When Andy Warhol said in 1968 that everyone in the future would be "world-famous for 15 minutes," people probably doubted him. Well, it turns out he was right. With reality television, TikTok, YouTube, and the rest of social media, there are endless places for people to (sometimes accidentally) take their shot at fame. But the internet has no patience, and these new stars often disappear just as quickly as they suddenly appear. So let's take a walk down memory lane and see where some of these one-hit wonders and viral sensations are today.
A Shot at Love - Tila Tequila
After becoming the most popular Myspace celebrity, Tila Tequila starred in her own reality TV series, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, in 2007. But since the height of her fame, she's fallen a long, long way. In 2013, she posted an article on her website entitled "Why I Sympathize with Hitler: Part I." Two years later, she was booted out of Celebrity Big Brother UK for her offensive tweets.
But that's not all: Tila also claimed that Satan possessed her. On a brighter note for the aspiring starlet, she won "Best Celebrity [Intimacy] Tape" in 2015. Nowadays, she goes by the name Tornado Thien and has two children.
Gangnam Style - Psy
In 2012, South Korean rapper and singer Psy took the world by storm with his annoyingly brilliant song "Gangnam Style." You're singing it already, aren't you? His accompanying video was the first to reach over one billion hits on YouTube. But what's the song actually about? The track refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul, Korea, making him the first K-Pop artist to break into the West.
Since his 15 minutes of fame, Psy left his music label and decided to go into artistic management. Today, he is married to cellist Yoo Hye-Yeon, and they have twin daughters.
Lied About Being African American - Rachel Dolezal
Rachel Dolezal was an African studies college tutor, activist, and president of Spokane, Washington's NAACP chapter. But her world (and the world of many around her) was turned upside down in 2015 when it came out that she was actually white and not––as she claimed––of African American or Native American descent. When challenged, she doubled down, leading some people to accuse her of fraud and cultural appropriation. Her 15 minutes of fame sure were wild.
Now out of the limelight, Rachel continues to insist she's African American, despite her ancestry saying otherwise. In 2017, Rachel released a memoir about her racial identity entitled In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. She also changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo and relocated to Arizona.
What Does the Fox Say? - Ylvis
In 2013, the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis released the bizarre and catchy "What Does the Fox Say?" The hit brought instant worldwide fame to brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåke and earned over 1 billion YouTube views. But these two might've secretly had way more than 15 minutes of fame because the mischievous duo is rumored to be the famous EDM group Subwoolfer. With their identities hidden behind yellow wolf-head masks and yellow gloves, they represented Norway in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
But assuming they were responsible for "What Does the Fox Say?" and nothing else, we can confidently state that Vegard and Bård used their 15 minutes of fame to the max. They turned their song into a kid's book, released an album, and created a series of musical documentaries about their home country, Norway.
Kim Kardashian's Ex-Husband - Kris Humphries
Back in October 2010, NBA basketball player Kris Humphries started dating Kim Kardashian. They got engaged in May 2011 and married that August at a celebrity-filled ceremony. A TV special of the wedding aired on the E! network in early October 2011. Then, on Halloween night, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce. They had been married for just 72 days. Cynics suggested it was all a publicity stunt to promote the Kardashian family brand.
But real or fake, the end of the marriage signaled the end of Humphrie's fame. He continued to play NBA basketball until he retired for the second time in 2019. Nowadays, he mostly keeps his private life to himself. But not so long ago, Kim Kardashian admitted she still owes him an apology. So maybe we'll be seeing more of him - who knows?
Tan Mom - Patricia Krentcil
Patricia Krentcil, also known as Tan Mom, first made headlines in 2012 when New Jersey police arrested her for allegedly taking her daughter, Anna, to the tanning salon where Anna received first-degree burns. Patricia denied the allegations, and a tabloid whirlwind ensued. It seemed like every talk show host, news anchor, and blogger wanted a piece of the notorious Tan Mom. And all of the attention had some grave results.
Tan Mom developed a drinking problem and ultimately chose to escape the limelight by moving her family to Tampa, Florida. However, she still appears on shows sometimes (including the Howard Stern show) and has a social media presence where fans follow her life updates.
The Olympian Banned by the Figure Skating Association - Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding's 15 minutes of fame got a belated extension when Margot Robbie starred in a movie about the athlete in 2017. Before that, much of the world had forgotten about Tonya's talent and crime-filled story from back in the 90s. Need a refresher on what happened? The Olympic figure skater's then-husband orchestrated an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan, attempting to ruin Nancy's chances at competing in the 1994 Winter Olympics. But things didn't go Tonya's way.
Kerrigan's injury wasn't severe, and she ultimately won the silver medal - and Harding finished in eighth place. The following month, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution and accepted a plea bargain to avoid jail. The US Figure Skating Association banned her for life in June 1994. Since then, she's lived many lives. Tonya became a professional boxer in 2000 and has recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars and Worst Cooks in America.
It's Friday - Rebecca Black
Fourteen-year-old Californian Rebecca Black released “Friday” back in 2011. Her song and video went viral on YouTube, and both were ridiculed by music critics and viewers, who dubbed them “the worst song ever” and “the worst video ever made.” But you’ll need to watch it yourself to see why - and pay particular attention to her friend in the car with the braces. She looks like she doesn’t even want to be there!
Since her brief time as a viral icon, Rebecca released two EPs, RE / BL (2017) and Rebecca Black Was Here (2021). She still uploads videos on her YouTube channel and is still making music.
From "16 and Pregnant" to "Teen Mom" - Farrah Abraham
Farrah Abraham shot to fame in 2009 after being cast in the reality television show 16 and Pregnant and its spin-off series Teen Mom. Audiences fell in love with the young mom, but whatever happened to her? Well, in 2011, she attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and the following year she released her critically panned debut studio album, My Teenage Dream Ended. But that's far from all.
She might've disappeared from the mainstream Hollywood limelight, but she went on to make $1 million from selling a special tape and signed a $544,000 contract for a residency at Palazio's Gentleman's Club in Austin, Texas.
"Charlie Bit My Finger" - Charlie and Harry
"Charlie Bit My Finger" is one of the most famous YouTube videos ever. The 2007 clip garnered 886 million YouTube views and featured three-year-old Harry Davies-Carr and his one-year-old brother, Charlie. As you can probably guess, Harry sticks his finger in his brother's mouth, so Charlie bites his finger, leading Harry to utter the famous phrase. Nowadays, Charlie and Harry are sick of acting out the iconic video - but that doesn't mean it's not making them some money.
In May 2021, the brothers sold the video as an NFT, raking in $760,999 toward their university education.
Ice, Ice, Baby - Vanilla Ice
Before House of Pain and Eminem, white rappers were unheard of until this man came along. Vanilla Ice stormed to the top of the charts in 1990 with his hit "Ice, Ice, Baby." The song heavily sampled Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure," leading to copyright infringement and an out-of-court settlement. After his brief yet monumental dive into rap music, Robert Van Winkle dabbled in jetskiing, motocross, and music TV.
He still occasionally tours and even once did a Vanilla Ice on Ice Tour. Talk about a punny performance! We're sure the one-hit wonder icon did a great job.
Leave Britney Alone - Cara Cunningham
In 2007, Cara Cunningham (then known as Chris Crocker) posted a tearful video defending fellow southerner Britney Spears on Youtube. Her three-word mantra, “Leave Britney Alone!” stood up for Britney against the tabloid hate as she didn’t want her hero to take her own life as Anna Nicole Smith had recently done. Her video was viciously mocked and parodied, but Cara was way ahead of the game right about everything - including Britney being trapped in an abusive conservatorship.
Since her YouTube fame, Cara has entered the world of adult film. And even more recently, she proudly came out as transgender.
The Hills' Speidi - Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, aka Speidi, rocketed to fame on the MTV reality series, The Hills. The two were basically the show's villains, earning them an important place in reality television history. The drama-loving couple eventually married in April 2009. A year later, Heidi released her first and only studio album, the ironically named Superficial, which flopped big time. Soon, she was garnering widespread criticism for having ten cosmetic surgery procedures in one day.
After the heavy backlash over her appearance, the couple all but disappeared from the spotlight. Spencer went back to school and completed his undergraduate degree in political science, and they now have a son named Gunner, another child on the way, and their own podcast.
Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife, Hide Your Husband - Antoine Dodson
Not all heroes wear capes. Someone entered Antoine Dodson’s home in the Lincoln Park housing project in Huntsville, Alabama, and tried to attack his sister. Then, on local news cameras, Dodson warned in his own inimitable and flamboyant style: “Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband.” The news clips went viral, leading The Gregory Brothers to sample the words from his interviews in their “Bed Intruder Song.”
For a short while after 2010, Antoine was an internet sensation. He released two more songs and sold a load of merchandise but ultimately faded away. Nowadays, he works as the world's coolest substitute teacher. You see, he is a hero.
Octomom - Nadya Suleman
Nadya Suleman is a name you might not know, but we bet that as soon as you hear "Octomom," you know exactly who we're talking about. Back in 2009, she was the most famous mother in the world. After already having six children via IVF, Nadya hoped to have just one more baby. But her doctor encouraged her to implant her 12 remaining embryos, and voila! She named the six boys and two girls Noah, Maliyah, Nariyah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Josiah, and Makai.
With a staggering 14 mouths to feed, Nadya started making money as an adult dancer, adult film star, and even tried her hand at celebrity boxing.
BBC's Work From Home Incident - The Kelly Family
As an American political analyst, Robert Kelly was taken seriously as an expert on Korea. Well, that is until March 2017 when the unthinkable happened! While appearing on a BBC News interview from his home office, his two young children and wife gatecrashed the interview. First through the door was his four-year-old daughter, followed by his nine-month-old son in a stroller before his panicked wife, Jung-a Kim, grabbed the kids and got them out of there!
Robert later stated it felt like "for two weeks we were the most famous family on earth" and admitted he feared his family had ended his TV career. He has since appeared on TV without major incidents - probably because he put a lock on his office door!
Somebody I Used to Know - Gotye
Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wouter André "Wally" De Backer, aka Gotye, released "Somebody I Used to Know" featuring Kimbra back in 2011. By the following summer, the only way to escape the hit song and video was to build and hide in a nuclear bunker in your garden. Yes, really - that's how trendy it was. Unfortunately for him, the single was his only success, making Gotye the epitome of a One-Hit Wonder.
After releasing his third album, Making Mirrors, in 2011, Gotye took a hiatus from music but has since returned with several musical projects. He is currently planning a fourth studio album, so maybe he won't be a one-hit wonder after all.
The Royal Wedding's Most Famous Bridesmaid - Pippa Middleton
In 2011, Prince William married Kate Middleton. Unsurprisingly, the Royal Wedding was seen by hundreds of millions of TV viewers. Surprisingly, Kate's sister Pippa made all the headlines. Or should we say her booty did? While all eyes should have been on Kate, the focus shifted to Pippa's derrière as she carried her sister's wedding dress train. Pippa subsequently won many Rear of the Year awards - not the kind of attention a relative of the royal family usually wants.
Since then, the tabloids haven't been as interested in Pippa. In 2017, the English socialite married hedge fund manager and heir apparent to the Scottish lairdship of Glen Affric, James Matthews. Together, the couple has three children.
Tonya Harding's Biggest Rival - Nancy Kerrigan
Next, we travel back to January 1994, before the Internet was even a thing for most people. One evening after practice, American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. The assailant hit her with a police baton, intending to break her landing knee. Turns out her biggest rival's then-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had hired the attacker to thwart Nancy's 1994 Winter Olympic chances. Luckily, Kerrigan wasn't seriously injured and competed in the February event.
Wondering who that rival with the savage husband was? Tonya Harding, of course. And while Tonya has since had a movie made about her, the silver medalist has been mostly out of the spotlight.
Britney Spears' Ex-Husband - Kevin Federline
Britney Spears married dancer Kevin Federline back in 2004. Their marriage lasted just two years, but in that time, they welcomed two children, Jayden James, and Sean Preston, leading to an almighty child custody battle. After they split, K-Fed released a critically-panned debut album Playing with Fire, and then he faded into insignificance. It seemed that his fame was over as soon as Britney said, "I don't." So what's Kevin up to now?
Kevin is still taking shots at a music career and does "celebrity appearances" at clubs. In 2013, he married Victoria Prince, and they've since welcomed two daughters. He has six children in total, thanks to his relationships with Britney and Shar Jackson.
Salt Bae - Nusret Gökçe
Flamboyant Turkish chef, butcher, and restaurateur Nusret Gökçe, aka Salt Bae, went viral in 2017 for his flair of sprinkling salt from a great height. Others would argue that he actually became famous for preparing and seasoning meat. Regardless, he seemed to fade into oblivion soon after his photo became a viral meme. But not everything is as it seems - Salt Bae may not be "famous" anymore, but he has certainly established himself as a successful businessman.
By 2021, he owned many luxury steak houses in Turkey, Greece, the USA, the UK, UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, where they sell $1,000 gold-covered steaks! Gökçe is reputed to be worth $70 million, and it's no wonder.
The Yodeling Cowboy - Mason Ramsey
Remember Mason Ramsey? He was the kid who yodeled Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" in his local Walmart in Harrisburg, Illinois, dressed as a miniature cowboy. The ensuing video made him world-famous, and he was soon appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and signing a record deal with Big Record Labels, an offshoot of Atlantic Records. In 2018, the 12-year-old yodeling icon released his debut single, "Famous." By then, he'd already appeared onstage alongside the likes of Lil Nas X.
That's right - the kid got to sing with Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Young Thug. His viral time might be over, but it looks like this dude is looking to add to his 15 minutes of fame because he's still working on music.
Disaster Girl Meme - Zoe Roth
Everyone knows this meme. But did you know the little girl is called Disaster Girl? The infamous photo was taken in 2004 when Zoe Roth's dad snapped her as she watched firefighters near their North Carolina home. Her mischievous expression turned the picture into an instant classic meme. But before we find out what became of Zoe, we gotta know one thing: did she really burn down that house? Sadly, no, it was a controlled burn carried out by firefighters.
Thanks to her dad's photo, Zoe is now a university student. She sold the original copy of her meme as an NFT for 180 Ethereum. At the time, the cryptocurrency was worth $473,000.
Bad Luck Brian - Kyle Craven
With friends like Ian Davie, you don't need enemies. Ian uploaded his friend Kyle Craven's yearbook photo on Reddit in 2012. And pretty soon, the "Bad Luck Brian" meme was used worldwide to express unlucky events. Kyle says he purposefully tried to make himself look as dorky as possible by rubbing his face with his sweater and sporting the ugliest smile he could muster. We think this is what a real-life South Park would look like.
A decade later, Kyle's all grown up and looks much more approachable. He lives with his wife and dog and works as a manager at his father's commercial construction company in Ohio.
Think About It Meme - Kayode Ewumi
Half the world believes the guy in the "think about it" meme is a young Eddie Murphy, but he is, in fact, British-Nigerian actor, producer, and writer Kayode Ewumi. And knowingly tapping his temple isn't all he's famous for. The famous meme is from his BBC series of comedy shorts, #HoodDocumentary. The mockumentary began life as a Youtube video with a budget of £3.00 ($3.63). Kayode has also appeared in Action Team and Stath Lets Flats.
And if that wasn't enough, Kayode even wrote, produced, and starred in his own comedy-drama, Enterprise.
Side Eyeing Chloe - Chloe Clem
What do you mean you've never heard of Chloe Clem? How about if we used her Internet name, "Side Eyeing Chloe"? Now you know her, but how did her famous meme make waves? It comes from the 2013 YouTube video "Lily's Disneyland Surprise… AGAIN!" The video shows two sisters, Lily and Chloe Clem, on their way to school and reacting to their parents' news of a surprise non-existent trip to Disneyland. Note to parents––don't be so cruel!
Lily breaks into unbridled tears of joy, but canny Chloe just side-eyes the camera. Today, Lily can be found swapping the family cow for magic beans while Chloe runs her multi-billion-dollar company. Probably.
The Chewbacca Mask Lady - Candace Payne
Remember when Candace Payne went viral? You may know her batter as The Chewbacca Mask Lady if you don't recognize the name. The video of her laughing hysterically as she tried on a growling Chewie mask was seen by 100 million Star Wars fans and regular people within just two days! Going viral worked out well for Candace; she was gifted a trip to Disneyland and even college scholarship money.
Candace even met Peter Mayhew––the actor who played the original Chewbacca. But perhaps best of all, she even got her own action doll, complete with a detachable mask!
America's Got Talent Season Seven Winners - The Olate Dogs
Over the years, America’s Got Talent has seen some weird and wonderful acts, from Tape Face to Piff the Magic Dragon and Bobby Badfingers to The Professional Regurgitator. But none were as loved as Chilean-American father and son Richard and Nicholas Olate and their talented brood of dogs, one of which drove on stage in a tiny car. The human-canine team won season seven and collected the million-dollar first prize.
As for the past, Richard met his human cannonball wife, Rebecca Smith, at the circus while performing his dog act. As for the future, the Olate Brothers and their dogs have made loads of TV appearances and are still doing their thang.
Star Wars Kid - Ghyslain Raza
Ghyslain Raza is better known as Star Wars Kid. The video of an overweight 15-year-old kid pretending to be Darth Maul using a golf ball retriever as a lightsaber was hilarious. Until you find out that Ghyslain never intended for the video to be released; his classmates released the footage without his permission. Unfortunately, Raza was one of the first massive cases of cyberbullying, and his family sued his classmates, claiming mental distress.
But Star Wars Kid had the last laugh. He was immortalized by South Park, Family Guy, American Dad, Arrested Development, Weird Al Yankovic, and Kevin Smith's film Tusk. George Lucas' SFX company, Industrial Light and Magic, even released an enhanced version of his video.
Evolution of Dance - Judson Laipply
Judson Laipply released his first "Evolution of Dance" video in 2001. The video featured him dancing to popular songs of the 20th Century, from Elvis Presley to the Bee Gees and MC Hammer. The video racked up 70 million views in under eight months and remains one of Youtube's most viewed and top-rated videos. Judson became famous on both sides of the Atlantic and appeared in Weezer's song "Pork and Beans."
Since rocketing to fame, the Ohio native has released two more versions of "Evolution of Dance" and worked as a motivational speaker. He also received the ultimate accolade by becoming a Jeopardy question!
Former Model and Beatles' Ex-Wife - Heather Mills
Heather Mills is a former model who lost her left leg in a traffic accident in 1993. She is also the second wife of Beatle Paul McCartney. The couple married in 2002 and welcomed a daughter the following year. But when things went downhill, Heather blamed the decline of their relationship on Paul's fashion designer daughter Stella.
They eventually divorced in 2008, with Heather winning $20 million in alimony. Since their long divorce, she has continued advocating for less abled people, animal rights, and UK vegan companies.
The Internet's Favorite Lip-Synching Youtuber - Keenan Cahill
4' 2" Keenan Cahill is one of the Internet's most unlikely but most deserved celebrities. Born with Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome, he launched his first YouTube video in August 2010, lipsynching to Katy Perry's song "Teenage Dream." Since then, he has duetted with a whole host of stars, including Fiddy Cent, Flo Rida, Tinie Tempah, Maroon 5, Cody Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, The Wanted, LMFAO, Justin Bieber, Xuso Jones, and Gym Class Heroes.
By going viral, Keenan basically predicted Lip Sync Battle and half of TikTok's content! It's thought his videos have earned him half a million dollars. Good on ya, Keenan!
Jessica slept With Mr. Wilson - Ronnie Miller
Poor old Jessica minded her own business singing along to Flo Rida's "Low" when her mom bursts into her room, demanding to know if she slept with her teacher, Mr. Wilson. After a slanging match in which her mom calls her a slut, she throws her daughter out of the house. The clip went viral, but it was only a comedy skit. Jessica is, in fact, "Actress. Comedian. Improviser." Ronnie Miller.
Disappointingly, her "mom" wasn't even her real mom. A friend played her. Since Ronnie's video blew up, she gained thousands of Instagram and TikTok followers.
Chocolate Rain - Tay Zonday
Twenty-five-year-old Adam Nyerere Bahner, aka Tay Zonday, uploaded "Chocolate Rain" in July 2007. Soon, his race-related song took off, and now it's one of the most popular songs to ever appear on YouTube, with over 133 million views. Known for his dulcet bass tone, Tay went on to work as an actor, voice actor, and singer. Like Judson Laipply, he also appeared in Weezer's music video for "Pork and Beans."
Diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as a teen, Tay was later re-diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In 2021, he admitted he suffers from hyperacusis––an increased sensitivity to sound and a low tolerance for environmental noise.
Frostbit Boy - Ruairi McSorley
Northern Ireland was affected by a severe cold snap in 2015. A local news station put Ruairi McSorley in front of a camera. The 15-year-old schoolboy famously declared, “You wouldn’t be long getting frostbit” in the broadest rural Northern Irish accent ever. He didn’t know it, but his life was about to change forever as he would forever after be known as Frostbit Boy. But that wasn’t Ruairi’s only brush with local news cameras.
By 2021 he'd grown into a proper, bearded man. But he had to be rescued after getting into difficulty while swimming in the Irish Sea. He was found three miles from the shore, surrounded by a pod of dolphins. His 12-hour ordeal left him with hypothermia. Or, as they say in Country Kerry, frostbit.