Vivian Rubio, a veteran
But when "Risky Rob," the YouTube star who'd placed the ad, explained this "prank" to Rubio, she was horrified. Not only was the whole thing staged, but also the point of the gag was to paint attractive young women as greedy "gold diggers."
"He's not just saying Miami women are doing this; he's saying all women are gold diggers," Rubio says. "I thought it was wrong."
Rather than turn down the job, though, Rubio decided to prank the prankster. She took the assignment, showed up at Bayfront Park, and secretly recorded the whole setup to prove the prank was a fake. Earlier this week, she put Risky Rob on blast with her own YouTube video, racking up hundreds of thousands of views in only a few days.
"I found it exciting to put him on the other side of the show, to show the world that this is all staged," Rubio says.
The Miami-based Risky Rob, whose real name is Robert Pinon, has a YouTube channel with more than 10 million views and nearly 90,000 subscribers. His body of work tends toward pieces featuring attractive women on beaches with titles like "Kiss Rejected Gold Digger Prank!" and "Picking Up Girls Who Have a Boyfriend!" (Pinon hasn't responded to two messages sent via Facebook and one by email. We'll add his response as soon as he answers.)
Pinon uploaded the video starring Rubio on January 4, titling it "Money Hungry Gold Digger Prank!" In the skit, Risky Rob hits on Rubio and is brutally shot down — until he drops his briefcase and cash spills out; suddenly, Rubio accepts his offer for lunch. In just a few weeks, it's become one of his most-viewed pieces, with more than 3.5 million clicks and counting.
Rubio was born in Venezuela, moved to Miami when she was 14, and went to New World School of the Arts before heading to the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned dozens of credits, from live theater projects to Univision and MegaTV shows before moving to L.A. two years ago.
Rubio says the video's reception hardened her resolve to show the real story behind the prank. Sure, the video was a joke, but one look at the hundreds of comments showed that many viewers took its message to heart. Here's one of the top-rated reviews: "Not every girl is a gold digger, but every gold digger is a girl!" Another says: "Believe me guys, you don't want girls in this video even if you were rich. It's cheaper to get a new hooker every night."
"The problem with YouTube is the reach," Rubio says. "My nephew is 11 years old, and he goes on YouTube for everything... It's becoming a big source of information for young people. That's why I got so annoyed, because this is the wrong thing to be showing as if it's a real scene."
Rubio's exposé went live Saturday, and she's already seen an impact — a popular YouTube show about pranksters had her on to talk about busting the fake show, and comments congratulating her have flooded her account.
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But she said she's also seen the dark side of Risky Rob's fan base. "I think he's a very nice person. He hasn't texted or called me about my video," she says of Pinon. "But many of his followers and friends have sent me really nasty emails. I have received some extremely nasty comments on YouTube."
Rubio says she hopes her video inspires more people to think skeptically about what they see online.
"I hope a lot more people expose the truth and expose these fake pranksters who present these videos like they're reality," she says. "People need to think more positively about women than this."