"More than any other occupation on Earth, kids say they want to be famous influencers," begins the trailer to Fake Famous, a new documentary coming to HBO Max and HBO February 2.
The film, directed by technology journalist and Vanity Fair correspondent Nick Bilton, explores the cult of online and social media celebrity through a social experiment. In the documentary, three people with small social followings are chosen to become famous influencers. In order to make them "fake famous," a team helps them buy followers and hire bots to like and comment on their posts. They set up photos to look like they're taken somewhere else (usually more exotic), and pose at fake sets. "What people realize is that most of the time it's not real," says one of the film's expert sources in the trailer.
In the clip, we see the social experiment gain traction, as the people chosen to be "fake famous" enjoy all the perks of being an influencer, including being invited to prestigious events and getting free stuff. However, we also see the struggle that inevitably comes with it — stress, dissociation, and unease — revealing just how artificial the behind-the-scenes of influencer life can be. At the end of the trailer, one of the subjects sits in a set made to look like a private jet: "There's so much that goes in to portraying something that's not really there," he says. "It's a complete circus."
Watch the trailer for Fake Famous, premiering on HBO Max and HBO February 2.