'Rich Kids of Instagram' star denies her lifestyle is fake after she was caught renting a bedroom via SpareRoom

Jake Kanter
Saturday 20 August 2016 13:34
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Russian socialite Julia Stakhiva is a rising social media star who recently appeared on British reality TV show “The Rich Kids of Instagram.”

But she just made her Instagram account private after a wave of online abuse, following a column by The Guardian's Marina Hyde which punctured her image by revealing that she was renting a bedroom in London through flatshare website SpareRoom.

The flat itself is owned by Hyde's mother-in-law, and Hyde claims Stakhiva used the flat for a number of photoshoots while her landlady was away.

Hyde essentially accuses Stakhiva of fabricating her lifestyle in order to achieve fame. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson piled on, saying on Twitter, “Woops! If you're going to lie about being a spoilt ultra-brat, don't do it as the lodger of @MarinaHyde's mum-in-law.”

But Stakhiva tells Business Insider she was shocked by the article and strongly denies that her life is fake.

The story started on Thursday when Hyde’s Lost In Showbiz column featured a piece headlined “The Rich Kid of Instagram who isn’t quite what she seems.”

In it, Hyde claimed that Stakhiva is “given to dispensing unpleasant aphorisms for attention,” highlighting her regular boasts about being a billionaire’s daughter. “I’m not suitable for an office job because of how well I dress and how educated I am,” is one of them

Hyde then revealed that — until recently — Stakhiva had rented a bedroom in her mother-in-law’s Kensington flat through rental website SpareRoom. She sarcastically described SpareRoom as a “classic billionaire accommodation hook-up.”

Hyde also alleged that, while her mother-in-law was on holiday, Stakhiva used the flat without permission for video and photoshoots that formed “the backdrop to her Rich Kids shenanigans.”

Writing about the shoots, Hyde said: “It is hard to pick a standout, but for me it’s probably edged by the snap of her reclining on my mother-in-law’s bed, stroking the latter’s cat in a casually proprietorial fashion.”

The flat also appeared in more than one episode of “The Rich Kids of Instagram,” a reality TV show that follows the lives of wealthy young individuals who have accumulated a following on the social media network.

Hyde said she raised the issue with Channel 4, which broadcast the show on its youth channel E4. Popkorn, the company that produces “The Rich Kids of Instagram,” subsequently removed every shot of the Kensington flat from repeats and online versions of the programme.

“The show was re-edited as a gesture of goodwill and scenes in the property were removed for repeats and All 4 [Channel 4's video-on-demand player],” a Channel 4 spokeswoman confirmed.

Hyde also appeared to accuse Stakhiva of theft, ambiguously signing off her column with this paragraph:

“Furthermore, Julia explained that she didn’t realise 'not everyone could afford designer bags'. Could anyone really be that stupid? Perhaps this question might take a role in the inquiries of Kensington and Chelsea police, to whom a report has been made of the disappearance of various bags and other property from a local address. writing that a report has been made to Kensington and Chelsea Police.”

Business Insider spoke to Stakhiva on the phone on Thursday afternoon and she was audibly distressed by Hyde’s article.

“I am from a wealthy family and my life is real,” she told us. This was supported by a source at Channel 4, who said that the broadcaster conducts “thorough background checks” on its contributors.

Stakhiva confirmed she rented the room in the Kensington flat and moved out earlier this year to live with her boyfriend in Mayfair. The socialite said she is currently on vacation in Monaco and is planning to return to the UK.

Stakhiva said the Kensington flat was a temporary solution that gave her flexibility as she completed her studies at private university, Regents University London. With her visa due to expire, she said she needed to find accommodation quickly in order to re-take the final elements of her degree.

Stakhiva admitted to using the flat as the backdrop for the News Dog TV YouTube video, but said the only footage used in “The Rich Kids of Instagram” was filmed in the bedroom that she rented. Sources close to the matter refuted this and made clear that Popkorn used other parts of the flat when filming with Stakhiva.

Stakhiva categorically denied any accusation of theft and said she is yet to be contacted by the police. She claimed that the relationship with her former landlady broke down and this fuelled her decision to move out.

The socialite made her Instagram account private on Thursday following Hyde’s article.

She has more than 53,000 followers — branding herself as a TV presenter, blogger, model, and jetsetter — but said she had received abuse since being thrust into the spotlight.

“Everyone is abusing me. Why do I have to take this hate? I have done nothing wrong,” she said.

Stakhiva appeared on ITV’s magazine programme “This Morning” last week. Asked by host Eamonn Holmes if she gets many “haters”, she said: “I think it is more 50/50. I have people who adore me … and of course, I have people who hate me, who blame me for being rich. How can they hate me for being born into this life — I didn't choose it.”

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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