Chinese student Zou Yaqi was able to live in “luxury” for free in Beijing just by dressing up and acting like a socialite.
A socialite life: Zou reportedly spent 21 days in May eating free food, staying at luxury hotels, using VIP lounges and facilities and wearing expensive clothes and jewelry without spending a dime as part of an art project for her school, reported South China Morning Post.
- The 23-year-old student filmed the entire experience and exhibited the video in June at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
- Zou then took to Weibo in September to share a few clips, showing how she sampled free snacks in malls and restaurants, tried on fancy dresses and slept in airport lounges and hotel lobbies. She also tried on jade bracelets being sold at auctions and used Ikea as an office.
- To pull off a believable “socialite” look, Zou donned expensive-looking clothes, wore a fake ring and carried a fake Hermès bag.
- According to Zou, she “pretended to be one such person” because she wanted to find out how a person could live on society’s “excessive material.”
- “It’s interesting how these materials are distributed,” she wrote in her post. “They are usually assigned to people who look like they already have sufficient wealth in life.”
- In an interview with Sixth Tone, Zou said that businesses would mostly let her have her way when she wore her “socialite” attire.
- “Though I’m poor, I was able to enter the world of the rich and get their free stuff,” Zou, who grew up in a small town in Hunan Province, was quoted as saying. “I wanted to break the rules.”
Mixed feedback: Chinese social media users were split on their opinion of Zou’s project, with some even accusing her of taking advantage of establishments.
- A local publication, which saw the positive side of the project, wrote: “We can say with confidence that she lived 21 days in the metropolis freely, relying on the tolerance and kindness of our commercial society.”
- Other write-ups about Zou’s project accused her of being a “fake socialite” who exploited policies to live a “highly extravagant lifestyle.”
- In response to the negative reactions, Zou said she dressed up to look the part for the project which, she explained, is not about wealth inequality or a socialite’s lifestyle.
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