A growing number of Chinese youths are parodying the staged photo-ops that are all the rage with influencers these days, adding their own rural flavour with farming equipment, dirt-stained faces and rubber work boots.
The staged "street snap" video format has gained popularity on Chinese social media apps like Douyin where users share short videos. In these videos, impeccably dressed influencers strut down the street, showing off their outfits.
The key to the trend is the candid vibe, where they pretend to be spontaneously photographed by street photographers. Some of them play to the camera by winking, sticking out their tongue, or even displaying some martial arts moves.
While some of these videos are genuinely spontaneous, many influencers actually set up these shoots in the hopes of growing their social media following and going viral, according to What's on Weibo.
Their staged videos imitate the style of street photography and videography that has been popular at China's fashion hotspots - Sanlitun in Beijing, Yintai in Hangzhou, Taikoo-Li in Chengdu and Paradise Walk in Chongqing where photographers gather to snap fashionistas on the street. Many of the pictures and videos end up on fashion blogs such as P1 and on video sharing sites like YouTube and Douyin.
Tired of the countless pretentious videos shot on the streets of Beijing and other cities, these youths are sharing their own "street snap" videos with a twist.
This woman looks the part of a typical influencer until the camera cuts to her well-worn sandals and her choice of accessory, a plastic bag.
Some of them, like this user, channel high-fashion while using household items.
This guy takes it even further, literally rolling out a red carpet for himself.
Others have also been mocking influencers' lack of originality by compiling videos of them pulling the same stunts.
For example, this video that has been viewed over 12 million times on Weibo showcases street snaps where influencers try to attract attention by drinking water and spitting it out on purpose. The tongue-in-cheek video warns people to stay clear of people holding water bottles in the fashion districts such as Yintai and Sanlitun.
One netizen couldn't help but cringe, saying, "I'm embarrassed just looking at it. Why do people do this just to get some eyeballs?"
Another netizen said, "Not only do they have water in their mouths, they also have water in their brains."
Amid the many cringeworthy photo-ops, parodies are injecting a much-needed dose of authenticity and personality to the trend. In a social media landscape where so many are chasing likes and views, it seems like being yourself is ultimately the best option.