rogue

Natalia Taylor's 300,000 Instagram followers thought she was in Bali. It was really just IKEA.

Bali is like Mecca for social media influencers, but if you’re not quite up to a long flight to Indonesia… A trip to your local IKEA might suffice.

Sure, there are no beaches or beautiful Balinese scenery and the food is a little more Swedish meatballs than you’d expect in Southeast Asia, but if what you’re after is a few good Insta shots over a fun travel experience (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), IKEA is a much cheaper option.

This has been proven by American influencer Natalia Taylor, who managed to fool her followers into thinking she was enjoying a lavish Bali holiday when actually, she was at the Swedish furniture store.

Natalia explains why she tricked her followers. Post continues below video.

Video via YouTube

So committed to the prank, Natalia got dressed up, had her hair and makeup done and headed down the road to IKEA with a photographer friend to stage photo shoots in the store’s display rooms, simultaneously vlogging the whole thing.

“Ah yes, Indonesia, a gorgeous getaway full of tropical paradise and exotic photo opportunities, the perfect place to totally fake an influencer vacation and lie to all of my followers,” Natalia said on YouTube, exposing her prank.

The video shows how she awkwardly staged the photo shoot as customers and even an IKEA staff member sort of… wandered around her, and removed a few of the super obvious IKEA tags from the shot.

As she explained, post-awkward photo shoot, she began her elaborate scheme by posting selfies and an image outside a plane window to make it look like she was in transit.

Then… she began posting to her feed.

“The queen has arrived #bali,” she captioned her first set of images, tagging the location as Bali, Indonesia.

 

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A post shared by Natalia Taylor (@natalia__taylor) on

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Later photos show her with a bottle of wine, posing on outdoor furniture and sitting in a bathtub.

In the comments, her followers shared their own travel experiences in Bali and ideas for where she should go next.

 

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Where should I travel to next? ✨???? Comment below and maybe I will ;)

A post shared by Natalia Taylor (@natalia__taylor) on


“It’s been said life on the internet isn’t always what it seems, especially in today’s day and age when it’s so easy to pretend to be anyone you want to be,” she said on YouTube.

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“So many influencers nowadays have actually been caught in the act of pretending to be at a destination when they really weren’t and it’s either Photoshop or it’s not even them.”

But if you look really closely at her photos, the ruse is pretty easy to spot.

natalia taylor
Image: Instagram.
natalia taylor
Image: Instagram.
natalia taylor
Image: Instagram.
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While in IKEA, Natalia made sure to take a few selfies and videos of 'rooms' to post on her Instagram story to make the whole thing seem more authentic. Then she grabbed footage of Bali's Denpasar Airport from the internet and borrowed footage from a friend's actual trip to Bali and... Everyone fell for it.

From posting the images of February 7, to uploading on YouTube to her 1.97 million subscribers explaining the prank in February 11, absolutely no one questioned her images.

"No one is questioning it at all. Everyone believes I’m in Bali right now," she said.

"It seems painfully obvious that I’m not in Bali. I’m not even posting any of the iconic Bali photos of me on the beach or in exotic locations and I’m getting away with it. That’s insane, I can't believe [my followers] trust me that much."

She got away with it on Instagram, with the ball only dropping once she uploaded the YouTube video.

"OH MY GOD I THOUGHT YOU WERE ACTUALLY THERE!!!!" one follower commented on her video, with others replying they thought the same.

"It was suspicious, I mean who goes to Bali and spends the entire time in three different rooms," another said... And true.

 

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Tea isn’t the only thing I drink.. ????????

A post shared by Natalia Taylor (@natalia__taylor) on

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Even though Natalia is far from the first influencer to fake a holiday she said she felt bad duping her followers, and there was a lesson to be learned from her experiment.

"Don't trust everything you see on the internet. Sometimes, people want to lie about who they are as a person, and it's not hard to do apparently."

In April 2019, influencer Gabbie Hanna convinced her three million-plus Instagram followers that she was at Coachella when she definitely was not.

In a YouTube video, Gabbie documented how she faked a trip to the world's most Instagramable music festival.

The 23-minute long video showed exactly how Gabbie was able to fake her Coachella weekend, from printing out fake wristbands and pretending to get ready with friends in someone else’s house, to photoshoots in an empty park perfect for photoshopping people into the background of.

But there have also been influencers caught out for faking holidays photos that were not for a 'gotcha' YouTube moment.

In 2018 Swedish influencer Johanna Olsson was been caught photoshopping herself onto various backgrounds across Paris.

The blogger, who was sent to Paris on an all expenses paid trip to promote clothes, inserted herself into different backgrounds, while also heavily editing the scenic photos to make them appear more beautiful.

The backlash came quick and Johanna was forced to disable comments on her Instagram page when fans began to point out that the photos looked superimposed.

"I admit it wasn’t my finest Photoshop skills... I just wanted to make that clear that I was in Paris, but I did Photoshop the background, but I’m not going to take them down because it’s a collaboration," she said in response.

Feature image: Instagram.

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