in

This Is What 15 Of Your Favorite Memes Look Like Now

Back when everything was less awful, the internet seemed a land of limitless potential – if we could connect people from around the globe, we could solve to world’s problems! There was optimism in the air, and way fewer dumpster fires than we’ve got burning now.

And what did we do with that golden age of online culture? We made memes, of course! We do it now, too, but I think it’s mostly to keep our eyes and brains of the imminent meltdown of the global world order…or maybe that’s just me?

Regardless, nowadays, any little snippet from Tumblr or whatever can be a meme, but in the good old days, a lot of memes were people (or penguins, or tigers, or bears…). And all those meme people we grew to love and cherish, well, they grew right on up, too:

15. Disaster Girl:

Photo Credit: Instagram, zoeroth

Zoe Roth‘s photo was actually first published in print in 2008, so you could say she was a proto-meme. But don’t, you sound like an ass.

14. Awkward Blinking White Guy:

Photo Credit: Facebook, Drew Scanlon

Drew Scanlon is the rare meme who actually intended to put his face all over the internet – as a video producer at gaming website Giant Bomb, he put up dozens of hours of footage of himself on the web.

13. Bad Luck Brian:

Photo Credit: Youtube, Kent State University Alumni Association

Kyle Craven has been embodying young adult misfortune since 2012 – but the photo was always meant as a joke. He took it in high school on school picture day, but his principal, who knew he was the class clown, made him retake his portrait. The photo only exists because he and his friend scanned the original before it got thrown away.

12. First World Problem Woman:

Photo Credit: Instagram, silviabottini_

Silvia Bottini is an Italian actress and sometime stock photo model – in fact, according to her Imdb, she is “the most sold Italian [stock photo] model in the world, with 25,000 images downloaded.”

11. Ermahgerd:

Photo Credit: Facebook, Maggie Goldenberger

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Maggie said what all memes must feel: “I just can’t believe this is my 15 minutes of fame—I was hoping it would come in another form. But I guess you have to take what you can get.”

10. Side Eye Chloe:

Photo Credit: Instagram, lilyandchloeofficial

Chloe‘s meme, which blew up in 2013, was used on a Google advertising campaign in 2017 – so she’s making that monaaaay.

9. Overly Attached Girlfriend:

Photo Credit: Instagram, laina

Laina translated her memehood into financial success – she now has a comedy youtube channel with over 1 million subscribers.

8. Success Kid:

Photo Credit: Facebook, Sam Griner, Success Kid

Sammy Griner used his fame to successfully raise >$100,000 for his dad who needed a kidney transplant.