Living in Beijing: How to Live Freely in Beijing

  • Art student conducted experiment where she lived for three weeks in Beijing 
  • Zou Yaqi was 23 years old and wondered if it would be possible to rent a capital apartment after she graduated.
  • The designer handbag she wore was a knockoff, as well as a fake diamond ring and tracksuit made of velour.
  • Because of her disguise, she received luxury treatment in luxurious hotels and shops. 

A student in art disguised as a rich socialite, and had a counterfeit Hermes bag she was able stay for three weeks in Beijing without having to spend a penny.

Zou Yaqi (23 years old) conducted an experiment in her performance art project. She wanted to draw attention to capitalism and consumerism, and to see if it would make sense for her to move to Beijing after she graduates from university.

Student at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts shared her feelings of poverty and wished to break the rules in order to become a mingyuan (which means socialite) in Mandarin.

Zou Yaqi, 23, (above) who attends the Central Academy of Fine Arts of Beijing, disguised herself as a wealthy socialite and was able to stay in Beijing for three weeks without spending a single penny

Zou Yaqi (23) (below) is 23-year-old Zou Yaqi who attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts of Beijing. She disguised herself in a rich socialite to allow her three week stay in Beijing.

She claimed that she wanted to 'break the rules' and enter the 'world of the rich' as a mingyuan, which means socialite in Mandarin

She stated that she was looking to “break the rules” and become a mingyuan (which means socialite) in Mandarin.

Yaqi spent many hours browsing Instagram to see how other socialites dressed and eventually bought a counterfeit Hermes Birkin. It is well-known for its high price and legendary reputation. 

To fool the world, she wore red lipstick on her face and styled it with straighteners.

Sixth Tone told her, “I’m more cautious, casual, in daily life. But I had to present an elegance, haughty and self-confident image. 

Yaqi was granted entry into a VIP lounge on the first day of the experiment, May 1. The pass allowed her to stay for three hours.

She was able stayed for three days, and she relied upon the lounge’s many buffets for her meals. 

Yaqi also went into the nearby Louis Vuitton boutique, and was welcomed by two assistants who forgot about their customers.

She was shown a £1,000 handbag and offered an exclusive invite to an exhibition for the luxury brand.

On her first day of the experiment on May 1, Yaqi gained entry to a VIP lounge with a forged entry pass that was valid for the three hours

Yaqi, who was a participant in the experimental on May 1st, gained access to the VIP Lounge with a forgery entry card that allowed her entry. This pass was valid for 3 hours.

In a free VIP lounge, the student stashed food into a free paper Gucci bag she'd got from a store to aid her socialite disguise (pictured)

The student hid food in a Gucci paper bag that she had obtained from a local store as a socialite cover.

She also attended an auction, which she was invited to by a friend, and was given the opportunity to try on a beautiful emerald ring that later sold for thousands

A friend invited her to an auction. She gave her the chance to test on a gorgeous emerald-colored ring, later selling for several thousand.

Yaqi explained that she played the part of the “role all day.” It was hard to believe that my body could be so ugly and slimy but others saw me as a gorgeous and prosperous woman.

The student managed to gain access to the public bathrooms, sauna and steam room at a famous high-end hotel by using multiple fake names and the excuse that she’d ‘only just checked out’.

She also attended an auction, which she was invited to by a friend, and was given the opportunity to try on a beautiful emerald ring that later sold for thousands.

She presented her three-week experiment at the end with video clips of her experience and her Gucci paper shopping bag containing stale bread, other foods, and videos of herself. 

Her work has been subject to a lot criticism, but she maintained that her intention was to be an artist.