Instagram at the Heart of #RichKids of Beverly Hills

Recently, I watched the premiere of #RichKids of Beverly Hills, a new show on E! that highlights the crazy-extravagant lives of Beverly Hills twenty-somethings. The title includes a hashtag, so it was expected that the show would include some social media elements, but the entire show was based around hashtags and social media profiles–most notably that of Instagram.

The cast is composed of Dorothy Wang, a “funemployed” entrepreneur’s daughter; Roxy Sowlaty, an interior designer; Jonny Drubel, a songwriter; Morgan Stewart, who runs the blog ,”Boobs and Loubs“; and Brendan Fitzpatrick, Morgan’s boyfriend and a real estate broker.  Each has amassed fairly large Instagram followings; for instance, Dorothy has almost 50,000 followers.

A screenshot from Dorothy’s Instagram

The show is seemingly based off Tumblr account Rich Kids of Instagram, which features–you guessed it– rich kids’ Instagrams. That includes shots of champagne and mansions alongside private jets. The New York Times refers to these kids as “young narcissists relentlessly documenting themselves.”

In this show, everything revolves around Instagram. We are introduced to new characters through their profiles. The first interview is of Morgan and Dorothy, who are taking a selfie together. As Dorothy walks through a potential new house, she takes selfies to make sure that the lighting is good throughout. The promotion of the show was also very Instagram-heavy, too. The background on E! is a collage of Instagram photos. A promo for the show featured some of the stars critiquing selfies at the Golden Globes. 

The crew stops to take a selfie

There are, of course, other references to social media throughout the show. The hashtag is front and center, of course, and even precedes names during interviews (although it would seem an @mention would be more appropriate here). When Dorothy and Morgan text each other, we see an animated iMessage screen pop up. 

Some people have called #RichKids the new “Keeping Up With the Kardashians“. The show’s emphasis on social media does bring the viewer closer to those reality stars; though the Kardashians post their fair share of Instagram selfies, their lives don’t revolve around the medium like those on #RichKids (who #doitforthelikes).

E! seems to have capitalized on a popular microtrend here, and it will be interesting to see if the show can spin this into a full-blown, multi-season series like the Kardashians.

Have you seen the new show? If so, what did you think? Please let us know here in the comments!


Sarah Ostman

Sarah Ostman is a senior studying Public Relations at Newhouse and Information Management & Technology in the iSchool. She loves to talk all things startups, tech and Chicago (especially when they're all together), so drop her a mention at @stostman.

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