TikTok Star Jasmine Chiswell Talks Living With Ghosts in Marilyn Monroe's Former House

Don't let the platinum blonde hair, cherry red lipstick and vintage wardrobe fool you: Jasmine Chiswell is a modern woman. Sure, she and her husband live in the house once occupied by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio during their brief marriage, but whereas Monroe was a press fixture adored by millions of movie fans, Chiswell is a huge social media star with more than 9.7 followers on TikTok alone.

Jasmine Chiswell
TikTok star Jasmine Chiswell. Jasmine Chiswell

TikTok may be where Chiswell, who does bear an incredible resemblance to Monroe, is the most visible, but the Scotland native also enjoys large audiences on Instagram (615,000 followers) and YouTube (227,000 subscribers). Her most popular videos tend to be fashion-related or makeup tips—like how to not smudge lipstick while wearing a COVID-19 mask—though she also gives like mini-tours of her home for fans, as well as take photo/video requests from fans. [Ed. note: All her content would be acceptable for airing on 1950s-era television.]

Despite her glamorous looks, Chiswell gives off a kind-hearted impression during conversation and seems genuinely surprised by the attention her social media presence attracts. She also comes off as sincere, even when talking about ghosts she says lives with her.

"A lot of different people have come over and stayed, and they believe there's definitely a warm female energy," she said when asked if one ghost could be the spirit of Marilyn Monroe.

Read Newsweek's conversation with Chiswell below. This interview has been edited and condensed for the sake of length and clarity.

Could you start by talking a little bit about where your love for vintage looks comes from?

I've always loved old Hollywood movies from the '50s, and I used to work in the film industry. I loved learning more about different film techniques, so that's kind of where my love for movies came from. And I always love the fashion [from the time period], but I felt growing up that I just couldn't dress that way; I was just insecure about it. But I started dressing in more vintage gradually, and about four years ago, I began dressing vintage every day. Actually, I started with my makeup and my hair. It really just went from there to clothes, and now it's just my everyday fashion.

About how old were you when your fascination with old Hollywood began?

Oh, my goodness. I don't even really remember, but I know I really focused a lot on them [movies] when I was 15, 16. I watch them all the time now as well, especially for fashion ideas. But definitely from a young age.

Your accent gives away you're from Scotland. Could you tell me where you're from in Scotland?

Sure. I'm from the countryside in between Glasgow and Edinburgh—an area with maybe 2,000, 3,000 people. So, for me, even just moving to L.A. and into a city was a big change.

Had you been to Hollywood before you moved there?

No, I'd never been. Obviously, I'd heard a lot about it, and my parents had been a few times for work. But I'd never been. The first time I came here was the day I moved. So, it was a big shock, to say the least. I'd been to America a few times before, and my move happened pretty fast, so I didn't even get a chance to come over and feel things around. I remember being so jet-lagged, and I woke up in the morning on my first day, and I was like, "This is not Scotland, it's sunny."

May I ask what your parents do for a living?

My parents split up when I was around 17. But they worked for coffee companies together, and that's what my dad still does to this day. I'm not really sure what my mom does, because I'm just building that relationship back up.

What do your family and friends think about what you're doing now in America? Are they pretty surprised about your status as a social media influencer?

Yeah, I think it was kind of surreal for them. For a while, they were just kind of like, "You have more followers than all of Scotland." I think they didn't really understand it at the beginning when they saw me dressing in all vintage. Now, they're used to me dressing this way. With the numbers [of social media views/followers], my dad still watches it all the time. He'll say, "Oh, my goodness. You're at this number now!" Sometimes he tells me the numbers before I know.

What brought you to America originally?

I just was finishing my degree in media in Glasgow, and I was doing a lot of independent film stuff with different companies like the BBC. A few people told me I should go to London or maybe go to a master's degree program somewhere in America, just to try out the American film industry a little bit. I applied to do my master's degree in London at the New York Film Academy [Ed. note: The N.Y. Film Academy has a London campus]. They were full that year, but I got accepted to the New York Film Academy in America, and I thought it was in New York. I soon find out I'd going to the L.A. campus. So, I came out here just to do a master's. I was planning on going back to Scotland, but I actually met my husband [Maverick McNeilly] here, and we decided to stay.

What kind of work were you doing with film?

Film production. I used to write and direct a lot of different film projects when I was just a student. That was really my goal in coming to L.A.—to focus on directing and writing, and go back [to Scotland] and do that.

Would you ever consider returning to film, or do you consider what you're doing now is kind of like film work in a way?

I absolutely still love film and still write different scripts. I feel like I still do it every day when coming up with ideas for filming [social media]. At this moment, I'm focusing on that, but I definitely would love to jump back into movies, for sure. I love horror movies—all the scary stuff.

Are you surprised by the fan reaction you get? Did you even think this sort of thing—creating social media content—was something you could do for a living when you moved to America?

When I first moved here, Instagram was still the main one, and I didn't really know much about TikTok until like maybe 2019. I was in between visas, and I wanted to do some social media stuff, but I also didn't expect vintage fashion would have so many people that are so interested in it.



♬ I Wanna Be Loved By You - Marilyn Monroe (performer)

Your look is obviously very inspired by Marilyn Monroe. Is that because there are similarities in your appearances, or does she hold a particular fascination for you more than other actresses?

It started because when I first began dressing in vintage, I had done my hair blonde, and people remarked I looked like Marilyn. I had no idea; it was like not even intentional, but just kind of happened. I love her fashion, of course, but I also love so many other celebrities' fashions from back then.

You mentioned your husband earlier, he seems pretty on board with the whole vintage look. Was he already into it when you met him?

To be honest, we were both kind of into grunge style when we met. I started dressing vintage, and then I would say six months later, he started dressing vintage, too. We both have a passion for the fashion now, and it's nice to have that in common. We go shopping together and help each other with different outfit choices.

If we're using a Marilyn Monroe analogy for you, is your husband more Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller or James Dougherty? [Ed. note: These were Monroe's husbands.]

Definitely Joe DiMaggio.

That's a good answer, especially since you live in the former house where he and Marilyn lived, right?

That's right!

Jasmine Chiswell 2
The "Marilyn Monroe of Social Media," Jasmine Chiswell. Jasmine Chiswell

I've heard you speak on social media that the house may have a friendly ghost. Could you talk a little about that?

Sure. When we first moved in, no one said anything about it being haunted or anything like that. I would say within the first week we didn't really hear anything. Then once we started getting settled in—I would say within the first week and a half—we started hearing footsteps. My husband then actually saw a kind of like woman in a green top and white Capris with blonde hair out of the side of his eye. And so many people have come over for meetings, and they feel as if people are hugging them. We've heard voices around the house which we thought it sounded like a walkie-talkie. And I'm like, "Who has walkie-talkies anymore?" We've heard so many different things, and many weird things have happened.

Would you ever like consider having a ghost medium come into your house?

A lot of people, especially on my TikTok keep telling me I need to have someone come over. I'm definitely for it. I think that'd be kind of a cool video to do. One woman did come over who knows about those things. She said she felt three spirits here. She said it feels like a couple—a woman and a man—and she believed that it was Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. She said that there's another man here too, who was involved in building the house. So, I have no idea, but apparently that ghost like to play pranks on us. A lot of different people have come over and stayed, and they believe there's definitely a warm female energy.