Are The Rich Kids of Instagram Really Rich?

Their pictures show yachts, champagne, and lives of excess and glamor, but the foreign rich kids of Instagram may not be as rich as they seem.

02.27.16 5:08 AM ET

The original “Rich Kids of Instagram” account, which purports to be a window into the lives of wealthy young millennials, has spawned a host of imitators in recent months, with many rival accounts now focusing on the jeunesse d’orée of different regions and countries—Monaco, Russia, Turkey, London, and the United Arab Emirates to name just a few.

Although several of these accounts claim to be satires (in the original sense of the word) addressed to the pampered young things they portray, they have, inevitably, also become places where many rich youngsters (and youngsters pretending to be rich) now actively flaunt their wealth, by hash-tagging their own pictures to the account, thereby inviting re-posting.

A case in point is the account Rich Russian Kids, which was originally set up to cast a critical eye over the ‘minigarchs’.

It pointedly (and politically) describes its mission as documenting the “Lives of the untouchable luxury kids from The Russian high Instagram empire.”

However, survey the account for a few minutes, and you’ll discover that any subversive critique is long gone. A recent shot of Anastasia Koveshnikova, a Los Angeles/Moscow Civil Engineer who describes herself as an Ex Pro Tennis Player, triumphantly posing on a yacht in Ibiza, shows how easy it is for critical satire to be ignored by its intended recipient.

Indeed, one could argue that with its discussions about where to take the best winter holiday (The Palace Hotel in Dubai, FYI, appears popular) and lingering shots of fast cars and yachts, Rich Russian Kids is an asylum that has been overtaken by the inmates.

The Rich Kids of Saudi is a more upfront affair. With a mere 70 followers it isn’t a patch on the original RKOI which boasts 250,000 fans, however this picture of brand new Porsche being driven through the deserts outside Riyadh with an AK47 stuck out the window gives an idea of the account’s regard for the concept of subtlety.

Cars are clearly a big theme for the RK of Saudi, even more so when a panther on a lead can be snapped stalking through a car showroom, thereby artfully combining many of the tropes of ridiculous wealth in one image.

The Rich Kids of Turkey, meanwhile, seem to have a particular penchant for snaps of themselves getting in and out of planes, helicopters, and of course very expensive cars. However, a shot of a hand wearing a pink Rolex clutching the pink leather of a Mercedes is welcome confirmation that money can buy you neither love, nor class nor style.

Some rich kid fan groups are clearly struggling to get going. The Rich Kids of Greece, for example, has just one picture posted so far—a sea of empty Champagne bottles with the caption, “How our days end.”

One might be surprised to find a rich kids account for that reserved and discreet nation, the French. But even here the famous French snobbery is hard at work. One surgically enhanced blonde carrying several bottles of Champagne in a nightclub is criticized for her ‘cheap’ silicone implants.


Of course, there’s a huge question mark about the authenticity of these rich kids accounts. Many of the photos are simply advertising or studio shots, or pictures that other users have hashtagged with one of the RKOI group names as part of that great social media end-in-itself, more views and more follows.

As milennials are well aware, just because an Instagram user who claims to be a rich French kid posts a picture of a lion chilling out on a yacht deck, that doesn’t mean it’s his lion, or that he took the picture, or that he knows who did.

Many users are wise to the meta-nature of the RKOI accounts. “I have a $5000 bill that looks more real than that picture,” writes one user in a typical comment next to another panorama of sea and sun and tanned young flesh.

Some of the funniest accounts take on board that they are essentially parodies of themselves. For example Rich Kids of London mines a traditionally British seam of humor as it mocks the ‘peasants’ lining up to go into a discount supermarket.

One can’t help thinking of the much-loved (and now renamed) British website ‘Chavtowns.’

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The RKOI accounts are certainly an entertaining way to spend a few minutes between checking your feed on Instagram. But if you want an incisive portrait of the lives of the young rich of greater Europe, at least, it can make more sense to take a look at the accounts of certain high-profile, high net worth individuals.
Natalia Vodianova, a supermodel who bashfully describes herself as ‘Mother’ is a good example; in a relationship with Antoine Arnault, son of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault, the couple have an extraordinarily starry lifestyle of fashion shows, beach holidays, and private jets—every aspect of which is recorded online.

And we mean every aspect.

Elena Perminova, wife of London newspaper baron Alexander Lebdev, is another.

Yes, the rich kids are out there. But are they on the RKOI accounts? Discuss.