Every year it seems like memes become more popular. If you are unaware what memes are, they are pictures that poke fun at cliché and stereotypical situations, people, and sayings. As memes become more popular, it seems like almost any picture or video can be turned into a meme. In other words, no one’s picture or video is safe. Although memes are common, you most likely don’t know the person whose video or picture turned into an internet sensation.
There are a handful of people who went to sleep as your average person and woke up as a viral meme. Some people who became known for their memes didn’t even become aware that they were a meme until their picture had floated around the internet for a good chunk of time.
Like everything on the internet, while new memes are extremely popular, they are usually only popular for a certain amount of time. Then, after the meme has been overused, the sensation dies down and it becomes just another meme that used to be popular. Once this happens, this allows the meme star to, to the best of their ability, return to life as it was before they became a viral sensation. Some meme stars decided to take advantage of the momentum and popularity they were given by the meme, while others decided to forget that the meme even existed. Though when you learn how much money Bad Luck Brian has made, something tells me you won’t be thinking he has such awful luck after all! And can you guess which meme star stated “I’m down with the meme. Also, f— you. The internet made me and I’m f—king running with it”?
If you have ever wondered who the person behind your favorite famous meme is, and how they live their life after becoming a viral sensation, continue below to our list of ten famous meme stars and where they are now.
10. The Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
Coming in at number ten is The Ridiculously Photogenic Guy. This meme comes from a photo that was posted on Facebook of a 2012 marathon race. In the photo, Zeddie Little is featured running with perfect form and a shining smile. Suddenly, people began cropping out the other people in the photo, only further adding to the humor and appeal of the pic. Today, Little is a 29-year-old who lives in New York City and works for a public relations firm. Although his meme days are somewhat behind him, Little went on Reddit a few years ago and said “I really enjoy being part of such a good joke.”
9. Scumbag Steve
While some memes show people in a lighter way, some memes bring out the worst in people. For example, Scumbag Steve is the perfect meme to sum up what it is like to know and hang out with a typical jerk. While many people speculated that Scumbag Steve was a fraternity boy, or at least someone in college, the man behind the meme was actually 16 years old. Blake Boston’s mother took the picture, which became Scumbag Steve, when Boston was only a teenager. Today, Boston is 24 years old and has taken advantage of his internet reputation as a scumbag. To let you grasp Boston’s use of his scummy internet identity, just read his Tumblr bio: “I’m down with the meme. Also, f— you. The internet made me and I’m f—king running with it, wouldn’t you? What choice do I have? You kind of owe me for the laughs, no?”
8. Crying Piccolo Girl
The Crying Piccolo Girl has been used to describe a variety of unfortunate situations. But, have you ever wondered about the story behind the meme, and where she is today? The girl behind the meme is Roxanne Chalifoux, who was a college senior at the time of the meme. During a NCAA game, Chalifoux began crying during the band’s performance. Although many people suspected that Chalifoux was upset because Villanova had been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, Chalifoux explained that she was overwhelmed with emotions because she realized that it was her last time playing with the band and she began reflecting on some of the best moments she had with them. Since then, Chalifoux has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and started optometry school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.
7. Successful Black Man
The Successful Black Man meme focuses on nice guy sayings that apply to successful people. The meme comes from a stock photo modeling shoot a college student once did. Although the guy’s name was never released, people who know him have come forward to talk about where the photo came from and what he has been up to since he became an internet sensation. The guy behind the meme graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Currently, he lives in Texas with his wife and works for General Electric. He didn’t even know that his modeling photo had become a meme until people approached him about it. Turns out he was a success after all, both on the internet and in reality.
6. Sheltering Suburban Mom
Like most memes, the name of this next meme explains it all. The Sheltering Suburban Mom focuses on sayings that a traditional sheltering suburban mom would say, such as “Talk Back? Forming Opinions? Therapy.” The picture of the Sheltering Suburban Mom actually comes from best-selling romance novel author Carly Phillips. Someone took the photograph that Phillips used for one of her books, erased the background, and turned it into a meme. The Sheltering Suburban Mom meme started floating around the internet in 2011. Phillips has not commented on her affiliation with the meme. Currently, she continues to write best-selling romance novels and has two coming out later this year.
5. College Freshman
The College Freshman meme focuses on college clichés and stereotypical socially awkward college situations. The meme could be accurately used to describe the situation in how the photo was taken and became viral. Griffin Kiritsy was a freshman at the University of New Hampshire when he was sitting outside, minding his own business. Then, he was forced into taking that awkward photo that became known as the College Freshman. After the photo was taken, it became a stock image, which was used for generic blog posts, articles, and advertisements. But, in 2011 a Reddit user decided to use the image and tag a saying onto it that poked fun at the college experience. Since then, the image has been viral. Since he became an internet sensation, Kiritsy has become a college graduate. He currently lives in New Hampshire.
4. Grumpy Cat
It seems like most great memes begin on Reddit. In 2012, a man named Bryan decided to post his sister’s cat on Reddit. The cat, named Tardar Sauce, has a permanent look of disgust and grumpiness, which is truly different than any other cat the internet has ever seen. Tardar’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen, even posted a YouTube video that depicted her pet’s grumpiness. Once people came across the Reddit post and YouTube video, Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, became an internet sensation. Memes, with every grumpy saying and situation possible floated around the internet. Since the launch of the Grumpy Cat meme, Tardar has been featured in various YouTube videos, Instagram posts, conventions, appearances, and even in ad campaigns. His popularity has made Bundesen a multimillionaire which makes this meme story a true success.
3. The Overly Attached Girlfriend
Coming in at number three is one of the most well-known memes of all time, The Overly Attached Girlfriend. The Overly Attached Girlfriend meme is one of the few memes that actually came from a video instead of a picture. During Laina Morris’ cover of the song “Boyfriend”, by Justin Bieber, a viewer paused the video and took a screenshot of her face. Since then, Morris’ face has been seen across every social media outlet, with various sayings tagged onto her photo. Since then, the 23-year-old has turned her meme fame into a career. She began starring in comedy YouTube videos, as well as producing them. She’s even earned a six-figure income from her YouTube success.
2. Success Kid
If you have ever had an overwhelming feeling of success or achievement, then you have most likely used the Success Kid meme as a way to express how you feel. But, like every great meme, the picture wasn’t supposed to go viral. Success Kid’s story starts all the way back in 2007 when a mother took a photo of her 11-month-old son, Sammy, at the beach. Sammy’s mother posted the picture on Flickr, and it immediately went viral. Since Sammy became a meme, he has grown up a lot. He is now nine years old, and doing normal kid things. But, last year Sammy used his viral fame to save his father. The family needed help funding Sammy father’s kidney transplant, and within a few days of launching a fundraiser, Sammy’s fans helped the family raise over $100,000. His father was able to undergo a successful kidney transplant, which makes Sammy’s meme story even more special.
1. Bad Luck Brian
One of the most known memes on the internet is Bad Luck Brian. Bad Luck Brian has seen it all, from forgetting to use a number two pencil on the SAT, to having an erection when he gets called on to solve an equation on the board in class. Bad Luck Brian’s meme success all started on a Reddit post. In 2012, Kyle Craven decided to share his awkward seventh-grade yearbook photo with the world. Craven told Reddit users that his principal even had him retake the picture because she thought he was making that face to be funny. Once the picture reached thousands of Reddit users, it instantly became an internet sensation. Since then, Craven has continued his daily life in Cleveland. He has even made $20,000 off t-shirt sales and advertisements that use the meme, perhaps not so much bad luck after all?