[imagesource: Twitter / @Jerseystar973]
Viral fame at a young age doesn’t always end well.
They’re far from the only two who feature on lists of viral fame gone wrong but sometimes things turn out more than alright.
Consider the case of Dieunerst Collin, who shot to internet infamy after a short clip in 2013 found its way online.
He soon became known as the ‘Side-Eye Popeye’s Kid’ and lives on to this day in various meme and GIF formats.
I’m sure you recognise him from a snarky social media reply:
So what kind of success are we talking about almost nine years later? Over to The Root:
…the former internet sensation became a New Jersey state champion football player on Sunday after his East Orange High School team capped off its undefeated season with a triple-overtime win.
For Collin, Sunday’s victory served as an opportunity to not only prove himself on the football field, but emerge from the daunting shadow of his internet superstardom. Especially since it was something he never pursued in the first place.
Side by side the two pictures below show that personal growth:
— 😈😈😈😈 (@Jerseystar973) December 6, 2021
It hasn’t always been an easy ride:
“When it first happened, I kind of felt sad about it. It was somebody randomly recording me, and I’ve never been viral before. When it first came out, I would take it as bullying, every time I used to hear ‘Oh, Terio, Terio,’ and that’s not my name. […] A couple weeks later, I figured out it was me based on the video. I got kind of emotional, cried a little bit.”
Over time, the six-foot-one, 315-pound senior offensive lineman learned to use the situation as a catalyst for personal growth—even if that included having to avoid being recorded by strangers after being recognized in public.
Tough to shy away when you’re over six feet tall and tipping the scales at 142 kilograms.
He’s now affectionately known as ‘The Killer Whale’ by his teammates and has been named first-team All-Conference for his on-field exploits.
— Dieunerst Collin (@CollinDieunerst) December 6, 2021
As for what comes next, Collin plans to attend college, work in sports media, and serve as an inspiration to others who have suffered from bullying and similar unwanted online attention.
Onwards and upwards.
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