ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

When it comes to memes and viral videos, very few success stories actually try to achieve Internet notoriety. More often, it just comes down to the right image or video, packaged the right way, freely posted at the will of the masses. Since most of these subjects don't ask for this kind of publicity, the results can often be devastating, leading to court battles that go nowhere or an impossible fight to get an something wiped from the internet.

However, the most interesting viral sensations are the ones that utilize their unexpected platform and capitalize on it. Here are 6 normal people who became household names without even trying.

1. Scumbag Steve

Actually goes by: Blake Boston

What he's up to now: Though the Scumbag Steve meme has become associated with the absolute dregs of society, the actual Scumbag Steve has turned his newfound notoriety into something of a career. As a rapper, Blake Boston uses the Scumbag Steve persona to help him book gigs and entertain the public. While most people would have shied away from that infamous hat, Blake has used it to build his brand and frequently takes pictures with people who are fans of the meme.

Fun fact: He supports Hillary Clinton for President.

2. Miss South Carolina Teen

Actually goes by: Caitlin Upton

What she's up to now: After a disastrous question and answer segment at the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant, Caitlin Upton became known for her nonsensical answer about maps and "the Iraq." She didn't let that keep her down though, and she went on to build a pretty lucrative modeling career, appearing in ads for Nautica and Wrangler. Caitlin later signed with Donald Trump's molding agency, appeared in Weezer's music video for 'Pork and Beans,' and participated in season 16 of The Amazing Race.

These days, she's reportedly a real estate agent in Brentwood, California.

Fun fact: She's sometimes gets billed as "Caite Upton" (presumably for the overlap with another famous model, Kate Upton).

3. Rebecca Black

Actually goes by: Rebecca Black

What she's up to now: Bravely facing all the backlash that her widely distributed video 'Friday' brought, the teenager—seriously, she was only 13 years old while full-grown adults had a laugh at her expense—released a single fittingly titled 'Saturday.' She's made a name for herself on her very own YouTube channel, where she answers fan questions and offers advice on subjects like bullying.

Best of all, she's got an incredible sense of humor about the whole "worldwide Internet sensation" thing.

Fun fact: When she isn't collaborating with the Ark Music Factory, her voice sounds really good.

4. "Leave Britney Alone" Guy

Actually goes by: Chris Crocker

What he's up to now: When Britney Spears was at her lowest point and the entire world seemed to be laughing at her, she had one devoted fan whose empathy showed no bounds. Though the feedback was not always kind, Chris Crocker blazed ahead and used his unexpected platform to aim for fame and success. He recorded an album, cameoed in major movies, filmed a documentary entitled Me at the Zoo, and currently blogs and records videos with musings about daily life.

Fun fact: He considers himself somewhere between genders and continually assesses his gender identity.

5. Bad Luck Brian

Actually goes by: Kyle Craven

What he's up to now: Apparently, Bad Luck Brian's signature photo was all intentional. Kyle Craven was a jokester in high school and made his yearbook photo look as laughably ridiculous as possible (so ridiculous that the principal made him retake it). Since then, he's been able to monetize the picture by signing merchandising and advertising deals with companies like Wal-Mart, Hot Topic, and Volkswagen.

Lately, he's developed a sporadic YouTube personality, but mostly he works at his dad's construction company and helps build churches.

Fun fact: He recently recorded a video with the next person on the list, Overly Attached Girlfriend!

6. Overly Attached Girlfriend

Actually goes by: Laina Morris (a.k.a. Laina Walker)

What she's up to now: When the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme first hit the Internet, it seemed like everyone has some kind of neurotically charged relationship tale to tell. Meanwhile, Laina Walker turned OAG into a full-blown character, complete with a YouTube channel, hilarious songs, and a huge fan base. Laina has also branched out beyond the OAG persona, effectively becoming a YouTube star with over 595,000 subscribers and over 76 million views on the video site. Pretty impressive for someone who you thought only thought about her boyfriend!

Fun fact: She beat Jessica Alba in a staring contest at the Singapore Social Awards.


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