Many years from now, when we look back on the current decade with a critical eye, we’ll notice that a lot of societal trends revolved around pictures of ourselves. With the advent of front-facing cameras as well as apps such as Instagram and Snapchat gripping the collective consciousness, taking photos of ourselves became the default mode of self-expression on social media, so much so that “selfie” was actually Oxford Dictionaries’ word of 2013.
Taking regular pictures of yourself is even thought to boost your confidence and reduce anxiety, but the uphill battle for online popularity can sometimes bring to light the dark side of the selfie.
In the pursuit getting more likes than our friends and peers, we often take a few risks with our selfies. We might skirt the limits of decency on Instagram by revealing a little more skin, or we can take selfies in more interesting scenarios, with the caveat that those scenarios are often more dangerous. However, after a recent photoshoot in Dubai, Instagram model Viki Odintcova may have gone too far.
If Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is known for one thing, it’s really, really tall buildings. Dubai is the home of the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest skyscraper in the world at 830 metres (or 2723.1 feet). Measuring 307 metres (1,004 feet), the Cayan Tower is a dwarf by comparison, but it’s still, you know, a giant skyscraper, and Viki Odintcova took a massive risk taking a selfie from near its peak.
In order to secure the perfect Instagram post, Viki decided she would go the extra mile, and put her life on the line. Accompanied by a male assistant, Viki scaled the building, gripped her companion’s hand and leant backwards into the oblivion below. That’s pretty scary. But Viki wasn’t quite finished.
Dangling with nothing but her assistant’s grip keeping her from a 1,000-foot drop, her legs twisting in the Middle Eastern breeze, Viki’s picture went viral, but the Russian model might be disappointed that most of her three million followers weren’t happy.
Most of the comments scolded Viki for putting herself in such peril for the sake of a photo, and she was called a “moron”, a “stupid woman”, as well as “crazy” for taking this unsettling selfie. One user even commented: “If I was your parent I would smack both you and the guy with the beard!”
A key to success in many capacities is the idea of risk. If you don’t bet high, your winnings will be significantly smaller. In the cutthroat and competitive modelling industry, Viki was within her rights to take a few risks in pursuit of a great photo. But I think that some things are more important. Like not falling to your death.