Zory Shahanska and Henry Wu: Hollywood Con Queen Survivors Are Still Together

Image Credit: Zory Mory/Instagram

When Hargobind “Harvey” Tahilramani was arrested in 2020 for allegedly running a scam targeting entertainment industry freelancers, Zory Shahanska and Henry Wu breathed a sigh of relief. That’s because, as carefully explored in Apple TV+’s Chris Smith-directed ‘Hollywood Con Queen,’ they’d unwittingly fallen victim in 2018 before fortunately catching on to the red flags early on. Nevertheless, the truth is that even their brief experience had left them paranoid, which is why it took them some time to come forward with their tale in the hopes that justice would one day be served.

Who Are Zory Shahanska and Henry Wu?

It was reportedly back in the early 2010s when Bulgaria-born Zornitsa (aka Zory) first came across Texas native Henry by pure chance, only for them to soon fall head over heels in love. The former seemingly served as a visual graphic designer at the time, whereas the computer science graduate was thriving in his field, but they had their base of San Francisco Bay in common. This duo then gradually realized they shared a passion for traveling as well as photography, too, driving them to ultimately establish a social media presence, plus a blog named This Life of Travel.

Little did Zory and Henry know their incredible work would result in them becoming prey to an elaborate, long-running financial-psychological ruse by the Hollywood Con Queen. The couple actually believed they’d received an email from art and business executive Wendi Murdoch on November 15, 2018, asking if they’d be interested in working on a special project. She also claimed she’d found them through a personal recommendation from a senior editor at Conde Naste Traveler, which made sense considering the duo had just collaborated with them.

The fact that “Wendi” then flattered them with praise worked wonders, too. It specifically eased the seriousness of her pitch — she wanted upcoming professionals to help capture the essence of Chinese communities across South Asia for an exhibit at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. “As photographers, we travel all over the world, so the puzzle pieces kind of fit together,” Henry candidly conceded in the aforementioned production. Thus, they responded with interest, leading to a call being set up with her and her assistant Aaron before Indonesia was finalized as their first stop.

According to Henry’s account, he and Zory discussed whether they should follow through or not since they had to front a majority of their expenses with a promise of later reimbursement. Yet all they could think of was how their success would open countless doors for them because of Wendi’s name, as well as how previous projects with such stipulations had always panned out. Therefore, they bought their last-minute airline tickets to Jakarta for $2,200 each, only to receive a call from Aaron mere hours before their flight to inform them of some additional bribes/fee charges.

This fee of $1,200 was to a logistics company as a bribe for photography permits, per the assistant, who then iterated that Zory and Henry would be reimbursed as specified in their contacts. “We flew over to Jakarta, the driver handed us an invoice, and we gave him the money,” the former said in the docuseries. “He drove straight to a gas station. He talked to a guy, and it seemed like he handed him the envelope where we put the money. I just thought, ‘This is strange.'” This is why they took a picture of the car’s license plate and the driver once they arrived at their paid-for hotel.

Neither Zory nor Henry ever expected to get a call from both Aaron and Wendi early the following morning, asserting the driver had felt the couple was being racist when they clicked his photo. In the end, the entrepreneur told them to apologize before immediately jumping onto the fact they needed to make another vendor payment, so they defensively and unconsciously agreed to both. It wasn’t until they realized their driver didn’t seem upset at all that they began questioning things, which only went to another level after they were dropped off at Chinatown without any aide.

“We thought if they’re asking for fees,” Zory revealed, “there’ll be someone walking around with us, talking to locals, making sure that we have permission [to click their photos, but we had no one]. We were like, ‘Okay, this is just weird.’ It just all didn’t make any sense.” The fact they ran into a German photographer who’d arrived in the city a few days prior for this same project raised their suspicions further, especially as he asserted Wendi/Aaron kept making excuses every day when it was time to move to the next Indonesian city. Then came the duo’s worries that their hotel room was either bugged or being watched, only for them to contact a long-term friend based in Jakarta and finally learn of the Hollywood Con Queen.

Where Are Zory and Henry Now?

Despite losing around $7,500 in total — primarily due to the expensive airline tickets — what bothered Zory and Henry most in the ensuing months was the question of why somebody would even impersonate an executive, let alone for just a few thousand dollars. “Only around $2,200 went to the scammer,” the former said. “Everything else went to the airline companies. That’s exactly why, throughout the whole scam, we were just wondering what’s the endgame because $2,200 did not seem – – you know, it didn’t match the efforts. Why go after us? What’s the real reward?” Now, the couple can only hope for straight answers when Harvey finally faces court as the alleged sole individual behind this mind-boggling hoax.

As for Zory and Henry’s current standing, it appears as if they are still based in the San Francisco Bay area and doing what they love – traveling while documenting the same on social media as well as This Life of Travel. However, it’s imperative to note the Bulgaria native is also the creator-founder of her fashion-influencing brand, Zory Mory, whereas the technological whiz has his photography plus web development under Henry Wu Photography. Coming to their relationship, as seen above, it seems like they are blissfully spending as much quality time together as possible and, therefore, thriving in every sense of the way.

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