How far is too far when it comes to sharing the momentous occasions in our lives? Judging by the recent “surprise” wedding proposal of fashion influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs, absolutely nothing is off-limits.
The rise of social media has blessed us with some weird and wonderful content over the past few years. We have been privy to intimate moments that, years ago, would unequivocally have been reserved for a select pair of eyes. We have watched a woman live-stream her labour, listened to two Irish women share their journey to the UK for abortions, and been captivated by the stories of people’s hilariously uncomfortable first dates as they unfolded in real-time.
On Tuesday 18 June, however, the world of Instagram was treated to the start of an “extraordinary adventure” of an altogether different kind: an extravagant marriage proposal.
For some watching the love story of fashion influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs unravel on their Instagram Stories, it was the proposal dreams were made of: spontaneous trips to the Hamptons, fancy dinners in candle-lit restaurants and a sprinkling of diamond jewellery, all spun together with a spectrum of emotional reactions from Fuchs, her family, and closest friends.
Except that that this was no average influencer proposal.
It all began with a video message from Fuchs’ doting boyfriend Gabriel Grossman, in which he announces, “I have the most important question of my life to ask you. Problem is, we’re not really into traditional weddings.” Fuchs naturally reposted the video to her own page, alongside the caption, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!”
Since then, Fuchs has travelled to New York City, Montauk, New York, Miami in search of her missing boyfriend and the elusive engagement ring, and has even crossed the Atlantic to Paris as the scavenger hunt plays out in increasingly OTT ways.
In a story first published on The Atlantic, it was revealed that the entire saga was in fact a meticulously planned marketing stunt, that had been pitched to various different agencies months ahead of the proposal in the hope of securing sponsorship.
“This summer, Marissa of @FashionAmbitionist will be pulled into a surprise adventure created by the centre of her life, Gabriel. He will remotely ask her to take an unexpected and sentimental journey to him, a journey that will encompassing many familiar stops along the way that offer their own unique gifts…We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way,” the leaked pitch deck reads.
“We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way,” it continues, alongside a detailed itinerary of how the proposal will unfold.
Unsurprisingly, the public and press have heaped scorn upon the couple for shamelessly exploiting their engagement for cash. As it stands, professional influencers are already derided for promoting branded partnerships on their social media channels, but it seems that Fuchs and Grossman’s fabrication of a “surprise” proposal, (and it looks increasingly likely that it was) and efforts to maintain the elaborate narrative, have pushed the influencer into stranger territory than ever before.
Even as Fuchs has been maligned for faking authenticity, there’s no escaping that the stunt has done wonders for her profile. She’s gained 33,000 followers and a ton of worldwide press, and the stunt is still going strong. There is perhaps no greater irony that the fact that Fuchs goes by the name of @FashionAmbitionist on Instagram, and is still posting tantalising glimpses of her adventure, which has now spanned continents as she continues in her quest to locate her boyfriend in Paris.
Although Fuchs’ best friend and boyfriend have refuted the idea that the influencer has knowledge of the scheme, it seems extraordinary to suggest that sponsored partnerships and professional photoshoots would be taking place without any of her input, not least because Fuchs is actually director of brand partnerships at Goop.
At any rate, the scandal is unlikely to dent Fuchs’ fanbase. But for now, the hunt continues in Paris.