This YouTuber traveled across the globe — without even leaving the aisles of a furniture store!
Earlier this month, Natalia Taylor posted her best #VacationGoals photos to Instagram, giving her more than 300,000 followers a glimpse at what appeared to be an exotic getaway to Bali. The stunning snapshots showed the influencer living it up in a hot-pink dress.
“Where should I travel to next? ,” she captioned one photo, chilling in a bathtub.
Despite tagging each post with her location as “Bali, Indonesia,” Taylor couldn’t have been further from the island destination — or the truth. In fact, she was pulling off a sly stunt to test just how gullible social media users can be.
Every vacation photo she shared, it turned out, was snapped inside her local IKEA store and its fully decorated showrooms.
“I believe influencers have a responsibility to show full transparency at all times,” Taylor tells PEOPLE of the moral message of her stunt. “Because this is not always the case, we all need a reminder that not everything you see online is accurate.”
In a YouTube video titled “I FAKED a vacation at IKEA” that she posted after the social media experiment, Taylor explained her motive and gave a behind-the-scenes look at her furniture store photoshoot.
“Being a YouTuber, I find humor in everyday life,” says Taylor. “When your imagination is constantly in overdrive, you ask yourself those silly questions like, ‘Could I take pictures in IKEA and get away with it?'”
She adds: “There was only one way to find out.”
In the video, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times, Taylor can be seen turning heads as her friends photograph her and document the excursion for her vlog channel.
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With plenty of other pranks and photoshoot challenges on her channel, Taylor says she’s “so happy” to use her platform to entertain people with “refreshing content that makes people laugh and think.”
For the most part, Taylor found that her fellow Instagram users bought the all-indoor vacation pictures as authentic, but once she revealed the deception to her fans, they appreciated the goal of the aspirational simulation.
“Most people have been able to see the deeper point beneath the humor — we take social media too seriously,” Taylor says. “And we shouldn’t believe everything on it.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, an IKEA spokesperson responded to the prank: “At IKEA, we encourage creativity and love to see our customers engaging with the iconic room settings we feature in our stores. One of things that makes IKEA so unique are the many different reasons customers come to visit – from craving a Swedish meatball or planning a kitchen makeover to taking engagement photos, and even, pretending to be on a dream vacation.”
They added, “No matter the reason, we’re happy to provide an inspiring destination for our fans IRL and on ‘the gram.'”