Get Ready to Feel Old: Viral Stars Then Vs. Now
| LAST UPDATE 08/17/2021
Oh the joys of the internet. Just when you think you've seen it all, another viral star knocks you for a loop. Like remember that time when Bhad Bhabie threatened to take out Dr.Phil's audience? But where are these viral stars today you might ask? Get ready to feel old...
Youtube’s Superstar Keenan Cahill
Cahill’s fame began in 2009 when the 13-year-old got a stylish iMac for his birthday. Soon after, he would give the world quirky homemade lip-syncing videos. These first-rate uploads quickly got people's attention including VIPs like 50 Cent and Justin Bieber - making Cahill a star on YouTube.
It's hard to believe that it has been over 10 years since he started. In all that time, Keenan graduated from college and even began a career in electronic dance music. Recently, he shared the lyrics video to his self-produced song, City. This one is definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.
The Struggles of Antoine Dodson
As a resident of the Lincoln Park housing project, in 2010 Dodson was the one to put his area on the map. Many people remember his famous advice to ‘Hide our kids and our wives’. Who could have predicted that a house burglary victim’s brother would become so famous? Despite all of this, his fame has come and gone.
In February of this year, Antoine Dodson started a GoFundMe page to support himself and his young child. His heartfelt message read: “Last year we lost our house due to financial reasons and our car. I’m in school for real estate trying to pass this state exam and have a new job.” We certainly believe in this internet legend!
Ain't Nobody Got Time for That
In the year 2012, almost everyone knew the words: “Ain't nobody got time for that!” We owe Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins for these famous words. After surviving an apartment fire, it was her prominent interview on KFOR-TV that went viral on YouTube. But what happened to her after that?
Kimberly disappeared off the radar for the last few years. But she did manage to use her new-found fame, and play several parts in TV commercials, including, Tyler Perry's 2014 feature film, A Madea Christmas. Plus, the auto-tune remix of her interview is still pretty catchy.
Still the Same for ‘The Turtle Guy’
Sitcoms aren't as famous as they used to be - being replaced widely with reality TV. This gives us the chance to see people's weirder sides - and we love it! Remember Jonathan Ware? The little 10-year-old who captured hearts with his unusual line in an interview back in 2007: "I like turtles?"
It's been a few years, but Jonathan's feelings about turtles haven't changed. More recently, he spends his time online gaming but has posted a video on his YouTube channel titled ‘it's turtle time’ (what a shock…). Unfortunately, he seems to have deleted his YouTube account, but it was fun while it lasted.
‘Hey Guys, It’s Nichole’
You can probably hear her voice in your head saying, "Hey guys it's Nichole." That’s not surprising at all! Her uploads to YouTube were such an important part of our childhood - good or bad. Regardless, we will always be thankful for her covers of 2010’s hottest hits. So, where has she gone now?
Nichole is no longer a teen star but is, in fact, gracefully pushing her thirties. Wow time flies. She's also married now to a man named Bryan Burr. Sorry to those who thought they stood a chance. Fortunately, the Ohio star still uploads weekly videos on her YouTube channel.
The Legendary King Curtis Holland
Many have heard the tale of King Curtis Holland - You might know him as the ‘bacon is good for me’ kid from the hit reality TV show Wife Swap. 11 Years ago Curtis showed off his feisty personality on the small screen, where he wouldn't let his replacement mom named Joy get between him and bacon.
He stuck to it and even warned that he would leave because of Joy's rules. Still, all these years later, when he is now a whiz at welding, people still follow his example. But what happened to Joy? “She added the family on Facebook. But we blocked her after she talked about going on Dr. Phil,” says Curtis.
Fred Figglehornn’s Near-Psychotic Antics
Fred (actually named Lucas Cruikshank) was another rising teen star on YouTube a few years back when he was 13. You probably recognize him by his high-pitched voice and crazy shenanigans. Those were weird times back in 2010, but he still had millions of people following him on social media.
Fred has changed quite a bit since then. Now, 10 years later, he is a prominent representative in the LGBTQIA+ community. He gives inspiration to many teenagers about loving and accepting yourself. He also has a new YouTube account now which is named ‘Lucas’ and it still has many subscribers - over 3 million in fact.
David’s Trip To The Dentist
Trips to the dentist aren't generally enjoyable. Perhaps the happy gas makes it better or, like David, you enjoy the daze after the anesthetic. The seven-year-old boy was put under for his procedure and his parents captured the hilarious after-effect. We still remember this clip years later!
This mini-celebrity earned over $100,000 and subsequently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and Today where he became even more famous. It's not like this anymore for David. He is now a University of Florida student and lives a slower-paced life. “I don’t want ‘David After Dentist’ to be all I’m ever known for,” he stated assertively.
Gingers Do Have Souls After All
10 Years ago, Michael Kittrell posted a response to South Park’s ‘Ginger Kids’ episode. He uploaded a video onto his YouTube channel (CopperCab), reminding us that gingers do, in fact, have souls. This remarkable video headlined and generated many followers and responses.
So much has happened since then. 6 Years later Kittrell transitioned and went by the name Claire. However, he has transitioned back and refers to himself as Michael again. He still goes off on his funny rants and even posted a ‘Gingers still have souls’ follow-up video early this year. You need to see it for yourself.
Baby Charlie Nibbling His Brother
In the summer of 2007, Howard Davies-Carr took a video of his sons sitting on the sofa. Little did he know that the younger son, Charlie, was about to chomp his older brother's finger. When the video was shared it became an instant sensation around the world.
It's been a while since then and little Charlie is now 13-years-old, and his older brother Harry is 15. We know, it's crazy how fast time goes. Anyway, the family has earned over 1 million dollars in royalties from the video. The once baby Charlie has over 300 thousand followers on YouTube, pretty impressive!
Daniel’s Series of Comedic Twitter Snaps
You remember hearing “Damn, Daniel!” or the infamous, "Back at it again with the white Vans." These are from then high school student, Josh Holz who shared these hilarious snaps on Twitter years ago - before they went viral. The fame of these two friends has spread too.
But where did they go after it all went quiet? Daniel Lara who was 14 at the time, explained to Rolling Stone “My life hasn’t changed all that much.” This famous Californian graduated in 2019, but “Still gets people coming up to him, but it’s not to the point where he needs security guys.”
Target's Alex Lee
Alex's rise to fame was actually quite unusual. He was just a normal kid working at Target when a customer spotted him and posted a picture of him. His picture spread across the net with viewers suggesting he was the new Bieber. This was way back in 2014 when he lit up Twitter feeds. Girls went mad over him and things escalated pretty quickly.
Alex was not ready for what was to come. He could never have imagined such fame. In his words, “Everything just started getting crazy.” Eventually, the fire did burn out. He returned to school in 2018 with dreams of becoming an EMT. It seems Hollywood life is not for everyone.
The Story Of The Backpack Kid
Russell Horning was a regular teenage boy from the south when it all began. First, there was the Dougie, then the Mannequin Challenge, then the Floss, and finally, appearing on SNL with Katy Perry. It all started in 2016 when he showed us his new dance on Instagram and everything spread from there.
These days, Horning is 18 years old and makes “At least six figures,” every year. He is still uploading videos on his YouTube account. But get this, His mother revealed that, “Being the mom of the backpack kid is the most stressful…thing I’ve done in my life.” We can only imagine...
GloZell Rise From Zero to Hero
Very few people who knew YouTube in the early 2010s hadn't seen GloZell. Do you recognize the line, "Is you okay? Is you good? Cuz I want to know?" Who doesn't remember the Notorious YouTube videos from 2008 uploaded simply because “She was having trouble one day uploading a video on her blog.”
It isn't surprising that things have changed for this YouTube celebrity. Now she's a single mother who has shed 100 pounds. Today she runs her own podcast which is called Glowing Up. While the more recent uploads have struggled to break 10 000 views she still has a solid 1.3 million followers on Instagram.
Britney's Biggest Fan Turned Celebrity
Chris Crocker's story broke out when Britney Spears had the unpredictable VMA performance in 2007. It's not enough to call Chris just a super fan. During the saga, he was both a wacky headliner and a failed comeback icon. He was quick to return fire at Britney’s trolls.
His famous ‘Leave Britney Alone’ YouTube clip scored him instant fame. 10 Years later, he now has 1 million people following him on Instagram. He lost a lot of support though when he shared some offensive opinions. However, it seems like he's doing pretty well now.
Brains Behind the Bars
Nicholas Fraser, a then 21-year-old New Yorker rattled the 2015 song of the summer Next’s’ Too Close. Specifically, what he did was swap the original lyrics of “why the ___ you lying?” with “why you always lying?”. And just like that, the video became a huge sensation.
People all over the world saw his post, even celebs like Diddy, Chris Brown, and Wiz Khalifa. Fraser gathered millions of views and became a historical meme. He became famous in no time and he has managed to keep his fandom going with now 400 000 people following him on Instagram.
“What Are Thoooose?”
Even today we can still hear Brandon Moore making fun of a car for his rather controversial shoes. The spiral Sensation posted his video in 2015 and secured his place in internet history with these three simple words. These words - “What are thoooose?” - still ring in our ears 5 years later.
The video's number of likes shot up to millions in no time and launched the production of many parodies, remakes, and memes. As a father of nine, Brandon got pretty tired of all of it saying “it’s official, I’m ready to let #whatarethose burn in hell.” Sadly, this hilarious hero passed away recently from a drug overdose.
When the Victim Speaks Out Against Cyberbullying
Ghyslain Raza was just a teenager when a video of him flailing around with a double-bladed ‘lightsaber’ was posted online without him knowing. The video was filmed in 2002. But this video ironically made him an internet superstar and crowned him as one of the classics. Where is he now?
Raza never wanted anyone to see the video but it was widely shared and had over a billion views. What did this internet hero do with the bullying? Well, he has certainly shown us. Now that he has graduated from McGill University, he helps other victims of cyberbullying by speaking out against it.
One Of Youtube's Original Stars
Gabby Londe, the brains behind the “where's the chapstick” video originally posted it only for the friends to enjoy. But what started out as a bit of fooling around went viral. The popularity of her 2010 song about a missing ChapStick grew so quickly and made her one of the first VIP's on YouTube.
The once super-famous Gabby has popped up again 10 years later with an ‘anniversary edition’ of the acclaimed song. This might be the last time we see her on YouTube because she is not a fan of the current focus on influencers. According to their account, TheMaddness22 bloggers are only in it for the money these days.
That ‘Who Is She?’ Video
Chole Woodard’s career started in 2015 when she made a parody video on Vine. She uploaded the video called ‘Who is She?’ and expanded her number of followers to over 450 000 on Twitter and TikTok. Maybe the Kardashians can take notes from her.
Even all these years later, Chloe still spends her time writing music and making videos which she posts on Twitter and TikTok. Many people even say she is now upper-class because she has constant banter with Jake Paul, another YouTuber. Then again, Jake Paul likes to be controversial so what does that say about Chloe Woodard?
The Bizarre Beginnings of YouTube
Way back when YouTube stars didn't show off their exorbitant lifestyles. We were far more familiar with the quirky videos from average people who just wanted to get a laugh. Some users like ‘alonzochadwick’ who shared the video “Sittin’ On Da Toilet' ' were suddenly beau monde.
‘Alonzochadwick’ actually put the video up as a prank on her sister in 2009. Neither one expected it to spread like it did. The recording was seen by millions of people and subsequently remade and popularized as a meme. Nowadays, the queen of the toilet who has her own account called ‘eedabc123’ regularly uploads new content.
The Catchy ‘Chocolate Rain’ Song
When he was a student in American studies, Tay Zonday gained popularity with his song Chocolate Rain. Zonday recalls, “I did about 30 radio interviews in…a week. Three…major labels wanted to sign me. People contacted me to sing at…parties, their kids’ Bar Mitzvahs.”. So he remains one of the top.
He also “believes about 20% of people who watched it at the time appreciated a deeper social message.” Zonday still uses his YouTube accounts to keep abreast of and examine current events. He has over 1 million subscribers including Yeezy and South Park.
That Numa Numa Fella
The web can be a brutal place. But who could have guessed that “The Numa Numa Guy” would mushroom like he did. The guy's name is Gary Brolsma and he put up a video of himself lip-syncing to a Romanian song and there were rumors on Twitter that he committed suicide because he was so ashamed of the video.
But that wasn't true at all. Now the legendary Gary spends his time replying to all of his haters. One of his biggest replies was the release of a Numa Numa 10-year-reunion clip about six years ago. Gary is now a tech entrepreneur and enjoys commenting on music with his Twitter account.
Some Melodramatic Freakouts
Do you remember Stephen Quire who is well known for his emotional ‘freakouts’? If you don't, where were you in 2009? They were just the pastime we needed. With his brother Jack, who was the cameraman and the one who posted on his YouTube account, Wafflepwn, he gave us some quintessential content.
What is the then 16-year-old doing now? Well, the YouTube account is still going and has over 2 million subscribers. On top of this, yet another freakout video was posted in May of 2019. Regardless, the brothers keep a pretty low profile at the moment. We guess not everybody can be Gordon Ramsey even if they want it.
It’s the Mask!
There have probably been a few times when you were embarrassed by your mom. At least you aren’t the child of Candace Payne, a mother from Texas who captured Facebook with her response to the Chewbacca mask from Kohl's. The clip got over 200 million views and caught people's attention, even some Hollywood stars.
Beyond her international stardom, she was also in a James Corden Carpool Karaoke show. After this infamous video, Candice has managed to release her own action figure and published a number of books. Unsurprisingly, she is on Instagram where she has about 60 thousand followers.
The Next Lady Gaga
Charlotte Awbery has always wanted to be a singer. But for some reason, she stayed in London's underground. That was until Kevin Freshwater filmed her on his YouTube channel in February. Even though this was a prank, people saw her talent and she had her big break being promoted as the internet's new Lady Gaga.
When Charlotte sang Shallow she was so on point that the recording made her instantly famous. She was even flown out to sing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where many of the big players of the industry, like Ariana Grande, saw her. Now, she is working on her debut and has over 700 thousand followers.
So many girls who were fawning over the 13-year-old boy from Canada who became a worldwide name back in the 2010s. When the hype was fully realized, Laina Morris gave us the parody video. And just like that, she was inducted into the YouTube Hall of Fame.
In just 3 minutes, she captivated so many people and caused the production of many more parodies and memes. Morris maximized her spotlight and made even more parodies. A few years later, she got her chance to be on TV at the 2012 AMAs. Sadly, she ended her vlogging career, saying goodbye in a 30-minute farewell video in 2019.
Walmart’s Yodeling Kid
Remember that kid, Mason Ramsey that was videoed yodeling in the middle of Walmart in 2018? The internet certainly is strange. The boy from Illinois singing the Hank Williams number set the internet ablaze. The video spread after it was uploaded to YouTube by ViralHog and kick-started the boy’s career.
Mason managed to grab the attention of some of the big names on top of many people around the world. Eventually, he would be invited to perform at Coachella 2018. In the last two years, he was able to release his debut track called Famous and now has about 2 million followers on Instagram. The things that happen in these times...
Rebecca Black’s It’s Friday
Let's return to the crazy times of Rebecca Black's Friday. You'd need a lot of talent to be able to make people hate the weekend. Somehow she managed to do it. Black’s song and music video was posted all over and as you know, some of us did not look forward to the weekend when the song was around.
You must be wondering ‘Where is the notorious singer now?’. Believe it or not, she is still posting singles the most recent one being Anyway in 2019. Black has also spoken openly about the controversy of the debut single acknowledging, “almost every producer/songwriter who’d tell me they’d never work with me.”
Self-named ‘Bhad Bhabie’
Who could have guessed that a young girl would become a star by making threats against Dr. Phil’s audience? Strange as it seems, that is what happened with “car-stealing, knife-wielding, twerking 13-year-old”, Danielle Bregoli. She was a ferocious teenager back in 2016. But this is the reason she's famous.
Most people today know her as ‘Bhad Bhabie’, which she calls herself. It's quite impressive that she managed to utilize her fame to drop a few tracks and sign with Atlantic Records being the youngest person to ever do so - even hitting the Billboard Hot 100 charts. How things have turned around...
Jenna Marbles Time
The internet was overcome with FaceTune and Tide-Pod challenges in 2010 when Jenna Mourey began posting tongue-in-cheek ‘how to’ videos and other amusing bits. The Native New Yorker gained international fame and millions of followers, instantly boosting her popularity with her YouTube videos. She is already a millionaire.
She still puts videos on her platforms quite regularly. Her fans still love her and she has 5.7 million followers watching her content even today. On top of that, she engages on her Jenna and Julien podcast where she talks about her life experiences or “all the things”.
The Brains of Miss Teen South Carolina
The person who said ‘pageant queens aren’t the brightest’ might have had a point. This was highlighted by Miss Teen South Carolina's responses to the Q&A segment of the pageant in 2007. Caitlin Upton was gunning for the Miss USA title when she graced YouTube with her renowned responses.
The then 18-year-old did not take the failure too well. Upton remembers, “I went through a period where I was very, very depressed.”. But as time went on she recovered. Now, she has nearly 40 000 Instagram followers, a kid called Vin, and a successful modeling and entertainment career.
The Sting of The Curling Iron
In 2013, there were so many Youtube tutorials to choose from. That's when Tori Locklear decided to join the scene. The 13-year-old posted a tutorial named ‘How to curl your hair’. But things went quite differently and Tori actually managed to burn her hair and gain instant fame.
More recently, she has game popularity with some of the bigger names in the industry like Ellen DeGeneres. She is back on YouTube and uploaded a video sponsored by the haircare giant, Pantene, in 2019. She's even dabbling in a music career telling Refinery29, “I want to start posting [song] covers. I love singing.”
Who doesn't remember the infamous photo of the 2-year-old looking unimpressed by a Disneyland trip? The toddler, named Chloe, was taken to Disneyland by her sister who wanted to surprise her. It seems that Chloe didn't really enjoy the surprise, but it did bring her some serious social media attention and fame.
But where is Chloe today? Well, she has over 600 thousand followers on Instagram, along with her sister, so she seems to still be in the spotlight. Over and above that, she is now 9 years old and has already been to Brazil where she filmed a Google commercial in 2017.
The Chubby, Little Gangster
Remember this adorable little guy who captured the internet’s hearts. We can't forget him! In 2007, when he was just 11-months-old, Sammy Griner was relaxing on the beach and pulled this hilarious pose. He grabbed a handful of sand and gained international recognition. But what is he doing now?
Well, now he is 13-years-old. He did an interview with New Statesman back in 2016 where they learned that he is “home-schooled by his mum after he got in trouble for talking during class and for high-fiving a classmate in the hallway” and “enjoys skateboarding.”. He has probably left his gangster days behind him.