Q&A with 'Tanya' - star of Masseur of Disguise

Following on from the success of our Little Casanova video that got over 20 million views, was celebrated as one of the best virals of 2017 by BeInspiredFilms and named by Campaign as ‘Pick of the Week’, this week we released Masseur of Disguise.

The video is light hearted but intended to address a series issue - that of meeting strangers online. We often have to trust that the people we meet online are who they say they are, but it’s too easy to create a fake profile and pretend to be someone else. This makes it hard to know who you’re dealing with and genuine people are being tricked into situations that cost them time, money and emotional distress.

We created Yoti to help people prove who they are and know who they’re dealing with online and in person, for free. We provide a fast, simple and secure way to swap verified personal details with other people, using your phone. You can read more about our technology here.

We caught up with Joanne, the star of our video to find out what she made of it all.

Q - Hi Joanne, tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up starring in this role?
I’m an actress. I’ve been on stage and screen and performing voiceovers all my life. Well, from the age of 3 in dance school! I’ve done some crazy voiceover work, including a Sat Nav voice and a lot of sultry voices. I love playing dangerous or oddball characters and the director had seen my work. He asked me to audition, which I did in an almost derelict office building – that was great and weird. I had space to move and be free as well as to be quite intense.

Q - The video is light-hearted but intended to help people understand a serious issue, as well as Yoti’s solution, to help others avoid similar situations. What did you learn from the experience?
I learnt that there is a solution to help you not be scammed and that is Yoti. Any check you can have in place before you get into an exchange has got to be good.
Making people laugh is a great educational tool. Somehow it helps you to remember and think ‘I’ll not get caught like that’.

Q - How easy was it to set up and dupe these people into thinking they were meeting someone else? Do you think more should be done to protect people of all ages online?
If people want something or a service and it looks interesting enough or value for money then often they will just go for it so, yeah, it can be very easy.

Of course more should be done to protect people online but, having said that, we all have to take responsibility and be wise. Just giving out your details to a stranger is a bit mad, or arranging to meet people with no backup or taking any risks with cash is just bonkers.

Q - You meet guys much younger than you in the video - how did you find that? And how did you think they found it?
Actually it was lots of fun. I was amazed how polite they were even though I was clearly not what they expected! Although they may have suspected something wasn’t right they just kept going with it, maybe hoping things would change and they’d get what they booked. I think they were curious and perhaps a bit embarrassed they’d got it wrong so they just keep going along with it. I’m guessing that some scammers use that - the nicer the scammer is the harder it is for someone to question them or complain.

Q - What advice would you give to people meeting strangers online?
Don’t go alone and don’t part with your money until you are confident that this is what you expected and wanted.

Q - You kept very calm and made us all laugh - how much were the situations and conversations rehearsed vs. made up on the spot?
Well, I had some pointers to keep to the framework of the situations but I was quite nervous before I opened the door. I truly had no idea what their reaction might be. From then on it was improvisation. I had an earpiece to link with the director so he could cue me but it kept cutting out so I was on my own for a lot of the time. I’d had one run-through with two of the crew for camera angles and technical stuff but nothing prepares you for the immediacy of the moment. I LOVE it! As an actress I’d created a character for myself so I lost myself in her.

Q - What other projects have you been working on?
I’m writing a musical and being a voice coach and a Pilates teacher. I’m also preparing to be in a new TV comedy series and I’m planning a holiday in Japan!

Q - What do you think of Yoti as a solution to help people know who they’re meeting?
It’s got to be good. I’ve signed up.

There were of course two sides to this story, so we chatted to one of the guys from the video to find out exactly how he felt meeting ‘Tanya’ for the first time...

Q - What did you think when you turned up to find out that ‘Tanya’ was someone completely different than you expected?
I didn’t quite know how to react. A part of me wanted to leave straight away but I sort of froze up in confusion...

Q - You kept very calm throughout the video - how did you find the experience?
Very intriguing. She was behaving like a complete mentalist which I thought was quite endearing.

Q - Tanya’s online profile seemed genuine - what advice would you give to people meeting strangers online?
Maybe just don’t do it, or download Yoti so you know what you’re getting ;)

Q - It’s so easy to set up fake profiles online and trick people into thinking they’re meeting someone else. What do you think of Yoti as a solution to help people know who they’re really meeting?
Sounds like a really genuine solution to a very big problem. Good work guys!

Q - You were a great sport and you made us all laugh - will you be booking any more massages online again?
Sure, is Tanya available?

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