Move over Jeopardy Queen Rosie Perez in White Men Can’t Jump, there’s a new memorizing mastermind in town and she committed every single detail of all 328 pages of the 2018 IKEA catalog to memory in just one week. Yes, you read that right.
Yanjaa Wintersoul, now known as the "Human IKEA Catalog", totally blew our minds with her fuchsia hair and her beyond-photographic memory — capable of being quizzed backwards and forwards on even the most obscure, teensy details of the Bible of affordable interior design. Including recalling contextual editorial styling and modeling details just from the page numbers.
"Born in Mongolia, raised in Sweden, educated in Kenya and now living in Texas, our walking, talking Human Catalog is as culturally versatile as IKEA’s furniture," reads the company’s landing page for their collaboration with the mind wunderkind — where you can also "improve your memory in four minutes with Yanjaa" through a video tutorial with the two-time world memory championship winner and one-time Sweden’s Got Talent contestant.
IKEA says that Wintersoul’s memory wasn’t a natural gift, but a skill she honed through creative learning and memory techniques. In an interview with AdWeek, Wintersoul said that she first started working on her memory skills after stumbling upon a book about competitive memory in the library while trying to finish her bachelor’s degree in two years instead of four.
"I thought if this random dude can do it, so can I," Wintersoul said. "I entered my first competition a couple of days later and ended up in first place for the event."
After being contacted by IKEA through BBH Singapore and tested on catalog samples a few times via Skype, the team was sure they’d found just the right person to be their Human Catalog spokesperson — the face of the 2018 Catalog, starting in Asia. As a bonus, having grown up in Sweden, Wintersoul could pronounce all the product names and even understood the meaning behind them, she told AdWeek.
"I used to think I saw Ikea furniture everywhere; as a Swede, it’s unavoidable that you notice it. But now I truly see it in the oddest places — a designer in Mongolia, who sews her most exclusive garments upon a Marius stool, a temple in Hong Kong that displays their incense on a Lack side table."
On September 6th, IKEA Singapore/Malaysia fans were invited to quiz Wintersoul in real time via a Facebook Live chat (for a chance to win IKEA gift cards). Watch the entire video of that memory-stumping catalog challenge here.