TAMPA, Fla. — Selfie WRLD is a spot like no other in Tampa Bay—and for all the Instagram lovers out there, it's definitely something to add to your to-do list.
This selfie museum is more than just interactive art—it's a DIY photography studio.
Appointment slots are one hour, and every group is given a ring light and a Bluetooth remote to connect to your phone. Visitors are welcome to roam around and use the different Instagram-able and interactive backdrops.
The Tampa location has 12 8x8 rooms with different themes, plus 12 additional signs and scenes for all your photo needs. Some of the backdrops even have fake food and other props to pose with.
There are also dressing rooms in the back so people can bring multiple outfits for their shoot.
"It came off of my experience in the photography field," said Ashley Wilkerson, CEO of Selfie WRLD and co-owner of the Tampa location. Wilkerson is a cancer survivor and had to sell her house during the pandemic. Many of her wedding gigs and photo shoots were canceled due to safety concerns. She wanted to come up with a secondary source of income and decided to start her own business.
Wilkerson opened the first Selfie WRLD in Des Moine, Iowa in June of 2020, and now there are seven locations in the U.S. Each franchise offers different rooms and themes, with about six of the backdrops staying the same across all of the locations.
Wilkerson decided to bring in two of her childhood best friends, Kendra Ollinger and Alison Obrion, as co-owners for the most recent Selfie WRLD location. "Tampa was the area that all three of us loved to visit. Tampa is where we saw the potential," said Ollinger.
Though it's hard to choose, these are some of the co-owners favorite backdrops:
Ride or Die
"I think for me it's the carnival ride. The LED lights...it photographs great, but it's also a really fun room," said Obrion.
"We actually got a carnival ride, like an actual Scrambler seat off of eBay that people can sit in," said Wilkerson.
"The diner is a required room at every location, but we encourage people to change it up and make it there own," said Wilkerson.
"I love the coffee shop, I could see myself sitting in there," said Ollinger.
"All ages love [slinkies]. It's a lot of fun," said Obrion.
The Purple Room
"Another popular room is actually the purple room," said Ollinger. "The three of us lost one of our best friends about 10 years ago, and she was a dance instructor and her saying to all of her...dance students was 'Live. Always do what you love'...A lot of people love that room and they don't even know the story behind it. But seeing them love it just as much as we do...it's definitely an eye-catcher on photographs too."
"Who doesn't love to swing? Every location I have to sit on the swings when I'm there," said Wilkerson. " I love the swings, and the neon and the splatter paint. Yeah, that's one of my favorites too."
Selfie WRLD is located in the mall at 250 Westshore Plaza, right next to Victoria Secret. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. You can also call 515-570-0915 to rent out the photography studio for private events and photo shoots.
The rooms are 8ft x 8ft not only because it photographs well, but also to help with social distancing. Masks can be taken off in the rooms but must be worn when walking in between displays. Hand sanitizer is stationed throughout the studio and all lights and Bluetooth remotes are wiped down after each use.
"It's a really fun safe environment," said Obrion. "We want people to come in, enjoy themselves, and hang out with friends, family, whoever it is."
Selfie WRLD Austin and Selfie WRLD Orlando will be the next locations to open, with 40 more slated to open before the summer. To learn more about this franchise, click here.