Do you know the American phrase “Fake it till you make it”? Well, a Hungarian woman took it very seriously and decided to see whether it could be implemented in real life. She faked it, and she made it.
Have you ever heard about Harry Houdini, the famous Hungarian-born illusionist and magician? I am delighted if the answer is yes, but if it is a no, here is your chance to learn something about him. We are about to introduce a contemporary Hungarian magician who used a smart maneuver to achieve the opposite of what Houdini always did. She did not try to escape a place; she tried to get inside.
Andi Schmied, a Hungarian architect, had the chance to go through New York’s highest and most expensive and luxurious penthouses. Places that we, mortal humans, can only see thanks to celebrity photos posted on their social media websites.
This clever woman pretended to be an extremely wealthy billionaire in order to get into places in Manhattan we can only dream about.
Andi said to telex.hu she was amazed by the view over the city in 2016 when she went up to the top of the Empire State Building. That view and the experience she received that day gave her the idea to somehow make her way up to these tall and beautiful buildings and skyscrapers. The only problem was that it is practically impossible for ordinary people to do so, let alone a Hungarian tourist.
She cooked up her extremely straightforward plan; she made up an alter ego and gave her her middle name, Gabriella Schmied. Thus the Hungarian billionaire, looking around for the most exclusive properties of Manhattan, was born.
She even created herself a non-existent assistant and a husband. He does exist in real life, even if he is not her husband.
Still, anyone can easily find him on Google: the story is credible thanks to relevant search hits. And voilá, she opened herself the billionaires’ boulevard.
It is important to note that she did not get caught throughout this project of hers. This is not such a big surprise, as she says, real estate agents did not overdo their pre-security checks and only asked for her husband’s name. In case of other questions, she used her trump-card: the fact that she is Hungarian. Whenever they asked her about her jewelry, she dogged the bullet by saying they were from a Hungarian designer. They did not get suspicious by seeing her camera either.
She did not want to keep the experience only for herself; she wanted to share it with us. Her collection of pictures was published in the form of a book last December with the title Private Views: A High-Rise Panorama of Manhattan, thanks to the VI PER Gallery of Prague.
The luxurious places are shown by so many pictures after one another through the book that they practically become indistinguishable. Most of the interiors are not real homes; they are a showpiece for potential buyers: sterile and almost laboratory-like areas with standard furniture right out of a magazine. Schmied herself mentioned this, according to her, all apartments’ arrangement looked practically identical, rooms with the best and second-best views could be found precisely at the same place in all properties.
The apartments might be very alike, all made of metal and glass in a concrete jungle where dreams are made in reality. But the view definitely makes them stand out; it is something you could not see anywhere else. And this is exactly what distinguishes them from any other apartment, the fact that very few can see them.