The word “influencer” has changed its very definition in recent years, and these days it’s an actual job title. But a new HBO documentary aims to see if being famous online is a replicable phenomena. On Thursday, HBO dropped the trailer for Fake Famous, a documentary premiering in February that will see recruited “celebrities” massaged into viral online fame.
“Is that number of followers you have actual fame,” the voiceover asks. “We wanted to do an experiment to see if we could take some random people and make them fake famous.”
The appears to introduce three main characters in the experiment, and showcases a bit of what each will do along the way to obtain a lot of followers, whether real, fake or somewhere in between. The trailer tries to set up both the good and bad that can come from online notoriety: one woman gets a bunch of free stuff from companies just because she has a lot of followers. But another doesn’t seem so thrilled to pretend he’s something he’s not.
“You want to be famous for being you?” a man asks the fake influencer, incredulously.
With all the product placement and highly-manufactured beauty and perfection found among influencers online, peeling back the surface a bit to see the mess behind it all is likely an important lesson for many. And it could prove that internet celebrity is possible to replicate, or perhaps that it takes a certain kind of person to thrive as an influencer.
We’ll see what HBO has uncovered when the documentary premieres on February 2 and 9 p.m.