Top 10 Meme Stars: Where Are They Now?
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
You probably see their faces every day, but things have changed. For this list, we're looking at the most prolific memes featuring real people and digging deeper to find out what they're up to today, from Disaster Girl, to the “What Does The Fox Say?” Guys, and Bad Luck Brian! WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Meme Stars: Where Are They Now?.
Script written by Savannah Sher
Top 10 Meme Stars: Where Are They Now?
You probably see their faces every day, but things have changed. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Meme Stars: Where Are They Now?.
For this list, we’re looking at the most prolific memes featuring real people and digging deeper to find out what they’re up to today.
#10: Disaster Girl
In 2004, Dave Roth took a photo of his daughter smiling in a sinister way in front of a live house fire drill, and years later uploaded the picture online. Zoe Roth has been henceforth known as “Disaster Girl” (or Firestarter) and her image has been Photoshopped onto countless other calamities, implying she took part in causing them. Now, Zoe is a teenager; and as of 2016 when she spoke with Refinery29, was a math whiz and Mandarin student going into her junior year of high school.
#9: “What Does The Fox Say?” Guys
In the fall of 2013, we were all deeply annoyed by the whole “What Does The Fox Say” thing almost as soon as it started. The creators of the video, a Norwegian comedy duo called Ylvis, were immediately everywhere, which isn’t surprising considering their “The Fox” was racking up hundreds of millions of view and led to a bestselling children’s book. Since 2013, they have faded from worldwide public acclaim, but they have continued to work, putting out an album, and, in 2018, even launching a TV show called “Stories from Norway” that is part mockumentary and part musical comedy.
#8: Bad Luck Brian
This guy’s hilariously awkward high school yearbook photo made him famous. This became one of the most commonly used memes starting back in 2012 when Ian Davies submitted a the original iteration of the meme to Reddit. The photo he used was of his friend, Kyle Craven, who henceforth became known as Bad Luck Brian. Craven has come forward to confirm his identity and answer questions on Reddit; he claims to actually have had pretty good luck, once having won an XBox 360 and a PSP in short succession. He has appeared at conferences signing autographs, and now works for his family’s construction firm.
#7: Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
Yeah, let’s just say that is NOT how we look when we run. Zeddie Little was just minding his own business, participating in the Cooper River Bridge Run in 2012 when a photographer snapped his super-composed picture at a perfectly opportune moment. As soon as the photo made its way online into discussion forums, Little was dubbed, of course, “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy”. He soon did the media circuit sharing his story and informing his new army of fans that, unfortunately for their romantic dreams, he was in a happy and committed relationship. But Little isn’t capitalizing on his fame too much these days, he’s keeping a low profile, working in restaurant management.
#6: First World Problems Woman
What do you think it’s like to be the face of first world problems? Ask Italian actress Silvia Bottini, because she has been living it for years. A stock image of Bottini shedding a tear has been used to encompass every trivial “white person problem” the Internet can come up with. But the real glamorous Bottini is barely recognizable as “First World Problems Woman” and is a working thespian (and model, of course) in Los Angeles. She has appeared in numerous productions, particularly plays, and doesn’t publicly discuss her Internet fame.
#5: Scumbag Steve
Sometimes you’re just a guy trying to promote your rap game, and your image ends up becoming symbolic of stoner bro-dom across the Internet. That’s what happened to Blake Boston AKA “Scumbag Steve”. The original photo used in the meme was taken by Boston’s mother,and ultimately took off online (Hey, “Blake Boston” itself is a meme-able name, really.) He has since put a pause on his rap career, and doesn’t regret his Internet notoriety and prominence (including using his Twitter feed over the years for political advocacy). Often mentioned in the same breath as Scumbag Steve is Good Guy Greg, but the man behind this image remains a mystery.
#4: Hot Convict
Most modeling careers don’t start with a mugshot, but this one did! After police in Stockton, California posted Jeremy Meeks’ mugshot online people quickly dubbed him “Hot Convict” because of his piercing blue eyes and chiseled jaw. When he got out of prison, he began modeling in both print and on the runway, and has appeared in fashion magazines like Vogue. As of 2017, Meeks was in a relationship with Chloe Green, a British retail heiress. The two have a child together, born in May of 2018, Jayden Meeks-Green.
Sometimes a girl just wants to pose with her collection of “Goosebumps” novels and NOT be turned into a viral meme, ok?? So you might be disappointed to learn that the origins of the "Ermahgerd Gersberms" might not be as authentically dorky as you imagined. Maggie Goldenberger, the girl who appears in the picture, was actually just goofing around with her friends and dressing up in silly costumes when the pic was snapped. It wasn’t until many years later that it ended up a viral sensation. Today, Goldenberger works as a nurse in Arizona, and largely goes unrecognized.
#2: Success Kid
Whenever you need to send a message of determination and victory, you can always fall back on Success Kid. (But hey, it can work as an image of frustration, too. It contains multitudes.) And in real life, this little boy-now-very-young-teenager has used his Internet fame to create some genuine successes. Sammy Griner is the little boy from the Success Kid meme, and the confident photo of him with a fistful of sand, taken on a beach in 2007 when he was 11 months old, has been spread far and wide, including in ads. He (and his mom) used his popularity to help raise money online to help with the costs of his father’s 2015 kidney transplant.
#1: Overly Attached Girlfriend
You may not realize it, but this meme actually started as a YouTube video created for a contest. Laina Morris created this parody of one of Justin Bieber's hit songs, “Boyfriend”; but her lasting legacy, of course is the enduring Overly Attached Girlfriend meme that resulted. Like some other meme stars, Morris decided to optimize on her potentially short lived fame while she could; and according to Business Insider, she amassed in the six figures from her Internet notoriety. She appeared on shows like Jimmy Fallon’s, and has also continued to post successful YouTube videos, including in the same character.