As you scroll through Instagram and check out the lives of your favorite celebrities and influencers, there’s a high chance that you get a teensy bit jealous. After all, they seem to have it all! They have the money, they have the fame, and they have the opportunity to do anything they could possibly imagine. Yes, we’d love to see how the other half live – even just for a few days. We could go on endless vacations, we could buy designer clothing, and we could dine at the finest establishments. That would be the life, right? Although there’s no doubt about the fact that those with less money than these rich individuals would do anything to be them for a few days, do you think it works the other way around? Would they give it all up for a life without credit cards and designer handbags? Well, one Instagram influencer did just that, and it soon made her realize what was really important in life.
Ditching it all
It’s often hard to make your way out of your comfort zone. You get so stuck in your ways, and you enjoy your little bubble so much that it can seem almost impossible to leave it. However, one 25-year-old influencer decided to go against the grain and ditch the rags-to-riches story.
She instead opted to do the complete opposite. She left her designer lifestyle behind to experience what life is truly like for those who have nothing to their name. She made her way onto the streets of London, and she saw what it’s like when a rich kid became homeless.
Filming it all
In fact, she isn’t the first rich kid to do such a thing. Many youngsters who have oodles of cash to their name have swapped luxury mansions for cold doorways, and it’s all been for the sake of a television show. Rich Kids Go Homeless is a British observational series that follows the life of privileged youngsters as they try to survive on the streets of London.
So far, only one season of the show has made its way onto our television screens, but there’s no doubt about the fact that it has made a lasting impression. It’s not only brought the problem of homelessness to light for those at home, but it’s also given these rich kids the chance to truly think about their lives and how lucky they are.
Opening their eyes
The aim of Rich Kids Go Homeless is to show privileged individuals just how the other half live. They are forced to part with their private jets, their designer clothing, their fancy vacations, their credit cards, their homes, and even the money in their pockets, and embrace what life is like for the 320,000 people in the UK that are homeless. Of course, these figures only soar as you make your way to larger countries around the world.
There are just over 550,000 homeless people in the United States, there are around 1.7 million homeless people in India and over 3 million homeless people in China. These numbers are astronomical, and there’s a high chance that they surprise you. After all, if you have a roof over your head, it’s often difficult to understand those that don’t.
One particular episode
Although every episode of Rich Kids Go Homeless has struck a chord with those who have watched it, it’s fair to say that one particular episode has got everyone talking. That’s because this episode features a beautiful young businesswoman and social media influencer who has known nothing but luxury in her life.
She is used to jetting off around the world and exploring this planet on a 5-star budget, and she’s used to having everything at her fingertips. However, she had no idea that her time on the show and on the streets of London would change her outlook on life forever. It was a tough episode and a tough experience, but one that opened so many eyes in the process.
The influencer in question
So, who is the influencer who gave up her life of luxury to see how the other half live? Rukaya Mirza is a 25-year-old woman from Cheshire, England. After moving from Dubai to set up shop in the UK, she has since built up an impressive fan following of people who want to follow her extravagant life.
Yes, as the daughter of property and IT moguls, Rukaya is no stranger to living the high life. She is used to having money in her pocket wherever she goes, and she is used to having everything she could possibly want.
A social media following
With a whopping 33,500 followers on Instagram, there’s no doubt about the fact that Rukaya has been able to catch the attention of those who are equally jealous and impressed with her lifestyle. She is constantly updating her fans and followers with her daily antics and showing off her life of luxury to those who want to know more.
She racks up thousands of likes every time she posts a photo and even more comments from people who want to be her and live her life. Until recently, this was the only life she knew.
As she made her debut on Rich Kids Go Homeless, Rukaya noted that she has always lived by the rule that it’s always “important to be immaculate.” She has also made this clear within her Instagram feed over the years.
Before making her way onto the show, she was constantly posting photos of herself in designer clothing, posing in front of shopping bags, or showing off her makeup. It seemed as though money was no object for her, but she soon realized that this was the wrong way to live.
Not paying rent
Although Rukaya has more money than most of us can fathom in her bank account, she rarely needs to use it on necessities. That’s because she currently lives in her parents’ seven-bedroom house in Cheshire, that offers everything she could possibly need.
She has more space than most people have in their house, and she doesn’t have to pay rent. Instead, she lives under her parents’ roof without having to pay a cent to them. This was something she previously took for granted, but she may have now changed her mind.
Starting a business
Rukaya has spent much of her life using her parents’ money to get by, but after she left university, she decided to use their money for something other than clothes. In fact, she started her own business. The Instagram influencer is now the proud owner and Managing Director of Fancy Panda.
This company allows customers to “alter your ego” by selling them costumes for parties of all shapes and sizes. Rukaya actually models many of these outfits on her Instagram page and has used this as a selling tool.
Traveling the world
The socialite uses her private school education to push her business, but she doesn’t spend all of her time in an office trying to sell her products. In fact, Rukaya spends most of her time traveling the world and seeing what luxurious and exotic destinations are on offer.
She documents these travels on her self-titled blog and shared photographs of her experiences on her Instagram page. These photos always show-off the glitz and the glamour of her vacations, as she lives by the rule that no expense should be spared.
In fact, before she went on the show, Rukaya wouldn’t travel like any other traveler. She would not grab her backpack and stay in hostels as she explored the beauty and the culture of a destination.
Instead, she would find the most expensive 5-star hotels on offer and make use of the impressive facilities that they had on offer. She would dine in the fanciest restaurants, she would check out the spa facilities, and she would even visit the nearest designer stores to use her credit card. But has this now all changed?
Known no different
It’s easy to judge Rukaya as a spoiled rich heiress, but the reality of the situation is that she has known no different over the course of her life. She has been brought up with wealth, she has been surrounded by luxury for her entire life, and she is used to having money on tap.
Because of this, she had not had the chance to truly see how the other half live and how they spend their days on the streets until she went on the show. She was oblivious to it all.
Willing to work
Although she had never had the experience of living on the streets before Rich Kids Go Homeless, Rukaya was aware of the fact that there were people who slept rough and didn’t have a roof over their heads. In her eyes, there was an easy fix to this.
She believed that homelessness could be solved by people putting their heads down and working to pay their way in life. This is one of the reasons why she decided to go on the show, as she wanted to show people how it was done.
Not so easy
Despite the fact that Rukaya was not looking forward to the experience, she was confident that she would be able to make the most of her time on the streets. She believed that she would be able to get herself out of the dire situation and find shelter.
However, she soon realized that it wasn’t quite as easy as she thought. Over the course of three days, Rukaya found herself scared and lonely, with no way out of her situation. It made her rethink her whole existence.
Her first obstacle
As Rukaya ditches her wealthy lifestyle, her designer clothes, and her money for a life on the streets, it doesn’t take long before she is faced with her first obstacle. She finds herself in the area of Victoria in London, and without any money to find accommodation or a warm meal, she has to set up shop in the street.
It’s a scary time for Rukaya, who has never experienced something like it before, but she eventually finds somewhere she thinks is safe. This is in the doorway of a coffee shop.
The young woman believes that she will be left alone as she sits on the streets, but as she sits outside of the coffee shop, she is then joined by another homeless man who is quite obviously inebriated. Unsure of what to do, Rukaya tries not to ignore him.
However, the man wants to engage with the beautiful young woman, and he begins to get a little too close for comfort. It was at this point that Rukaya began to feel extremely scared and vulnerable.
Trying to leave
Rukaya was not giving the man any indication that she wanted to talk to him, but he just would not give in. He was getting closer and closer to her, and even began to stroke her hand. Rukaya knew that she didn’t want to stay anywhere near him, and she got up to leave.
Despite her insistence, the man told her that he didn’t want her to leave and that he wanted her to stay with him. By this point, Rukaya was just too scared to say no.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any better for Rukaya as the minutes pass. As she sits with the homeless man, they are approached by another man, who doesn’t look as though he is also on the streets.
Although he offers the young woman money, his words and his demeanor suggest that he won’t give her any money without receiving something in return. Rukaya becomes more and more upset as she is surrounded by these imposing men, and she finally musters the courage to leave her place outside the shop.
Shaken and shocked
Rukaya couldn’t believe that she had been treated in such a way, and she was extremely shaken from her encounters with the men. She didn’t know what to do as she wandered the streets, and she didn’t want to sit down again just in case she was accosted again.
As she tried to find a safe place to stay, she then stumbled upon a woman by the name of Rita. Although Rukaya was pleased to see a strong woman on the streets, her bubble was burst when she gave her some harsh truths.
Not going to last
Despite the fact that Rita was sympathetic of the young heiress, she wasn’t afraid to tell Rukaya about the harsh realities of life on the streets. She noted that Rukaya “wouldn’t last five minutes” as a homeless person, because she was just too innocent and naive.
She confessed that life on the streets has always been easier for men and that women are often taken advantage of. They are often asked for certain favors in exchange for money, and women have to be much more vigilant as they stay out in the open.
Rita’s words are shocking, but Rukaya appreciates the fact that the older woman is giving her advice and showing her what life is really like for homeless people. They stick together for the rest of the night, and they feel much more secure when they are in a pair rather than sleeping alone.
However, Rukaya wakes up with the motivation to succeed and find a job, so she decides to leave Rita and set off on her own again. Once again, it doesn’t take her long to realize that’s easier said than done.
Just not possible
With her impressive job at home and her parents’ success in her mind, Rukaya believes that she can walk into any establishment, tell them of her experience, and walk away with a job. Yet, this just isn’t the case.
Without a CV or any kind of identification, these businesses are not willing to take on the words of a stranger. In the end, she has to resign to the fact that she won’t be able to get a job, and that she will have to survive on 20p (25￠).
After making her way back onto the streets, Rukaya found herself searching for another place to stay that would be out in the open if anything were to happen to her. It was during this time that she stumbled across a homeless woman by the name of Shelly, who had been on the streets for a whopping six years.
Thankfully, Shelly had enough experience on the streets to know the various different shelters that would house them, and Rukaya finally got the chance to have a roof over her head.
As the found their way into the warmth, Shelly began to tell her story. She had been on the streets for six years after her issues with substance abuse left her without a home. She not only lost the roof over her head, but she also lost her job and her family in the process.
Rukaya learns that Rita has three children, but had not seen them for many years. She hoped to one day be reunited with them and hoped to one day get back on track.
Hard to bounce back
Rukaya becomes visibly upset when she learns of Rita’s hardship, and she soon realizes that her perception of homeless people has been wrong. She had always been of the opinion that those on the streets could work their way back up by getting a job, but she had learned through her own experience that that wasn’t the case.
Instead, she discovered that it was incredibly hard to bounce back after losing so much and having nothing to your name. In fact, she understood why so many people struggle to get off the streets.
The young woman learns a huge amount from Rita, but once again Rukaya decides to go it alone. She is determined to earn some more money on the street and eventually makes her way into a local restaurant.
The owner of the restaurant owner takes pity on the young woman and offers to pay her in food if she works a few hours washing the dishes. By the end of her shift, he also gives her £10 ($13) in cash. However, this is still not enough to get by or pay for accommodation.
Because she does not have enough money to stay in a hotel or hostel, Rukaya once again has to sleep rough. As she searches for somewhere suitable to stay, she eventually found shelter in a local coach station. However, Rukaya barely slept that night.
After her previous experiences with strangers and after learning how vulnerable young women can be in the open, Rukaya was terrified. She didn’t want to close her eyes, and her heart was in her mouth every time she heard footsteps nearby.
It was incredibly scary for Rukaya when she was sleeping rough, and although she did not enjoy a second of it, she did get something from her experience. In fact, her time on Rich Kids Go Homeless made her realize just how lucky she was.
She had a good job, she had wealthy parents, she had a beautiful home, and she had the opportunity to do anything she wanted. In contrast, the people she encountered had absolutely nothing to their name. It was horrible to see with her own eyes.
Still so welcoming
What struck Rukaya more than anything was just how incredible some of the people she met were. Although they had nothing to their name, and they spent their lives in constant fear, the women that Rukaya came across were incredibly welcoming.
She learned that they often stuck together and helped each other out because they all had their own stories of injustice on the streets. Many of them had been abused or threatened by men, and they had learned how to cope with such encounters.
Blessed to have a bed
Alongside this, Rukaya also realized just how blessed she was to have some kind of bed in her life – let alone the king-sized bed she had at home. During her time on the streets, she had to make do with thin blankets and pieces of cardboard, and she couldn’t believe that people had to sleep like that for years on end.
The whole experience made her realize that there is so much more to the homeless situation than she first thought. It’s not the kind of thing that you can just get out of.
At the end of the three days, Rukaya was interviewed by the camera crew, where they asked her about the experience and whether she was looking forward to going home. Amazingly, Rukaya noted that she was scared to go back to her everyday life.
She was incredibly nervous about making her way back to her house because she felt so guilty. She had a beautiful house, she had a comfortable bed, she had more clothes than she could count, and she could go abroad whenever she wanted. Her friends on the streets had nothing.
Rukaya has since returned to her everyday life. She has gone back to her business, she has slept in her king-sized bed, and she has adopted her designer clothes once again. However, she has not forgotten her experience.
In fact, she felt so guilty about going back to her luxurious life that she knew she had to do something to help. She particularly wanted to see how Rita was getting on because she had helped her out so much during the course of her homeless experience.
In a poignant Instagram post, Rukaya noted that she couldn’t have got through the whole ordeal without Rita by her side. Because of this, she wanted to give back to the woman who had helped her even though she had so little.
She has since spoken to Rita every single day since returning from the streets and is in the process of helping her get away from the streets of London. In fact, Rukaya is trying to obtain a passport for Rita so she can make her way to America.
A new perspective
More than anything, Rich Kids Go Homeless has given Rukaya a whole new perspective on her life and the lives of those who are homeless. She has seen and felt just how scary it is to live on the streets, and she has learned just how vulnerable people can be.
This is especially true for women, and she can’t believe that anyone has to go through such a thing. So, if she can help get just one woman off the streets, she will know that she has done something to help the homeless problem.
Rukaya wanted her parents to see how the other half live. To do this, she took her parents back to the place where she slept on the first night of her homeless experience and allowed them to see for themselves what it’s like.
This visit brought back a whole load of emotions, and there’s no doubt about the fact that the show in general has completely changed her life. While it doesn’t seem as though Rukaya will give up her luxurious lifestyle, we have a feeling that she will definitely make changes and try to help others.