks that we would bring out all the time,” she says. “We would bring them to bars. We would bring them to parties. We would take pictures with them at home.”
While dressing up in animal head masks is not necessarily common, it didn’t feel so weird in that part of California, Breen says. Costumes were also a common escape for her. Growing up, she was near a year-round costume store, known as Costume Castle. One of the store’s walls was covered from head to toe in animal head masks, which she said she instantly found “hilarious and funny.”
“I have so many photos inside that costume store,” she says. “I think the animal thing started there.”
Despite her being intimidated by the serious nature of the nation’s capital, Breen spoke with several friends and realized she truly wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone and express her creativity in a way like she was used to before moving to DC.
Since the Instagram account was founded in November 2017, it has gained more than 350 followers and been featured on more well-known Instagram accounts like IGDC.
The LittleBunnyDC isn’t a lone wolf, though, when it comes to DC’s animal-headed Instagram scene. There is another animal-headed woman who is blowing up the social media scene; the Instagram account’s name is _pandawhite, and it has more than 19,000 followers. This account has gained so much steam that the person behind it has been cast on a reality show.
“I’m not trying to be competition,” Breen says, adding that reality TV shows aren’t her goal. What appeals to her more is the aspect of starting a trend of animal-headed Instagram accounts: “I think it’d be really cool.”
“I would hope that it encourages other people to be weird and to know that there is some weird in DC, and it’s fun, and it’s cool, and it’s creative,” Breen says. “To see people push back against the really serious nature of DC would be really awesome, and if I was able to be a part of that, I think that would be fantastic.”
For now, her focus is simply allowing the LittleBunnyDC Instagram page to help her push herself out of her comfort zone and explore the city, even if it means doing something that could be seen as strange.
“I’m learning to be okay with being weird,” she says.
You can follow Breen’s bunny-headed adventures @LittleBunnyDC on Instagram.