Thursday, November 23, 2017
Features and More

The rich kids who love to flaunt their wealth

RECOMMENDED READING


Kevin Sacco isn't a celebrity, but on Instagram he is famous for flaunting his wealth, like the time he took a picture of himself bathing in an outdoor Jacuzzi in his penthouse suite overlooking the French Riviera.

Or when the 20-year-old son of a real estate mogul in Italy spent 10,000 euros, or nearly $14,000, with friends at La Maison Blanche in Paris for his most recent birthday.

"I'm showing off my parties, my bottles, my clubs, my travels, and people love this," said Sacco, who is known as PrinceOfItaly on Instagram. Sacco said his followers' comments remind him how lucky he is. "When people say, 'What a fantastic life,' I say to myself, 'You have a good life — just enjoy.' ''

Sacco is one of several wealthy young adults who have gained followings on Instagram for spending a lot of their parents' money — driving million-dollar sports cars, enjoying 24-karat gold bathtubs and having Dom Perignon instead of milk with a bowl of Lucky Charms. Their exploits spawned a Tumblr blog called "Rich Kids of Instagram" that aggregates all their photos. The blog then inspired a TV show on the E! channel, #RichKids of Beverly Hills, which airs Sunday nights at 10, transforming the spoiled rich kids from an online phenomenon to a Hollywood reality show.

Their popularity has grown — the premiere of the show drew 5.5 million viewers — despite harsh criticism from viewers. "You're what's wrong with this world," one Instagram user commented on a photo of a $60,000 dinner bill.

Morgan Stewart, who is one of the five featured in #RichKids of Beverly Hills, said she posts pictures on Instagram because she's part of a generation who live a large portion of their social life on social networks.

Stewart, who often takes photos of herself in front of private jets she travels in, said she doesn't care about the comments her photos get. She posts pictures because she likes the way she looks in them, and the only thing she cares about is that her friends like the pictures.

"It's not supposed to make sense. It's just supposed to make you feel good," said Stewart, who has 200,000 Instagram followers. "If my eyebrows look good that day, I'm going to show you that they do."

Karen North, a social media expert at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said the Instagram rich kids are no different from other young people who use social media.

"If the image you have and want to promote is that you're the rich kid and you fly off to the Alps to go skiing for the weekend, you can tell a lot of people about that at school, I suppose, or you can post it on social media and reach a lot more people," North said.

And the followers of the rich kids get to vicariously live and engage in activities that are beyond their reach. "If you went to the Oscars, went skiing in the Alps or had tickets to Wimbledon, then when you post that, the rest of us get to feel a little bit like we got to do that, too," North said.

Timothy Drake, 20, an Instagram rich kid with 45,000 followers, says people are fascinated by the things he posts, such as a picture he took recently of a receipt for a $48,982.80 bar tab that included a $23,000 bottle of champagne and an $8,163 tip.

"I think Western society in general is pretty amused and absorbed in this lifestyle that might seem so glamorous that they don't have and might seem unattainable to them," he said.

But although thousands of people follow Drake, who goes by thetimothydrake, he and other rich kids of Instagram sometimes face backlash from users who disapprove of the way they flaunt their wealth.

"People are very much interested in the 1 percent lifestyle," he said. "It's almost like they don't like us, but they love to hate us."

Comments
Local craft beer of the week: Mischievous Black Lager

Local craft beer of the week: Mischievous Black Lager

Florida’s big year at the Great American Beer Festival, with seven Sunshine State brews medaling in the largest competition in the U.S., nearly double the second-best year of 2014, which saw four medals, one from the pro-am competition.Even more rema...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Aviation insurers pay $95M for 9/11

Aviation insurers pay $95M for 9/11

Associated PressNEW YORK — Insurers for American Airlines, United Airlines and other aviation defendants have agreed to pay $95 million to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the Sept. 11 attacks. The settlement was descri...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bar review: Fashion and adult beverages at Bartique in St. Petersburg

Bar review: Fashion and adult beverages at Bartique in St. Petersburg

Like many people, I treat holiday shopping as a terrifying last-minute ordeal — a scramble to fill out gift lists with a number of items that, despite a complete lack of planning, will somehow seem thoughtful.You know what would make this whole thing...
Published: 11/23/17
What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

NOW IN THEATERS:COCODisney-Pixar’s animated dramedy Coco (PG) is inspired by Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos, the "day of the dead" when departed ancestors are celebrated. Good for diversity, although the movie isn’t as good as its intentions.Migu...
Published: 11/22/17
Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter accused of rape in 2002 by Melissa Schuman

Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter accused of rape in 2002 by Melissa Schuman

NEW YORK — Nick Carter says he’s "shocked and saddened" by accusations made by a singer who said he raped her about 15 years ago.Melissa Schuman of the girl group Dream wrote in a blog post earlier this month that she was "forced to engage in an act ...
Published: 11/22/17
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news!Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. You ...
Published: 11/22/17
At 107, hard work, loving family and lots of milk are retired milkman’s keys to long life

At 107, hard work, loving family and lots of milk are retired milkman’s keys to long life

HUDSON — The oldest resident at Atria Windsor Woods just happens to be one of its newest arrivals.When he was 104, Lloyd Klement still drove his car and exercised at local gyms. And until just a few weeks ago, he still lived in his Port Richey home.N...
Published: 11/22/17
Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!Or is it? Sometimes life just doesn’t come together at 2 p.m. on Thursday.Circumstances mean it’s not always possible to sit around the table on Thanksgiving, a family in a Publix ad smiling over a glistening bird. Maybe family is ou...
Published: 11/22/17
‘Fun Home’ opens at the Straz, ‘The Little Prince’ at Freefall

‘Fun Home’ opens at the Straz, ‘The Little Prince’ at Freefall

LIFE AND DEATH: FUN HOMEEvery year, the Straz Center tries to mix it up a little, injecting a not-quite-so-safe show into an otherwise bankable lineup. Last year, that was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This year it’s Fun Home, a ...
Published: 11/22/17
Poll: 1 in 3 Americans dreads political talk at Thanksgiving

Poll: 1 in 3 Americans dreads political talk at Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON — Bring on the turkey — but maybe hold the politics. Thanksgiving is Glenn Rogers’ favorite holiday, when people gather around the table and talk about things to celebrate from the past year. But Donald Trump’s pre...
Published: 11/22/17