Documentarian Lauren Greenfield got career-definingly lucky with The Queen of Versailles. When she began making a movie about the construction of the largest house in America—a 90,000-square-foot monstrosity designed by time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie—Greenfield inadvertently secured herself a front-row seat to the Siegels' plunge from mindless excess to fiscal uncertainty when the financial crisis wiped out most of David's assets. As head of the world's most successful time-share operation, David made his fortune selling poor people the illusion of wealth, two weeks a year at a time. As his son puts it, "Everyone wants to be rich. If they can't be rich, the next best thing is to feel rich." And the third best thing is to watch tacky rich people lose all their money and have to put their kids in public school.
by Alison Hallett
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