Unveiling the Real-Life Stories of 10 Iconic Internet Memes

Ever wondered how memes come to life? A friend of mine enjoys transforming his friends’ candid photos into memes. He sifts through their Facebook albums, picks the most awkward faces, adds some text, and voila! A meme is born.

However, not all memes achieve viral status. While creating memes is simple, their success depends on how relatable they are. Many memes feature real people with real stories, which often differ from their meme personas.

Curious about the real identities of Overly Attached Girlfriend, Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, or Sheltering Suburban Mom? This blog post reveals the true stories behind 10 popular memes you’ve come to love.

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The Real Story of Scumbag Steve

Ever wondered why Scumbag Steve is so universally disliked? The photo, initially posted on Reddit, seems to naturally attract disdain. Whether it’s the hat or the fur coat, the image is often paired with text describing objectionable behavior.

The original photo was taken by his mother during his time with the rap group Beantown Mafia. It first appeared on his Myspace account in 2006.

Scumbag Steve Meme

When the meme gained traction, Blake Boston initially reacted negatively, reinforcing the scumbag persona. Eventually, he embraced the meme and even incorporated it into his rap videos on YouTube. Today, he is a devoted father and a professional chef.

Blake Boston Today
The Untold Story of Disaster Girl

Ever seen that infamous photo of a little girl smirking while a house burns in the background? Her expression has been interpreted as the cause of many disasters. It’s as if she’s saying, “I know something you don’t about this fire.” Quite unsettling, isn’t it?

Disaster Girl Meme

So, what’s the real story? In 2004, local firefighters conducted a live demo involving a controlled burn of a building. This happened just two blocks away from where David Roth and his daughter Zoe lived. David captured Zoe’s now-iconic grin and later submitted the photo to Zoomr in 2007 and JPG Magazine in 2008. Zoe has since grown up, but her mysterious smile remains unforgettable.

Zoe Roth Today
The Origin of Doge

“Doge” is internet slang for dog, specifically referring to the Shiba Inu breed. This meme features the adorable dog with a series of thoughts in colorful Comic Sans font, often with intentionally poor grammar. It’s a meme that makes you say, “Such wow.”

Doge Meme

The Shiba Inu in the meme, named Kabosu, was at risk of being euthanized before being rescued by Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato. The photo was posted on Sato’s blog, capturing the hearts of internet users worldwide.

Kabosu the Shiba Inu
The Real-Life Story of Bad Luck Brian

Bad Luck Brian is the epitome of misfortune. Picture the worst-case scenario for any situation, and that’s just another day for him. His outfit and braces haven’t helped his luck, making him the go-to meme for life’s unfortunate moments.

Bad Luck Brian Meme

Contrary to the meme, his real name is Kyle, not Brian. He tried to reveal his identity in a Reddit AMA, but it was removed. The photo was actually a school picture that was retaken because he was “pulling a face.”

Today, Kyle is doing well and even makes YouTube videos, fully embracing his Bad Luck Brian persona.

Kyle Today
The Truth About Overly Attached Girlfriend

Overly Attached Girlfriend is the meme you use when your significant other’s actions are borderline creepy. Her eyes alone make Fatal Attraction seem like child’s play.

Overly Attached Girlfriend Meme

In reality, Laina Morris is far from scary. The meme originated from a parody video she made of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” She continues to make YouTube videos and even met TV host Jimmy Kimmel.

Laina Morris Today
The Rise of Success Kid

Success Kid is the antithesis of Bad Luck Brian. This meme is all about celebrating victories, big or small. Just look at that triumphant face and clenched fist!

Success Kid Meme

Originally captioned “I Hate Sandcastles,” the meme evolved in 2011 when a Redditor gave it a new background. Today, the image is used in ads and billboards, including those by Vitamin Water and Virgin Media.

Sammy Griner Today
The Journey from College Freshman to Senior

College Freshman is the meme that encapsulates the naive enthusiasm of first-year college students. You know, the ones who buy every textbook because it was “recommended.” Eventually, they all morph into Lazy College Seniors.

College Freshman Meme

The meme features Griffin Kiritsy, who posed for this photo five years ago for Reader’s Digest. Initially uncomfortable with his meme fame, he later embraced it, even posing for a “Successful College Senior” meme.

Successful College Senior Meme
The Reality Behind Sheltering Suburban Mom

Sheltering Suburban Mom is the meme for the parent who preaches one thing and practices another. She’s the mom who forbids you from drinking but stocks up on vodka for the holidays.

Sheltering Suburban Mom Meme

In reality, Carly Philips is a successful romance novelist and a mother of two. Initially upset about the meme, she later understood it was all in good fun. She’s actually much cooler than her meme persona.

Carly Philips Today
McKayla Maroney: Not Impressed to Impressed

US gymnast McKayla Maroney became a meme after her “not impressed” expression was captured during the 2012 Olympics. She had to settle for a Silver medal after a fall during her routine.

McKayla Not Impressed Meme

McKayla embraced the meme and even met President Obama, both sporting her famous “not impressed” face.

McKayla with Obama
The Charm of Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy became a sensation for looking incredibly good while running a marathon. The photo was taken by Will King during the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run.

Original Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

The photo went viral, and Zeddie Little, the man in the photo, was identified. Despite being in a committed relationship, Zeddie has captured the hearts of many.

Zeddie Little Today

Zeddie appeared on Good Morning America and revealed that the photo was taken after he waved at a friend. He’s flattered by all the attention.

Zeddie Little on Good Morning America