Up the winding streets of the Hollywood Dell lie a bevy of glass and steel mega-mansions, houses that celebrities like Chris Brown and Justin Bieber regularly rent out for the sole purpose of throwing raging parties. One of these beauties, a conservative 10-bedroom, is home to an infamous German couple, Bastian and Maria Yotta, who share the space with their dog Luna, a disabled pet squirrel named Fritzi and a rotating cast of students in their #YottaGirls life-coaching squad. Enhanced breasts, a tiny waist, flowing hair and a variation of the same nose job seem to be the main qualifications for admission to this selective program, which promises to change your life via exercise, hard work and the power of positive thinking.
Along with their other 385,000 Instagram followers, I’ve been fascinated by the Yottas for months, and have reacted with a mix of reverence and disgust to their near-constant documentation of their over-the-top spending and house parties known for featuring exotic animals. According to a New York Post article, the Yottas fled Germany as refugees in search of a new homeland: a place that wouldn’t judge them for driving Ferraris, being sexy and wanting to live a Baywatch-inspired lifestyle. They found a safe haven in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015, and now they’re free to spend an alleged $100,000 per month maintaining what Bastian calls a “holilife” (holiday + life). Private jets to Vail, shopping trips in Beverly Hills and a custom, Superman-themed paint job on Bastian’s Rolls Royce Phantom are just a few of the things on which the Yottas drop serious coin.
Though Bastian’s (currently defunct) website says he’s involved in a variety of companies — including a program called “Mindslimming” that helps you lose weight while you sleep — the backstory behind their wealth remains extremely TBD. There had to be a dark underworld percolating beneath the Yottas’ seemingly carefree existence. Decoding this mystery is, in part, why I felt I had no choice but to do everything in my power to go to their party this past November. Once they announced the date on Instagram, my friends and I began the arduous process of securing a coveted spot on the guest list.
First, my best friend “Claire” emailed Bastian suggesting the possibility of collaborating on a feature film with her production company. This was a total lie that she basically risked her job to tell, but it earned her a wristband to get into the party, so who cares. My other friends, a pair of brothers whom I’ll call James and Mark, live in the Yottas’ neighborhood, so they delivered a handwritten note introducing themselves. This chivalry earned them two wristbands.
I, however, had no such luck. Despite sending multiple emails to Bastian, which grew increasingly desperate and flattering as time went on (“I love what you represent: being the king of your castle and finding happiness through embracing your inner superhero.”), I made absolutely no headway until fate intervened. Mark had to go out of town unexpectedly and gifted me his wristband the day before the party was set to take place.
Finally, I was in.
The next night, James, Claire and I Uber’d into the Hills, wristbands firmly secured. In an effort to blend with my fellow partygoers, I wore a skin-tight dress covered in pink glitter and accessorized with huge, fake diamond cuff earrings and four-inch stilettos. It was all happening for me. When we got out of the car in front of the mansion, I could tell that my sartorial inclinations had been correct: standing next to the red carpet was a celebrity elephant named Tai (known for both her role in Water for Elephants alongside Reese Witherspoon, and her participation in a Banksy exhibition) wearing a rhinestone and feather headdress.
I’d never been this close to a famous animal before. It was all so exciting until, while posing for a photo, I looked deeply into Tai’s heavily-lashed eyes and saw what can only be described as bottomless despair. Maybe she was sad because Asian elephants prefer to do elephant-y things like roam around Borneo or wherever. But I like to think it was more about ego: Tai had gone from posing for Vogue and working with award-winning actresses to posing for selfies with D-List Eurotrash, which is, quite honestly, a downgrade. So who knows what made Tai’s eyes so sad. Either way, it was an intense moment for both of us.
Inside, we took the elevator up to the third floor, where the party was taking place in a minimally decorated, likely pre-furnished room that connected to an outdoor pool area. The crowd made up for what the space lacked in personality. Costumed dancers and waiters accounted for about 30 percent of the guests; the other 70 percent were the kind of L.A. people that you see everywhere but have no idea what they do or where they come from, including foreign businessmen, wannabe Playmates and random creeps.
For example: one night I found myself talking to a man at a gas station and ended up giving him my actual phone number because he showed me a picture of himself with The Rock and told me he was “great friends with Mark Wahlberg.” He was at the Yotta party. I avoided eye contact with him for most of the night. It’s also worth noting that every woman at the party, Claire included, had bigger tits than me.
After sampling candied marshmallows and ordering three screwdrivers, I caught my first glimpse of Bastian and Maria flitting around the party, camera crew in-tow, playing host to their guests and making sure everyone was soothed. If social media is your only lense through which to view the Yottas, it’s easy to regard them as grotesque caricatures. However, in real life, they are stunning. Bastian is tall, handsome and muscular, with a strong jaw and an intense gaze. Maria, despite her enormous breasts and shapely ass, is very petite, with bronze skin and delicate facial features. After the Yotta sighting, we found ourselves next to a long dining-room table draped with a black tablecloth. On top of the table lay a naked woman covered in sushi, with smaller plates of sushi surrounding her. I’ve always assumed that when it comes to naked sushi, there’s a buffer, like a plastic leaf, between the model’s skin and the sushi itself. I was wrong.
This was skin-contact sushi, but no one other than us seemed to care. A party guest snaked his arm around me, grabbed some sushi fr0m the model’s body and plopped it into his mouth. There was no way I was going to dine directly off a stranger’s skin, so I opted for a few plated pieces. James physically recoiled from the naked sushi table, hiding behind me as if to shield himself from its power. He began to have a full-blown meltdown, staring at the sushi with wild eyes and asking me repeatedly if there was mayonnaise in it. I told him there probably was, since it looked exactly like grocery-store California Roll. This didn’t soothe him, and after five more rounds of mayo-related questioning it was clear that a change of scenery was essential.
We headed to the pool area, where a variety of scantily-clad waitresses passed out what appeared to be Kirkland brand mozzarella sticks and jalapeño poppers. (Not that I was mad at that. They were absolutely preferable to the naked sushi.) The party was pretty full at this point. We posted up on a couch by the pool to people watch, started on another round of drinks and smoked a joint with some Jamaican guys, at which point the dancers began to corral everyone back inside. It seemed Bastian and Maria were about to make an important announcement.
Indoors, Bastian, puffing his pecs out proudly, ascended a stage that had been set up next to the dance floor. Maria trailed closely behind, tugging along several dancers in black latex bodysuits via leashes attached to collars around their necks. Once they had the crowd’s attention, Bastian pointed to a party guest named Winston and invited him onstage. Bastian informed us that Winston was a real-life homeless man, that Bastian was going to give everyone at the party a pair of sunglasses worth $150, and that, in return, we should all give Winston some cash. Then Bastian made an inspirational speech about “freeing yourself,” and Maria “freed” the dancers by cutting their leashes with a pair of scissors.
This was the DJ’s cue to blast music. A gaggle of dancers who hadn’t just been freed descended on the crowd holding giant sparklers. Everyone started jumping up and down. Bastian and Maria were ecstatic. Winston looked super psyched. A random woman took off her shirt and danced topless on the stage. Bastian filmed the whole thing on his phone. Then, the song ended and pretty much everyone dispersed from the dance floor. I grabbed a pair of the sunglasses from a swag wall and followed a waitress toward the kitchen in the hopes of copping more jalapeño poppers. Through the huge glass windows at the front of the house, I could see Tai lumbering down the hill, flanked by two animal trainers, finally off the clock and probably happy to be getting the fuck out of there.
Even though the Yottas had warned guests of their strict no-phone policy, we’d snuck ours in and alerted Mark (who was flying back to L.A. that evening) to the lax security at the party. He eventually joined us around 11, when most of the guests had gathered to watch Bastian set off fireworks, light the pool aflame with a pyrotechnic display and then put it out with a fire extinguisher.
Once that spectacle had wrapped up, I decided it was time to introduce myself to Bastian, who seemed genuinely confused by my presence at the party, yet too distracted by Tara Reid’s arrival to care. When my compliments on his social media prowess failed to land, I informed him I was part-German, positive that this personal tidbit would forge an instant connection between us. Then Corey Feldman waltzed in with two young women dressed as angels, so all hope was lost. I gave up trying to get to know Bastian, sat back down with my friends and watched a bunch of fire dancers writhe around by the pool. We got up to get another round of drinks and came back to our spot only to discover that my sunglasses had been stolen. It was time to go.
Here’s what Bastian had to say about the event on Instagram:
Free yourself. That was the message at our last party. Here are some highlights. Superman was riding up the street on an elephant. We raised almost 50 K USD for homeless. Winston starts working today and is no [sic] homeless anymore. I had an amazing firework. Police came 12 times and was leaving 12 times without a ticket. No more words needed. I showed that you can have fun and giving something back. I raised the level in LA one more time again #yottalife
Did I feel freed? To some extent I’d been freed from my crippling curiosity about the Yottas’ lifestyle, so yes. I’m a firm believer in seeing an obsession through to the bitter end, and this experience eradicated any future fomo I might have had about missing another one of their parties. What you see on their Instagram is what you get irl. And they seem to be well on their way to achieving their dreams. Was $50,000 actually raised for the homeless? Who knows, but it would be pretty chill if Winston actually got that much money. Was the level in L.A. raised? How could it not be? The fact that the Yottas can show up out of nowhere and create this kind of over-the-top scene is what makes L.A. a magical (and terrifying) place to live.
Bastian also posted a video of Tai lifting him up with her trunk, and when it was inevitably trolled by animal rights enthusiasts, he defended Tai’s presence at the party by saying:
I deleted all comments of people who are judging without knowledge. This Elephant was born here in LA. She loves her home and had fun at our party. I visited the elephant and his owner at a really huge area. The owner told me if they would bring him to africa they would miss each other because it is like a real realitionship [sic]. The Elephant had fun doing tricks like that.
Before officially leaving the party, my friends and I took a ton of drunk selfies in front of Bastian’s Superman Rolls Royce. Walking barefoot down the hill toward James and Mark’s house, I felt a lot like Tai must’ve felt: glad to be leaving. But I was also oddly inspired.
Don’t judge too early. Because people do that we have terror in the world! That is how it begins. Ask and learn then judge!! — Bastian Yotta, 2015
Lara Marie Schoenhals has co-authored two books: the New York Times Bestseller, White Girl Problems by Babe Walker and its sequel, Psychos by Babe Walker. She also hosts Pumped, a podcast dedicated to her favorite show, Vanderpump Rules.