In case you didn’t know, when a bunch of people are genuinely convinced that something that never happened, well, happened, it is called a Mandela effect.
The phenomenon got its name after many people falsely believed that Nelson Mandela was dead several years before he actually did die.
Other examples of false memories that huge groups of people truly believe to be real can largely be found in the form of popular brand logos and names.
I mean, did you know that footwear company Skechers has actually never been called “Sketchers”? Or that there isn’t a cornucopia in the Fruit of the Loom logo?
Needless to say, there are also plenty of examples in pop culture. Many people quote that famous Star Wars line as “Luke, I am your father.”
The correct quote is: “No, I am your father.”
Similarly, Hannibal Lecter never says the words: “Hello, Clarice,” in the horror franchise. And while we’re at it, Pikachu’s tail has never had a black tip, nor has Shaggy ever had a protruding Adam’s apple in Scooby Doo.
And now people think that they have found a brand-new example of the Mandela effect after a 2016 interview with Britney Spears resurfaced online.
In the clip, Britney is speaking to British chat show host Jonathan Ross, who asks her about her iconic diamond-covered look in the “Toxic” music video, which was released in 2004.
“That’s not actually an outfit,” Britney tells the presenter. “Those are just hand diamonds painted on me. Well, glued on me.”
Jonathan can’t hide his shock, replying: “Wow, were they glued on your body? Or on a bodysuit?”
“Glued on my body,” Britney answers, to which Jonathan confirms: “On the skin?”
Britney says yes, and when Jonathan asks how she got them off after the shoot, she admits: “I don’t remember what I did.”
At this point, Jonathan jokes: “You might still have some on you now!”
After being uploaded to TikTok, the snippet quickly racked up thousands of views and many people in the comments refused to believe what Britney had said in the interview.
In fact, the vast majority of commenters insisted that they had vivid memories of Britney wearing an obvious sheer bodysuit that had been covered in diamonds in the video.
“I could swear I used to see a sheer suit under them 😳” one person wrote. Another added: “I thought FERRRR SURRRREEEEEE I SAW A BODY SUIT. Brit!! Don’t make me question my eyes!!!”
“I absolutely remember this being a body suit! 😳” someone else echoed.
And it didn’t take long for everyone else to clock onto the universal Mandela effect, with one viewer asking: “Is this a new mandela effect? IM SUREE SHE WAS WEARING A BODYSUIT 😱”
“Why do I specifically remember them showing that it was a bodysuit. Mandela effect!!!” someone else commented.
“Another Mandela effect coming through,” one more observed.
Others tried to theorize why so many people had been convinced of a bodysuit, with a Britney fan saying that the star’s jewelry in the music video gives the illusion of her having sleeves and a neckline.
“I think we all got confused because her necklace looked like a bodysuit collar. and a bracelets looked like [sleeves],” they said.
Someone else agreed: “I just watched [Toxic]. With the necklace and bracelet’s I can see why it looks like a body suit. They also cgi things”
And the fact that Britney would often wear a sheer bodysuit covered in diamonds for her live performances was also given as a reason for everyone’s collective false memory.
“The body suit was used for live performances I do believe,” one person explained.
In the music video, Britney appears to be completely naked aside from the jewels and a tiny thong as she writhes around on the floor.
And while you would be forgiven for thinking that she is wearing a sheer bodysuit under the gems, Britney has been open about the fact that she wasn’t long before that 2016 interview.
In fact, the entire behind-the-scenes process of the making of the “Toxic” music video was documented in a MTV special ahead of its release in the early aughts.
Here, both Britney and the video’s director, Joseph Kahn, make repeated reference to the fact that Britney will be nude — with it also being confirmed that this was entirely her idea.
Describing the look, Britney tells the camera: “There are jewels all over my body, there’s nothing actually on underneath. There’s makeup and jewels everywhere.”
Her director adds: “When I do certain videos, I try to make sure that there’s an image that you take of that artist and that will be seared into your subconscious mind. It’s one that Britney came up with herself, and it’s pretty ballsy because she actually has to be completely naked to do the shot.”
Later in the special, Joseph shoos the MTV cameras away from the set as he explains: “Right now we are going to go shoot the jewel set, but you’re not allowed in there because Britney is going to be completely naked except for a couple of jewels covering certain parts of her body.”
And once that shoot had wrapped, Britney comes out of the set wearing a robe and says: “I’m sorry you guys couldn’t be back there, I had nothing on underneath, I just have a bunch of diamonds glued all over my body so it’s a really intimate sexy moment.”
Suffice to say, while Joseph did get his wish of creating an image from that music video that was still seared into our subconscious almost 20 years later, he probably didn’t bank on the majority of us misremembering the shot in question.
But at least it gives us all an excuse to rewatch “Toxic” in 2022 and fall in love with the Princess of Pop all over again.