It's a jungle, it's a garden -- no, it's actually the floral aisle of a Michaels store and people are flocking there to take part in the #MichaelsChallenge.
When I came across beautiful photos of a model posing in what looked like a botanical garden on my Facebook feed I thought nothing of it. They were shared by my photographer friend Brittany Fussell, 21, in Bushnell, Florida.
But then I found out that she took the photos in the aisle of a Michaels store.
More shocking to me was that management at arts and crafts supply store didn’t object. In fact, this is a viral trend that has been branded the “Michaels Challenge.”
It all started with the “Hobby Lobby Challenge,” when 22-year-old Kelsey Maggart of Columbia City, Indiana, who is credited with starting the Hobby Lobby Challenge, tweeted photos of herself posing in the flower aisle of the store -- and the trend took off.
shooting in hobby lobby is the new thing now am I right pic.twitter.com/vh3jIISFgf— Kelsey Maggart (@_KelseyMaggart) January 27, 2018
Then Michaels got involved and encouraged people to come to their stores to take photos in the flower aisle, dubbing it the “Michaels Challenge.”
And tons of people started flocking to Michaels stores all over the country.
As a comedian, I needed to experience this for myself.
So I borrowed "Good Morning America" photography intern Alessia Porcari and a production crew, put together some costumes and used what Michaels' aisles had to offer for backgrounds and props. I got into the displays. I improvised. We made “creativity happen.”
The atmosphere was surprisingly comfortable. My fellow customers looked at me with bemusement. Some looked at me as if I were a man-child playing dress up, while others looked at me as an undiscovered working actor trying to get a break.
One customer, Vicky, even volunteered to loan me her magnifying glass for my Indiana Jones pose.
We were respectful of the store and the challenge. But above all the Michaels' staff was supportive of our efforts as we were not the first to take the challenge in their store.
Overall we had a blast, and if I do say so myself, the photos turned out great!
I can’t imagine it was easy to make these photos look like they were taken in a studio and not a craft store -- but Porcari pulled it off.
For my friend Brittany, her Michael’s Challenge photos have lead to 10,000 shares and actual bookings for her photography business.
I will need some time to see how the Michael’s Challenge impacts my career as a comedian. But at the very least, my Instagram feed is going to have some funny photos!