An Influencer Used Instagram To Fake An Entire Trip To Coachella
A YouTube personality has successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of nearly four million followers in a bid to prove a point about the nature of social media.
Gabbie Hanna, an influencer with more than 3.8 million followers on Instagram and six million on YouTube, managed to Photoshop her way into the second weekend of Coachella -- a huge music and arts festival held in California's Colorado desert.
"Going to Coachella for most people, at least in LA, is weeks of preparation, thousands of dollars into outfits, hair, makeup, weaves, wigs, extensions, hotels, travel, alcohol, food, tickets," she said in the video.
"It's an investment."
So Hanna set out to recreate it all, complete with wig changes and fake AirBnB accommodation in Palm Springs.
In reality, her festival snaps and Instagram photos were staged at a friend's house -- in lieu of a stylish AirBnB -- and on the lawn of a park in a seaside LA community.
After photoshopping Coachella crowds into the backgrounds and tweaking the lighting for that perfect filtered finished, no one appears to have been the wiser.
While followers went to bed, resting easy on the knowledge one of their favourite influencers was having a blast in the desert, she was really working out at the gym.
Hanna even went so far as to say the entire experiment wasn't "that far from reality".
READ MORE: What's The Deal With Becoming An Influencer?
"I know people who go to Coachella weekend one and bring twice as many outfits and double up on their outfit each day so that they can pretend like they're at Coachella weekend two, but they're not," she said.
As a self-confessed "socially anxious hermit", Hanna said it was no secret Coachella isn't her thing despite the crème de la crème of music lineups each year (Beyonce, we're looking at you).
READ MORE: Are Instagram Influencers Ruining Travel?
Coachella is arguably one of the most well-documented music festivals running -- Instagrammed, Snapchatted, vlogged and artistically captured on vintage film cameras -- each year pegged as a groovy get-together for the rich and famous, and the rest of us who can save enough to get there.
But for Hanna, the entire experience of pretending to be there was a reminder social media can be "a very curated and manipulated version of reality".
"I know a lot of people look at people on Instagram and social media and they think 'wow their life is impossibly perfect, that body, that vacation, that car'. So much of it's fake and that's okay I'm not shading anybody who does that on social media because it is a viable career.
"But for an average viewer who is just watching these things and aspiring for these things, just know those things aren't always as attainable as they seem."
Hanna's experiment is not the first of its kind, a fact she acknowledges in the video, listing other YouTubers who have created fake travel photos.
There's even a company who will help you do it. For a small fee, Nebraska-based photo-editing service Fake A Vacation will digitally alter your photos to make it look like you're on holiday.
Fake it 'till you make it, friends.