This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
We did one of these last week, following a story about the former Harrow boarding school headmaster complaining that their schoolboys are speaking in fake accents from less affluent areas. We were so inundated with submissions that we thought we'd do another one. So here you go: more stories of rich kids trying their absolute hardest to pretend they're not rich.
1. I was at Edinburgh University in 2017, when Stormzy released his album Gang Signs & Prayer. One of our friends—an extremely middle-class white girl from Southampton who went to private school—would always urge us to play the song "Mr Skeng" while we pregamed. When the song would come on she'd be like, "Yes! I relate to this so much! Stormzy makes me so proud to be from the south!"
2. I made friends with someone I thought was super left-wing and from the same kind of background as me: poor town, lower middle-class parents, public education. It all became very clear this was untrue; it turned out her dad runs a huge firm in central London and she went to a private school—something she assured me was fine because most of her friends were "the scholarship kids." She now only hangs around with other privately-educated people and is an influencer who earns money off undisclosed affiliate links.
3. During my first year, one of my best friends would talk about how he was from "Landaaaahn" [London] and would say stuff like, "It's a fuckin' Landahn thing, you wouldn't understand." He would tell me I'm rich because I'm from Kent, England. Eventually, I found out he's literally from the rich part of London.
4. One of my closest friends would tell me that she knows what it's like to come from a low-income background and not have enough money to live. Her dad is a famous art dealer and she was given an authentic Matisse print for Christmas.
5. A guy I used to work with did a complete rebrand and turned himself into a house DJ. He would show up to work carrying French house vinyl "that you've probably never heard of, fam." I later found out he's from the rich area of the town next to mine, went to private school, and a local very expensive college. He's an real estate agent now and runs a travel/inspiration quotes Instagram on the side.
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6. A college housemate of mine went on about how financially pressed she was on a daily basis, despite living in a literal mansion in north London and having attended a private school that costs about seven grand per semester, along with her younger brother. Once, she went absolutely apeshit when I got a pair of £30 [$38] Reebok sneakers she had wanted as a gift, saying I'd bought them on purpose to spite her and flaunt my superior wealth when she "couldn't afford nice things."
7. A friend who lived on my street went to Latymer, a school in west London [which costs £7,205 [$9,320] a semester]. I remember, once, he and his friends took a couple of cricket bats and went off to "patrol their territory"—that territory being the suburbs. They didn't find any beef.
8. It was common parlance in my first year at Edinburgh University for people to say they’d gone to "Slough comprehensive" if they'd gone to Eton. It was doubly awful in that most people took it at face-value, when it was actually just a hilarious in-joke for those sufficiently in the know, i.e. on the public school circuit.
9. A now semi-famous food Instagrammer who claims he started his project because he and his friends didn't have enough money to go out in college, so they had to socialize through shared cooking at home, lived with a literal royal while he was a student and was well-known for throwing extravagant parties—including one with a bouncy castle inside his student apartment.
10. In high school I dated a guy from a private school who introduced me to his group of friends and the girls they hung out with. They all wore ripped leather jackets and second-hand clothes, chain-smoked, and hung out in really grim bars. I just assumed they were regular girls like me, until one weekend we went to one of their parents' apartments—it was literally on the Brighton seafront and worth a few million. Her dad was there and had made us home-brewed beer. Turns out they all went to a very prestigious private school and had very wealthy families. Once I was wearing a cheap dress from Next and one of them asked if it was a real Roland Mouret.
11. One of my friends from college used to say they were a miner because his family owned a mine.
12. I knew one kid who lived in one of those huge houses around Regent's Park. His neighbor was the ambassador of Madagascar or something, and his parents were both high-flying doctors—one of them had delivered a royal baby. At one point in his life, he decided to swap his upper-class image for something a bit more accesible, so he started wearing sporty clothes, and horrible polo shirts. We were at a party once and some of his new, non-upper class "friends" said to him, "Bob, you have a lot of money, yeah? You should, like, buy some nicer clothes, man." It was satisfying to witness.
13. This girl I know is a fashion photographer who defines herself as a "struggling creative." Her dad is a millionaire former F1 driver.
14. There was a girl at my school whose dad owns one of the biggest car dealerships in the UK and sits on the executive board professional soccer team. He bought her an apartment in London as soon as she graduated. When she first started college, she was all about Tiffany necklaces and fancy dinners and getting £80 [$100] Uber rides to London to spend £250 [$323] on her hair, but she quickly changed friendship groups and became obsessed with drum and bass and ketamine and went to tons of festivals. She loved it.
15. For a while, I found myself surrounded by girls who presented themselves as radical activists who were fighting capitalism and the hardships of London life, while simultaneously being rich as fuck. One girl in particular would berate me for working a corporate nine-to-five job and then complaining about it because, in her opinion, when I graduated from college I had "the agency to go against the grain" and I chose not to—so I could pay rent. Whenever I asked her how she managed to live her lifestyle without having a job like the rest of us, she would use the same refrain: "I'm just, you know, living on a shoe-string!" This long, luscious snake of a shoe-string apparently stretched as far as "drunk buying" a DJ mixer, having a rich landlord daddy paying the rent, and taking regular sojourns to Georgia, Berlin, and Greece.
16. I know a girl from Kent who spoke in south London slang and claimed to be working-class. I then went to her home during the summer and turns out her mom is a professor and her dad is an accountant. Surprise, surprise, her accent and use of language completely changed.
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