Most people are aware that things are not always what they seem, particularly on social media. Some will go to great lengths to make it appear that they are living a life that is far more extravagant and enviable than they actually have, and most won’t admit to the fallacy. However, one YouTube star did just that.
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Gabbie Hanna, a 28-year-old YouTube star with over 6.5 million subscribers, posted pictures on Instagram on April 19, saying the images were from her trip to Coachella. The posts featured a range of outfits and locations from the festival, which, according to a report from the Daily Mail, she initially claimed were authentic.
Just days later, Hanna posted a video on YouTube, showcasing how she actually managed to fake her trip.
Along with having background edited by a professional photographer, Hanna also used a friend’s home, claiming it was an “Airbnb.” She even printed out fake versions of the Coachella artist wristband to give the photos more credibility.
In the YouTube video – which is titled “I Faked Going To Coachella” – Hanna described how she was able to pull off the stunt with the help of a few friends. She said she was inspired to trick everyone by other influencers on social media who have done something similar.
“If you’ve paid close attention to me throughout the past couple or few years, you know that I am not Coachella’s biggest advocate. Now here’s the thing, I don’t have anything against Coachella per se. In fact, as an artist, it would be an absolute dream to be on the lineup at Coachella,” said Hanna in the video.
“But to me, a socially awkward, socially anxious introverted hermit — the idea of going into the desert for three days in very, very hot heat and then very, very cold nights in the dust and the dirt without access to healthy food or reasonably priced alcohol or showers that is not walking distance away from your hotel or even an Uber to get [to] your hotel. I don’t know,” she continued.
“All of it just seems like a lot of work for me, personally. I’m a homebody, or as other people like to call it, lazy. But yeah, it’s just not for me.”
While Hanna did state that some people enjoy Coachella, she also knows of others who go so that they can post images on Instagram and boost their influence.
“I can pull this off because 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.
“They’re at home,” Hanna continued. “Social media is a lie. So what I’m doing isn’t that far from reality anyway.”
In the video, Hanna shows the original images and the edited versions that make it appear as if she was at Coachella. She also discussed how she gathered videos from friends who attended the festival so she could share them on social media.
While Hanna did say that she did “feel bad” for the stunt and apologized if her followers felt “duped,” she also wanted to make sure everyone knew how easy it was to fake something on social media.
“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,” she said.
“I’m not shading anybody who does that on social media because it is a viable career,” Hanna continued. “Obviously, I am a social media person; I understand it.”
She then explained what she was actually doing during that time, stating, “The whole time I was living my best life at Coachella I was really, for the most part, sitting in this editing chair.”