Who is Avril Lavigne? Or Should We Say Melissa?

Tyler Crews, Opinions Editor

Avril Lavigne’s dramatic changes between now and 2003 caused many fans to believe that there is more to the story than a significant glow up.

The widespread conspiracy theory — originally from a Brazilian fanpage —  states that Lavigne, the punk-pop princess, died and left in her stead a replacement named Melissa Vandella. Melissa has supposedly been trained in Lavigne’s singing style, attitude and mannerisms in order to mimic the original star. Is there any truth to this conspiracy? We are diving into the evolution of Lavigne in order to find out.

In 2002, Lavigne released her debut album “Let Go,” which featured hits like “Sk8er Boi,” “Complicated” and “I’m With You.” The original theorist claims that shortly after the popularity of her first album rose, Lavigne couldn’t handle the fame and hired a body double — Vandella — to take some of the burden. Then, while working on her second album, Lavigne supposedly fell into a depression and was found dead in 2003 by her record company, who then used Vandella as a replacement.

Supposedly, Vandella felt wrong about all of the lies, so she left a trail of messages in her music to tell the truth. The page cites the song lyrics of 2004  “Nobody’s Home,” which read:

“She wants to go home

but nobody’s home

that’s where she lies

broken inside

with no place to go

no place to go

to dry her eyes

broken inside”

These lyrics support the fanpage’s theory that Lavigne may have died at her parents’ house, when she came home and the house was empty. The page continues on, and cites 12 different pieces of “evidence” of Lavigne’s death and Vandella’s rise to fame, including change in calligraphy, reconfiguration of beauty spots and subliminal messaging in lyrics, as seen above.

Image from the Brazillian fan page.

We also looked at a fan made video supposedly comparing Avril and Melissa.

While the two versions of Lavigne shown are different, it is more likely that this is due to her maturing. However, some NYU students believe differently.

Tisch first-year Christina Amiridas believes in the theory, after researching with her friends during her senior year of high school.

“I was convinced that it was true when I read that Avril taught Melissa to sing and talk like her,” Amiridas said. “There’s obviously still a part of me that thinks it’s a long shot and a bit ridiculous, but there is so much evidence and no one has heard much from or seen a lot of Melissa since 2003.”

She thinks the most solid piece of evidence is the fact that Lavigne’s personality changed.

“I am a firm believer in people having the ability to change their entire personalities in a short period of time, but Avril Lavigne apparently used to have panic attacks when she needed to interact with the paparazzi or interviewers,” Amiridas said. “Now ‘Avril’ is very comfortable in the spotlight.”

Tisch sophomore Zachary Sherman said he thinks the rumors could be true.

“I mean, she did marry Nickelback, so I guess anything really is a possibility,” Sherman said. “But that’s life, am I right?”

Tisch first-year Brian Cheng also voiced concern saying, “Why would she marry Chad from Nickelback?”

Sherman and Cheng are both citing the marriage between lavigne — or Vandella — and Chad Kroeger, the lead singer and guitarist for Nickelback, that lasted from 2013 to 2017.

Unfortunately, this conspiracy seems to be just that, a conspiracy. The original blogger who started the “Avril is Dead” campaign owned up to fabricating the theory in 2015 to see if fans would jump on the bandwagon. The creator stated, “Avril Lavigne never died and was replaced by a lookalike, I created this theory to see if people would believe it, and thousands of people believed it was a fact.”

While this theory may not be founded in truth, it does show how suspicious people are toward the lives of celebrities, and how one blog post can reshape the way people think.

Lavigne is not dead, but Sherman proposed his own theory.

“It’d be cool if there were two Avril’s at the same time and not one of them being dead,” Sherman said.

Email Tyler Crews [email protected]