Residents in Ottawa lost their minds when they saw Rihanna strutting through the Rideau Centre on New Year’s eve.
Cameras flashed as fans swarmed in trying to get the perfect selfie, prompting the singer’s bodyguards to yell “get back”. Parents hoisted their children up on their shoulders to get a better view. Some people even took to social media to report what they were seeing.
The only problem was, it wasn’t actually Rihanna.
The Hollywood celebrity was busy in the Big Apple that day (sporting a pretty interesting outfit, we might add). The person the fans were chasing was actually Ayan Ali, a regular Ottawa resident who operates a comedy YouTube channel called The Cool Ciyaal.
“We have subscribers and we promised them if we hit a certain amount, we’d make a crazy prank for them by the end of the year,” Ali said.
Needless to say, they hit their target.
Because people regularly tell Ali that she resembles Rihanna, she concocted a plan with her friends to fool an entire city. It took two weeks of planning, but Ali was able to recruit fake security guards, parparazzi, fans and even a PR person. As a cherry on the cake, she also arranged for a luxury car to pick her up and drop her off at the Rideau Centre.
“I was just scared that it would be a disaster,” Ali said. “Nobody would think I was a celebrity and would call me out.”
Her fears turned out to be unfounded.
RIHANNA WAS AT RIDEAU OK OK
— tar (@tarsmithtysick) December 31, 2015
— MrAndMrsTang (@MrAndMrsTang) December 31, 2015
so why is Rihanna in ottawa for NYE???? bunkest city tbh
— Sarah Y (@SarahYassiiin) December 31, 2015
You can check out people’s reactions for yourself in the video above.