Visitors to Instagram influencer Natalia Taylor's page earlier this month might have felt a bit envious upon seeing all the glamorous photos and videos of her enjoying a vacation in Bali. But the exotic trip was all a lie. While pictures showed her relaxing in a fancy bathtub, drinking champagne and ordering room service inside a wood-paneled hotel room, Taylor took the photos at her nearby Ikea.
With photo captions like "The queen has arrived #bali," it was easy for her more than 330,000 Instagram followers to think the model was living her best globe-trotting life. But in an age when social media can lead people to think every one else's lives are better, Taylor wanted to prove not everything on Instagram is real.
"Life on the internet isn't always what it seems; especially in this day and age where it's so easy to pretend to be anyone you want to be," explains in a video on YouTube, where she has 96 million followers. "So many influencers have actually been caught in the act pretending to be at a destination when they really weren't; it's just either Photoshop, or it's not even them."
Taylor dressed up and went to Ikea to take convincing vacation photos with the help of her photographer friend Ally Amodeo.
Taylor shows in the video that faking vacation photos is relatively easy at the store since it already has a variety of mini showrooms furnished with everything from chairs and pillows to art and mirrors on the walls.
As long as you're careful not to get price tags or other shoppers in the photos, your selfies can look like you're staying inside a trendy hotel or an Airbnb. Though Taylor did intentionally leave in a few price tags to see if her followers would notice.
The experiment seemed to work, judging by the comments posted under her Instagram photos.
"Our Bali Princess," one commenter posted.
Wrote another commenter, "She really out her living her best life."
Taylor wasn't just trying to prank her followers, but she wanted to prove a point that sometimes we forget what we see on Instagram isn't always real.
"Don't trust everything you see on the internet," Taylor said.