A YouTube star was able to use an Ikea photoshoot to trick her followers into believing she was on a luxurious trip in Bali without ever leaving the comfort of her town.
Natalia Taylor, who has over 1.9M subscribers on the video-sharing platform, shared details of her devious prank on Feb. 10, a few days after she successfully pulled it off.
“It’s been said that life on the internet isn’t always what it seems, especially in today’s day and age where it’s so easy to pretend to be anyone you want to be,” the vlogger explained in a video which has since been viewed over 1M times. “Today, I am putting that to the test to see if I can fake an entire vacation by posting false photos and Instagram stories.”
Taylor revealed the methodology behind her scheme was actually quite simple — she got all dressed up, including hair and makeup, recruited her photographer friend, Ally Amodeo, and went to the Ikea store located about a block away from her home.
The pair then scouted out room displays that most encapsulated the vibe of a trendy Bali resort and began snapping pics.
“They set them up to look so cute you can almost mistake them for a hotel or an Airbnb,” Taylor said of the Swedish furniture giant. “They really are that well decorated, they don’t look like store displays at all.”
After taking an array of glamorous pictures in different Ikea displays, Taylor then laid the groundwork for her “vacation” on Instagram, uploading generic travel images to her story — like an airplane window and the inside of an airport — to create the idea she was en route to somewhere fab.
Then, she shared her first photo on her account and was stunned to find that not a single one of her followers doubted her fake trip, despite some visible Ikea tags purposefully left in the images.
“No one is questioning it. At all,” Taylor said on YouTube.
As the photos progressed, Taylor said she tried to make them look even more “questionable” so that eagle-eyed followers might start to catch on.
“You can clearly tell, if you look closely, that there is an Ikea iPad in the background, along with a tag that, if you zoom in far enough, you can actually tell it says Ikea,” she said of a photo taken in one of the display rooms.
Taylor also pointed out that all of her photos were taken inside — no classic Bali beach photos were used in the making of her fake vacation — and still, no one sounded the alarm.
When coming clean in her subsequent vlog about the experience, Taylor said she hopes she didn’t break the trust of her followers but also wants her experiment to drive home an important lesson.
“Don’t trust everything you see on the internet,” she urged. “Sometimes, people want to lie about who they are as a person.”
“And it’s not hard, apparently,” she added.
In March 2019, YouTuber Roxxsaurus attempted the same stunt, fooling her followers into believing she was on a Bali vacation using advanced photoshop techniques rather than a fake second location.
While some fellow bloggers were kind in their comments, tons of followers immediately caught on to her antics, calling out her fake-cation shortly after each photo went live.
It appears, if you wish to fake a vacation #forthegram, real photos at a fake location might be the best way to go.