Top seven 15-minute-of-famers and where they are now

Originally published on Burnt Q Tumblr

By Samantha Reichstein  

Kenneth Bone.

Roll your eyes or laugh until they cry, but today this name produces more than 20,000,000 search results within a matter of seconds.

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If you’re living under a rock or ignore news outlets ( … or both) this name may sound foreign to you. A stranger to America before the second presidential debate, Bone’s name now accompanies thousands of memes, various Halloween costumes and even an SNL impersonation.

Bone is not the first and he won’t be the last. Before 2016 comes to an end, I bet another Kenneth Bone pops out of the blue and steals the heart of Americans once again. But before that happens, let’s pause and re-visit some of our favorites through the years: the nobodies-to-somebodies, also known as the 15-minute-of-famers.

1.  Alex from Target

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You remember the teen who blew up social media due to a creep-tastic photo, correct? Alex from Target, a.k.a. Alex Labeouf, set the bar high for any Target cashier once his photo went viral. With his own trending hashtag (#AlexFromTarget) and an Ellen Degeneres interview, the world quickly transformed into Alex’s oyster, with every girl praying their cashier resembled his exterior.

Today, a verification check accompanies Alex’s Twitter account with a following of more than 700,000. A self-proclaimed Vine star, it seems Alex traded his red shirt and khaki pants for a pursuit in comedy.

2. Antoine Dodson

Unsure where you know this name name? Let this video act as a refresher …

Dodson’s interview about a suspected rapist in Lincoln Park received nation-wide attention due to his rage and flamboyance. The viral video sparked an auto-tune creation that skyrocketed under the title “Bed Intruder.”

Today, the “hide-your-kids” sensation hopes to extend his 15 minutes of fame with a reality show documenting his wife and their child.

3. Left Shark

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While the Super Bowl 50 audience knew to root for either the Panthers or the Broncos, a star emerged from the stadium that stuck with viewers long after the game ended. His name? Left Shark.

One half of Katy Perry’s costumed-duo stole the show when forgetting the choreography to half-time song “Teenage Dream.” While it took some coaxing, Left Shark eventually emerged from the suit and revealed his identity to the masses as backup dancer Bryan Gaw.

A google search of his name today yields few results ranging from his Left Shark persona, but recent Instagram posts lead fans to believe Gaw’s life involves traveling the globe.

4. Chewbacca Mom

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A plastic mask, infectious laugh and a four-minute video stream brought Candace Payne, later dubbed “Chewbacca Mom,” into the American spotlight. Payne gained viral attention (more than 100 million views to be exact) through her Facebook Live video that showed off excitement from her recent Kohl’s purchase: a Chewbacca mask. Her successful broadcast allowed the dream of any Star Wars fanatic to become a reality: a private tour of LucasFilm Studios and quality time with J. J. Abrams himself on “The Late Late Show” hosted by James Corden.

Receiving full-ride scholarships for her and her family, media attention from various interviews and her own action figure from Hasbro, Chewbacca Mom‘s spotlight may be dimming but her success will never be forgotten. A recent update about Payne reports her decision to get a tattoo of the beloved Wookie that sparked her Internet fame.

5. Rebecca Black

Just when one thought the phrase T.G.I.F. fully encompassed the excitement of a work week ending, one girl’s YouTube song enhanced the phenomena of Fridays for everyone.

Rebecca Black became a household name days after uploading a professionally-made music video to her personal YouTube account. Before the world of Snapchat, Vine and Instagram success, Black’s 15 minutes of fame fell into a category all of its own, receiving mass-media attention from critics, many of whom hated the words that stuck in their heads.

Black’s 15 minutes of fame earned her an appearance in Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” music video as well as the number 1 spot on YouTube’s 2011 video list. Now 19, Black is back on the music scene with a new video she hopes attracts and older audience. However, Black said she is thankful for her “Friday” fame, both the good and the bad that came with it.

“It’s so exciting for me to see people use that as a platform to showcase themselves, because that’s exactly what I did,” said Black. “I was 16 in high school, and there was nothing different about me other than the fact that this video happened.”

6. Mugshot Hottie

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The Stockholm police received more feedback than anticipated after posting Jeremy Meeks’ mugshot to their Facebook page  following his weaponry arrest.

It wasn’t Meeks’ alleged criminal activity that ignited more than 12,000 shares and 26,000 comments, it was his baby blue eyes and “criminally good looks.” Before serving his jail sentence, the 32-year-old signed a contact with White Cross Talent Agency.

Now a free man, Meeks looks to be enjoying his post-sentence life by sharing various model poses with the public. A possible contender for a season of America’s Next Top Model: The Ex-Convict Edition? We shall see.

7. Pizza Rat

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Last September, video footage of a determined New York City rat scampered into our hearts and stayed their for quite some time. Shuffling down the subway stairs, Pizza Rat earned the nickname through its persistent (yet overall, unsuccessful) trek involving a slice of cheesy goodness to nibble on throughout the day. While the clip only documents 14 seconds, Pizza Rat morphed into the biggest rat celebrity since Ratatouille, complete with various Halloween costumes and its own trending topic on Facebook.

So where is our furry friend today? Some say Pizza Rat still scours the underground city hoping for a second video to emerge. Others say Pizza Rat decided a life in hiding seemed best, since the media caused major stress. For those somewhat less optimistic, Pizza Rat is most likely looking down on us from heaven, enjoying a box full of of melted goodness without any paparazzi interruption.

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