At times like these, it’s nice when we have something to unite us. No, I’m not talking about the World Cup. I’m talking about the backlash against influencer Lydia Millen, who has issued the most tone-deaf ad since Kendall Jenner solved racism by giving a police officer a can of Pepsi.
n case you missed the furore, Lydia Millen is an influencer who has more than 700,000 TikTok subscribers and a 1.2 million-strong Instagram fanbase that follows her “life and style from the English countryside”.
Her content – usually tours of her plush country home and ‘outfit of the day’ videos – saw her coined one of the UK’s top 30 influencers by The Times in 2019.
However, she is now more widely known as the woman who boasted about heading to one of the world’s fanciest hotels during a brutal cost-of-living crisis.
In one of her latest videos, Lydia told her followers: “The heating is currently broken in my house, so I’m heading down to London, I’m checking into the Savoy, and I’m going to make full use of their wonderful hot water.”
She proceeded to dress in a pair of Christian Louboutin boots before tottering off to London.
Things got even worse when Lydia began replying to the angry comments. To one person who said they were living off dry rice and pasta at college, she wrote: “I was exactly the same at uni but it’s also such a fun time! I wish I’d enjoyed those years more.”
And, my personal favourite, to a woman explaining she cannot afford to put on her heating, she wrote: “It’s honestly heartbreaking I just hope you know that other people’s realities can be different and that’s not wrong x.”
It turns out Lydia’s trip to the Savoy was actually an advertisement, as proved when she spent the day in the hotel’s kitchen learning how to decorate cakes.
This incident poses the question – can influencer culture really survive when people can’t afford their household bills?
I’ve never massively been influenced by influencer culture, but I do find it fascinating.
It requires you to look up to somebody and covet the life they have.
So we look at Lydia Millen’s Instagram and imagine, while sitting in our €5 pyjamas, that one day we could also wear designer shoes to the shops. But importantly – influencers can’t acknowledge that they live in the real world. They can’t suggest that they simply made better choices than us. And they most definitely can’t remind us that when their heating breaks, they can swan off for a complimentary hotel stay.
Influencers can still post about their fabulous lives all they want – but maybe next time, don’t link it back to a real-life crisis, eh Lydia?