DESTIN, Fla. — Hardly anyone with a cellphone hasn’t swapped it to the front-facing camera for a selfie.
Now Destin Commons has a space exclusively for that purpose: the Destin Selfie Museum. In it are 30-plus small rooms with backdrops, along with selfie ring lights, to take selfies alone or with friends.
Longtime friends Andrew Blagodir and Alex Tsyganov opened the Destin Selfie Museum and the PCB Selfie Museum at Pier Park in Panama City Beach in April. They also own Wave Ice Cream and Coffee in Destin.
“It’s a perfect idea for 2021, I believe,” Blagodir said. “Right now, everything’s about social networks, so people want to take as many pictures as they can on vacation, at work, at home. So this is a small place with a lot of places to take pictures.”
People can explore the museum from noon to 7 p.m. daily in Destin and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily in Panama City Beach. Cost is $20 for a half-hour or $30 for an hour with available discounts for locals.
Blagodir is originally from Moldova and Tsyganov is from Russia. They met while working at a beach shop in Destin and decided to start a business together.
A selfie museum is not an original idea, Blagodir said. He noticed big cities having them within the past year and thought it was a timely concept.
Many people locally haven’t heard of a selfie museum.
“We are unique over here,” Blagodir said. “Nobody has something like this.”
The pair borrowed some of the backdrop ideas from other museums, but added their own twist, Tsyganov said. The two locations in Destin and Panama City Beach are similarly designed, he added.
“We didn’t hire anyone,” Tsyganov said. “Everything is built by us.”
It took all day for two weeks straight to create 30 selfie spots, but it was a fun process, Blagodir said.
“It wasn’t fun when you had just started because you don’t know how to do exactly some of the steps,” he said. “But when you realize how it looks in your head, as soon as you see the picture in your head, it was easy.”
Blagodir’s favorite selfie spot is a bedroom-themed room in which the bed and nightstand are sideways against the wall to give the appearance of people defying gravity. Tsyganov’s favorite is a pink room with a custom neon light reading “FASHION JAIL.”
Other themed rooms with custom neon lights are a sunshine state of mind, a bathtub with faux bubbles, ice cream, a disco ball and piano room.
The room featuring fake money tossed across the floor is one of the most popular ones, Blagodir said.
“Everybody loves money,” he noted.
The shop is located in what was formerly an American Eagle Outfitters, which gives them much room to expand. They hope to add more rooms and amenities with the extra space before tourist season restarts, Tsyganov said.
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“All of my friends who come to Destin, we send them all over here,” Tsyganov said. “It’s pretty cool pictures. You can spend 30 minutes or an hour and get 30 different pictures with looks from different locations. I think it’s fun. Since we discovered it, we just wanted to bring it to a small city. We want to see how it works.”
By SAVANNAH EVANOFF Panama City News Herald