AN ART student has revealed that she spent no money for three weeks by posing as a socialite.
Zou Yaqi, from Beijing, took student money-saving hacks to the extreme this year by pretending to be a socialite to see if it would bag her free goods.
The 23-year-old art student claims to have taken on the project in May earlier this year 'in the name of art'.
Apparently, she aimed to 'break the rules' of class structure and enter the 'world of the rich' to shine a spotlight on the negative impacts of capitalism and consumerism.
To get into the role, Zou first researched what socialites tend to wear and began mimicking the style.
She bought a fake Hermès Birkin bag, with real ones ranging from £5,000 way up to the hundreds of thousands.
Zou also bought a knock-off designer tracksuit and faux-diamond ring to look the part.
She also wore bright red lipstick which helped her appear more confident, so no one would become suspicious.
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Once her disguise was completed, Zou took to the streets of Beijing to see if she could live life as a socialite without being caught.
Zou told Sixth Tone: "I'm more cautious and casual in daily life, but I had to present an elegant, haughty, and self-confident image."
She began by going to an airport VIP lounge with a forged entry pass. Luckily for Zou, the staff didn't question it and let her straight through.
"I was very nervous and thought I’d be driven out the next second, but nothing happened," she said.
The pass was only valid for three hours, but Zou managed to stay in there for three days, taking full advantage of the free buffets, and smuggling some out in her paper Gucci bag.
During her anti-capitalist art project, she also managed to gain access to saunas, steam rooms and bathrooms at a luxury hotel by telling staff she had just checked out.
Zou also attended an auction, where she was invited to try on an emerald ring that later sold for thousands, and strutted into a Louis Vuitton store where the sales assistants immediately dropped their other customers and invited her to one of the brand’s exhibitions.
By the end of the experiment, she said: "I was constantly playing the role all day.
"I soon got used to the contradiction: My body was dirty and slimy, but I was seen as a beautiful and rich woman by others."
When Zou presented her project at her graduation exhibition, Chinese media picked it up instantly.
Some critics accused Zou of pretending to be wealthy, but Zou said on Weibo (China's equivalent to Twitter) that the experiment was done to highlight the class gap and how the wealthy are given excessive goods for free.
For more real-life stories, meet the woman who created Elf on the Shelf and find out why she started.
Plus, I became a mum at 11, my family was ashamed but I refused to get an abortion.
Meanwhile, I'm a teacher, but I look so young even the parents think I'm a student at the school.
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