Yes, there IS life after meme-dom!
A meme is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol, image, video, or idea. Just like the flu, a meme gets passed from one web user to another through sharing until it goes viral. We’ve all seen some of the more popular memes for years, from Good Girl Gina to the Ermahgerd Girl, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the people behind the memes?
Here’s a short list of some of the most popular image macro memes from the past few years, along with what the people behind those famous faces have been up to in their real lives.
Sammy Griner may well be one of the internet’s most beloved babies. His mom uploaded a picture of little Sammy clenching his fist with a determined scowl back in 2007, and his face has since become synonymous with fist-pumping victory.
In 2015, now-eight year-old Sammy Griner leveraged his internet fame to raise over $90,000 in a Go-Fund-Me for his father, who needs a kidney transplant. Now that’s what we call SUCCESS.
Via Know Your Meme.
The Scumbag Steve meme makes fun of that one guy we all know; the one who’s a bit of a mooch. The man behind the meme is Blake Boston, an aspiring rapper who was once a member of the rap group Beantown Mafia. Blake says no one really recognizes him from the meme these days… although something tells me he kind of wishes they did.
Overly Attached Girlfriend
Image via Imgur/YouTube.
Back in June of 2012, twenty year-old Laina Walker uploaded a song parody called “JB Fanvideo” to enter a contest sponsored by Justin Bieber. Stills from Walker’s video quickly went viral, mostly because she looked totally cray-cray with her wide eyes and eager expression. Dubbed “Overly Attached Girlfriend (OAG),” the meme was omnipresent for the past two years, and for her part, Laina Walker has been awesome at handling her internet fame.
Walker frequently poses for photos with fans, raises money for charity, makes funny YouTube videos, and is generally very approachable and funny about her status as the OAG.
In 2011, romance novelist and real-life mom Carly Phillips got a message on her Facebook page letting her know that her face had become a meme. The “Suburban Mom” meme made fun of parents who were hypocritical and kind of dorky, so Phillips was understandably sad when she found out. Eventually Phillips learned that the meme isn’t really about her at all, just her “look.”
“I never want anyone who sees it to think that I, the real mom/person … believes any of that stuff, especially the derogatory, inflammatory, prejudiced things in there,” Phillips stated on Facebook.
Griffin Kiritsy was just another freshman at the University of New Hampshire when he agreed to pose for a series of shots that would be used as stock photos for college life and financial planning brochures. The “College Freshman” meme first hit Reddit in June of 2011, and Kiritsy took to his blog a month later to ‘fess up that the picture was of him.
Kiritsy is now out of college and still living in New Hampshire, where he seems to be living a life offline, for the most part. Aside from his Twitter account, which is protected, he doesn’t have much of a web presence to speak of.
Via Know Your Meme.
In 2011, redditor Dave and his wife Rhiannon took their son Mason to the Museum of Natural Sciences. The goal was to have family photos taken by photographer (and fellow redditor) Jarod Knoten. When Dave got the photos back, he couldn’t resist uploading a funny pic of his son to Reddit, and before you can say “viral” the Skeptical Baby meme was born.
These days Skeptical Baby is doing his now-five year-old kid thing, and hopefully he’s still blissfully unaware that he is the face of skepticism on the internet.
Via Can You Ever.
The image started on Quickmeme, and before long real-life barista Dustin Mattson became the face of annoying hipsters everywhere. At first, Mattson was way LESS than thrilled about becoming a web meme, telling Eater.com, “I do find it discouraging and disappointing that there was so much exposure brought to an attempt at making a joke of a culinary industry and the professional barista.”
Hopefully he’s loosened up a bit more these days.
Good Girl Gina
Good Girl Gina is the antithesis of Scumbag Stacy. She’s the girlfriend everybody wants to have: she’s gorgeous, cool, and down with a little kink.
The person behind the meme is Emma Kathrine, a Danish model who had posed for this image for a photographer, who then sold it as a stock image. A Redditor used the image to create the Good Girl Gina meme in 2011, and soon Emma Kathrine became internet-famous. The twenty-two year-old model has given a Reddit AMA and has her own website.
Bad Luck Brian
The Bad Luck Brian meme came about in 2012, and it shows a kind of dorky-looking blond guy along with a caption about something disappointing or tragic that happened to him. The image was uploaded to Reddit by Brian’s friend, who thought the high school portrait was too funny not to share.
These days, the real Brian has capitalized on his internet fame. He currently lives in Ohio and has his own YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, and he gave a great Reddit AMA in 2013 as well.
The Ermahgerd Girl, also called “Gersberms” or “Berks,” shows a girl with lots of headgear clutching an armful of Goosebumps novels. The meme hit Reddit 2012, and variations of her slurred speech (due to the braces she wears) took over the web.
While other people have claimed to be the Ermahgerd Girl in real life, those claims were all debunked until this one came along. Turns out, the real Berks girl is Maggie Connelly, a football player who has her own Tumblr blog. Connelly is still a mysterious character, however, and not much is known about whether she will jump onto the web fame bandwagon.
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