“Do you know who my father is? ! »a young man in a purple shirt shouts at the bouncer, furious at having been rejected at the entrance to an exclusive nightclub, in a video posted in October on TikTok and viewed more than 20 million times. The capricious jet-setter with the strong French accent claiming to be “the richest family in Europe”Internet users concluded rather quickly that it was Alexandre Arnault, the 31-year-old son of the boss of LVMH, who, as a result, was dressed for winter for not a cent.
This hoax was in fact carried out by Belgian comedian Aris Yeager, 23, better known under the pseudonym @theeuropeankid, and who is not related to the billionaire. On his TikTok account followed by more than a million people, he plays the character of Louis, a caricature of the rich kid. His inspiration? The private international schools in Brussels that he attended during his youth.
Some of Aris Yeager’s videos are also featured on the parody account Rich Kids of the Internet (@rkoi), created in 2012 and originally named “Rich Kids of Instagram”. Behind these posts of champagne bottles emptied into the sea from a yacht, or young women posing languidly on their Lamborghini, is a young man with a sharp sense of humor, James Ison. This British economics student at the prestigious English University of Oxford was 19 years old when, in the early 2010s, he comes across a photo of 15-year-old Zachary Dell, son of computer mogul Michael Dell, celebrating on a private jet bound for the Fiji Islands.
James Ison grew up in a bungalow with his grandparents in Leicester, sharing a bunk bed with his single mother. Fascinated by the golden youth, he hijacks the photo of young Zachary, which goes viral. And at the same time launched the Instagram account @rkoi, to immediate success. THE Washington Post and the Guardian devoted articles to him in 2015 and other parody accounts on “Rich Kids” emerged in Russia, Turkey and even Iran.
A space inaccessible to ordinary mortals
In 2020, James Ison and his two partners created a luxury concierge service for the same daddy’s boys and girls that they mock on the Instagram account. For a trip by private jet for example, the company charges between 2,000 and 10,000 euros, detailed the young entrepreneur at the time in an article in the Times. Shows that the “rich kids” don’t hold grudges. Some even asked to have their photo published on @rkoi.
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