Like a lot of great stories, this one started with a joke. Megan Goulding, a high school senior in Frisco, TX, and her friends were trying to figure out where to take their homecoming photos. Then, their friend Hayden Mcfarland suggested Ikea just to be funny. "Then, we thought about it and actually decided to do it!" Goulding tells Refinery29.
It came together naturally. Not only was Goulding (pictured, in the green sequined dress) a huge Ikea fan already, but her mom Shandee Goulding is a professional photographer who volunteered to shoot and edit the photos. "The support from her really helped encourage everyone to get into it," says Goulding.
They did get some strange looks — but it was totally worth it. "When we first got there and started posing, one employee looked at us very confused and shook his head but just walked away," says Goulding. "Later on, we actually took a picture with an Ikea employee because he let us! We were being super-respectful and so they seemed okay with it."
The friend group's classmates are stoked about the project (and the internet fame in which it's resulted). "All of my friends and people at my school that I don't even know tell us all, 'You're famous!' like 50-plus times a day!" she says. "Everyone thinks it is really fun and unique. Even my teachers have started mentioning it to me. It's been really fun."
When she graduates, Goulding says she would like to attend either Brigham Young University-Provo or Utah Valley University, and get a degree in marketing or advertising. She'd love to work in the beauty industry and even has her own YouTube beauty channel.
Will her dorm room reflect her love for Ikea? "I do plan to furnish my dorm with Ikea furniture because it is fairly priced and very useful," she said. "A lot of their decor and furniture is my style and I will for sure use it in my dorm!"