A young couple from Russia has figured out a way to do just that, and are definitely not ones to get their Instagram photos lost in the crowd. They have been gaining hundreds of thousands of followers for their hair-raising, death-defying stunts that they share with their many online fans. The couple is frequently seen sitting, standing, cuddling, and kissing on the tops of the highest structures in the world, and let’s just say… their incredible feats are making for some remarkable photographs.
Although for most of us, the idea of dangling our feet off the roofs of the world’s tallest skyscrapers is horrifying, Angela and Ivan claim that they are not afraid, and live for the adrenaline that comes along with the adventure. Not only does the couple climb to the tops of structures, buildings, and construction sites that stand at thousands of feet up in the air, they do it without special hiking clothing, and without safety harnesses, helmets, or any sort of protective gear. Not only are the climbs incredibly dangerous, they are also illegal. The pair of adrenaline fanatics climb to the top without permits and have to find clever ways to bypass security in order to make it.
Of course, Angela and Ivan have had their fair share of negative criticism. While some are praising them for their bravery and courageous dedication to their photo taking, others find them foolish and a bad influence on others who might wish to follow in their footsteps. Whether you believe what the daring duo is doing is right or wrong, brave or foolish, there is one thing that many of us can agree on – that the result photographs are truly breathtaking. Capturing some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes from thousands of feet up in the air results in some stunning pieces of artwork.
So why not take a moment to see the spine-chilling images for yourself?
The selfie phenomenon has been taking the world by storm for the last few years. Today, more than ever before, people are taking and sharing self-taken photographs via various social media platforms. This means that sticking out among the abundance of selfies in this world is in no way an easy task. However, a 24-year-old girl named Angela Nikolau from Moscow has found a way to make her selfies stand out from the rest.
Angela Nikolau is now an Internet celebrity thanks to her reputation for taking the riskiest and most life-threatening selfies. The adrenaline lover is frequently sharing photos on her well-followed Instagram page of her sitting on the edge of a skyscraper, walking down a narrow construction crane thousands of feet up in the air, or striking yoga poses on top of the world’s tallest rooftops. Heights are definitely something this Russian beauty is not afraid of.
A unique hobby
Angela is a self-taught photographer who decided to combine her passion for art and adventure by snapping footage of her most dangerous feats. The professional “roofer” said that she started climbing for fun when she was just in middle school, and it quickly became her favorite hobby. She said, “I started to climb roofs in 7th or 8th grade. At that time I didn’t have a camera or even a mobile phone with a camera.”
Strength and flexibility
For the young adventurer, climbing came easy. It requires a great amount of strength to do what she does. She started studying artistic gymnastics at the early age of four. She explained that practicing gymnastics helped with her strength and flexibility, two things that are absolutely necessary when climbing the world’s tallest buildings. She said, “This training has helped me a lot in life and of course it helps in climbing and pulling my weight up, etc.”
Sharing with the world
The photographer’s passion for climbing tall buildings only grew over the years, and before she knew it she was taking on some of the world’s tallest buildings and structures. However, it wasn’t until 2013 when she decided to capture her daredevil feats on camera. She explained, “In 2013 I became acquainted with like-minded people and they began to take pictures of me on the roofs. Later on, I acquired a small action camera and began to put up my photos on Instagram.”
The first pictures she shared on Instagram were of her doing various yoga positions and impressive leaps on top of a roof in her home city, Moscow. Right away, she gained hundreds of likes per picture, and she knew she had to keep going. So, she started dedicating more time to taking risky selfies on rooftops all over Moscow, showing off not only her fearlessness but also the breathtaking aerial views of the city she loves.
Although the fearless climber may seem entirely calm, brave, and fearless in her dangerous daredevil photographs now, she confessed that she wasn’t always as unafraid and confident as she is now. In Angela’s earlier photographs, she revealed that she often felt nervous and uneasy before each shoot. It took several frightening climbs before she started to slowly but surely erase all “fear” from the picture entirely. She explained, “There was fear before but now I am accustomed to it.”
Thousands of feet above
After she started gaining more confidence and get over the initial fear, posing on the tops of high buildings suddenly became natural for her. She then started to take on more challenging structures in Moscow, like some of the city’s highest construction sites and cranes. She would often share photos of her sitting on a crane, with her legs dangling down or doing an arabesque on a narrow pole with the street thousands of feet beneath her.
The roof-climbing professional recently confessed in an interview that it isn’t necessarily the actual standing on the edge of rooftops, walking on narrow cranes, or balancing on small platforms way up in the air that she enjoys. To her, her favorite part is the thrill that comes along with the actual process that is involved. She explained, “Certainly, I like the extreme itself – not things like walking on the edges of the rooftops, but mainly the process: getting around security, etc.”
Warning to others
Angela in no way recommends others to try to attempt to do what she does. She explained that when she sees people without the experience and physical skills required trying to climb buildings, she tries to stop them. She said, “When I see that someone close to me does risky things, I always get anxious and scared for him, try to stop him from doing dangerous shots. But when I do things like that myself, I feel quite confident. I know I have a good level of physical skills.”
Angela is not only known as one of the riskiest photographers around, she is also known to her many followers as one of the trendiest. The daring model often shows off some of her most stylish and unique looks from long elegant gowns and heels, to ripped jeans and converse sneakers, to cute miniskirts and combat boots. The risk-taker always makes sure to dress to impress, even if climbing in heels and a dress does not seem like the most practical decision…
The Instagram celebrity also occasionally shares a unique (and relieving) photo of her safe on the ground. In this stunning shot, we are able to see the 24-year-old close-up looking absolutely beautiful. Although photos like this one are not as dangerous as her others, her fans love them just the same, and some like them even more! This one, in particular, reached over 11,000 likes on Instagram, and received many comments from followers who claim this is her best photo.
Work of art
The young risky photographer is not only an online celebrity. When she is not thousands of feet up in the air on top of the world’s highest buildings, she is on the ground teaching art classes to young children. The young woman’s love for art is present in each photo she shares. Her pictures aren’t just snaps of her hanging out on rooftops, they often illustrate the beautiful skylines, landscape, and architecture around her in a way that only a professional photographer and artist could accomplish.
Given her immensely physically challenging feats, Angela says that it is necessary for her to stay in good shape. She recently shared on social media a video of her typical workout routine, which was done naturally on the roof of a tall building. She wrote that her short workouts take about 10-20 minutes a day and can be done “at home, in a gym, or in the open air.” The routine she shared included sets of squats, kicks, and lunges.
So where did Angela’s love for adrenaline and heights come from? Is she just a natural-born daredevil? Well, several online sources have revealed that that the roof-topping professional is actually the daughter of a trapeze artist father who used to perform in some of Moscow’s largest and most famous circuses. Although Angela is not a circus performer per se, she is certainly a trapeze artist of sorts, whose circus just so happens to be outside a tent.
The acrobatic beauty also has a passion for taking care of animals. When she is not busy scaling tall skyscrapers, she enjoys volunteering at her local animal shelters, and helping lost and abandoned animals find loving and warm homes. She once wrote on Facebook, “I have a dream of my childhood – to be involved in charity: to find homes for lost animals like dogs and cats.” One time, she even brought her dog along for a photoshoot…
Words of wisdom
Although Angela doesn’t encourage others to attempt her dangerous feats, she does inspire her many fans to live life to the fullest. She is often writing inspirational messages on social media for her hundreds of thousands of followers motivating them to go after and live their dreams, whatever they may be. She once wrote, “While we are young there are hundreds of roads and horizons in front of us which we can and must conquer.”
Angela admitted that she hasn’t always lived her life to its full potential, and that she used to let outside circumstances “control” her life. However, she recently wrote on social media, that she is now happier than ever. She wrote that in the last year, her life has changed drastically, “A year ago I was sitting at home on the couch and I could not think that my life would change so brightly and highly, that I would build my life the way I want, not let circumstances control my life.”
A perfect match
Angela eventually recruited her boyfriend, 23-year-old fellow daredevil Ivan Kuzenetsov, to join her on her climbing adventures. The risk-taking couple joined forces to create some even more death-defying photographs. Ivan, like his girlfriend, shares a common passion for living life on the edge… literally. They decided that sharing their hobby was much more enjoyable than going solo. Not only that, they added some romance to their photographs, which made them even more famous on Instagram.
Traveling the world
Travel Ticker, an online travel agency, caught word of Angela and Ivan and decided to sponsor them and organized for them a trip around the world. One of their first destinations was Hong Kong, where they climbed to the very top of the Tsing Ma bridge, which stands at nearly 700 ft. tall. In the photograph, the couple are seen side by side, standing on a tiny platform and holding on to a narrow pole and selfie stick.
However, when the photograph first emerged on Instagram (receiving over 40,000 likes) and eventually went viral all over the Internet, many believed it to be fake or photoshopped. Because really, who would ever risk their life like that for a selfie? Luckily for the couple, they easily proved just how real their climb was, by capturing their journey to the top of the bridge with a video camera, and sharing that video on their Youtube channel, called Elevation.
Not long after their dramatic Hong Kong climb, they decided to take on an even more dangerous challenge – by climbing the 4th tallest building in the world, Ping An Finance Centre. The 115-story skyscraper located in Shenzhen, China stands at nearly 2000 feet tall and is the second tallest skyscraper in China. While just visiting the top floor’s observation deck can make most people uneasy, Angela and Ivan decided to take it one step further and actually stand off the very edge of the building.
The roof-topping couple didn’t stop there, they continued to share photos, thousands of feet up in the air, cuddling, kissing, dangling, and hanging out on top of China’s tallest buildings and construction sites. While they were there, they decided to break a record by becoming the first people to ever climb the world’s tallest construction site, the Goldin Finance 117, sharing a video that documented their entire death-defying climb.
A difficult challenge
Climbing the Goldin Finance 117, otherwise known as the China 117 Tower, was in no way an easy task, even for the two rooftop professionals. The 117-story high unfinished building is estimated to be completed in 2018 or 2019, and will be the second tallest building in the world standing at nearly 2,000 feet high. As usual, the couple shared their journey to the top on their Youtube channel, proving the non-believers that they indeed are the risk-takers they claim to be.
A risky photo
This is one of the couple’s most viral and well-known photographs which has gained over 43,000 likes on Instagram and has been shared all over social media. In it, Angela is sitting on top of Ivan’s shoulders holding a selfie-stick, thousands of feet up in the air on the tippy top of one of Shanghai’s tallest buildings. Like usual, the pair of lovebirds looks pretty calm and collected while they snap this insanely risky selfie.
Next on the couple’s trip was Bangkok, Thailand, where they started off by climbing a 1,050-foot tall crane. Then they visited the tropical Thailand city of Pattaya, where they shared a romantic moment on the top of a construction site that overlooked the city’s beautiful beaches and illuminating skyline. Although most couples would probably prefer sunbathing by the beach during a tropical romantic getaway, Ivan and Angela prefer a more adrenaline-filled and adventurous date night.
The professional “roofers” moved on to Dubai and posted even more life-risking photographs including several of Angela showing off her gymnastics moves on the edge of a Dubai skyscraper, overlooking the lovely Dubai Marina. In one the couple’s most frightening images from their trip, Angela is seen leaning back on top of a crane with Ivan holding her by only one hand. Even Angela admitted to being frightened during this shot, and wrote, “You often ask me ‘are you afraid?’ Sometimes, like in this photo, I am afraid.”
One of the pair’s biggest challenges, besides physically climbing to the top, is not getting caught. Almost every climb that Angela and Ivan take on is illegal, due to the extreme risk they are taking. Due to this factor, the daring duo starts their climbs early in the morning, in order to bypass security. They make sure to always check out the territory before each climb, in order to see how they can get by the security.
Without a harness
The fearless duo is often asked if they wear any sort of safety harness during their dangerous ascensions, just in case they slip. However, the two lovebirds both claim that they refuse to ever use a safety harness because they are confident that they will not fall. They don’t even wear special clothing or shoes for hiking. Sometimes, Angela is even seen wearing heels or barefoot. Angela said that she “knows her boundaries” and never attempts to do take on a climb that she isn’t 100 percent sure she can handle.
Of course, not everyone has been a fan of Angela and Ivan’s artwork. In fact, many people still claim that it is all photoshopped, despite the couple’s frequent videos that are aimed at proving otherwise. However, Angela and Ivan don’t mind the negative attention, and promise that each photo they take is entirely authentic. Others have criticized the young risk-takers for being “foolish” and risking their lives in order to get some likes on Instagram.
A worried family
Angela spoke about her family’s reaction to her very dangerous hobby, and said that they are surprisingly okay with it but often beg her to be careful. However, her grandparents are a different story. She has to tell them that the photos are fake for fear that they would be too worried for their granddaughter’s life. She said, “To my grandparents, I have to say that it is Photoshop so that they don’t worry too much!”
While Angela and Ivan may be one of the Internet’s most well-known risk-takers, they are certainley not the only ones. In fact, most of the famous “roofers” come from Russia, and BBC has even called it a “dangerous Russian craze.” Alexander Chernikov from Barnaul, went viral after he lit himself on fire before jumping off a 100-foot tall building into a snowbank. The 23-year-old claimed that he did it because he enjoys feeling like he is “standing on the line between life and death.”
The 24-year-old Moscow native, Kirill Vselensky is another famous “roofer” who is known for climbing almost every tall structure in the city, and the world. He nearly broke the Internet after him and some friends shared a video of them illegally climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Although if caught, they could have served a one to three-year prison sentence, Kirill and his friends claimed it was completely “worth it.” Kirill even occasionally collaborates with Angela, like in this terrifying picture here.
Although it is still debatable whether or not Angela and Ivan’s dangerous photographs are considered works of art or just acts of foolishness, one thing is sure – they are certainly getting our attention. The risk-taking pair’s shared Instagram profile now has over 45 thousand followers, and Angela’s stands at 555 thousand. Their hair-raising pictures have been shared all over the world, and written in dozens of news outlets such as BBC, New York Post, and Inside Edition. Although many beg them to stop before they get hurt, they don’t plan on putting an end to their life-threatening adventures anytime in the near future.