If you go to Coachella without taking pictures in front of the ferris wheel, did you really even go?
YouTuber Gabbie Hanna decided to do a little experiment in which she faked a weekend at Coachella using Photoshop and footage from friends who actually did go to the festival. With the help of some photographers and colorful wigs Hanna posted three very different (and very convincing) looks to Instagram.
The 28-year-old vlogger was inspired to pull off the stunt by other YouTubers who have faked trips before. Hanna says that while she has “nothing against” Coachella, she doesn’t think an introvert like herself would be that into it. Plus, she wanted to prove just how easy it is to lie on social media.
Ultimately, Hanna admitted that donning the colorful outfits actually got her into a concert-ready mood. “I am already having a lot of fun,” Hanna says on “day one” of the experiment, sporting a pink wig and mesh top. “I get why people enjoy it and I’m excited to take photos in this!”
After posting the first photo to her 3.8 million Instagram followers, Hanna got an outpouring of nice comments about her outfit. None mentioned the fact that the pic was Photoshopped until the second photo, when at least one person pointed out that she was bluffing, prompting her to “babysit” the comment section.
Throughout her quasi-Coachella case study, Hanna gained some insight into why people do like going to the festival in the desert. She says she has a “new appreciation” for the collective experience of the festival. However, she did feel guilty about tricking her audience: “I don’t feel comfortable lying. I’m really sorry if you guys feel duped. But it was just sort of like an April Fools’…three weeks late.”
Hanna goes on to talk about how “social media, for the most part is just a very curated and manipulated version of reality.” She warns her viewers not to get caught up in all of the negative noise it can perpetuate.
“Just don’t base your life off of the few posts a week from your favorite influencer living this glamorous, amazing, colorful, saturated, hip, trendy, amazing life,” Hanna says, sitting in a desk chair wearing a sweatshirt and reading glasses. “Because the whole time I was living my best life at Coachella, I was really, uh, for the most part, sitting in this editing chair.”