You know them for providing perfect reactions to universal situations, and a reliable laugh even in dull times. But you may forget that behind these classic memes are real-life people, living ordinary lives in spite of a sliver of intense viral fame. So who are the people behind the memes - and what are they doing now?
We've tracked down twenty-one of the best to answers to these questions - keep scrolling to learn the stories behind the most recognizable faces on the internet, including "Overly Attached Girlfriend," who recently made us laugh with her hilarious new TikTok post...
Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, you'll want to see this.
21. Success Kid.
via: TwitterThis iconic face has been around since 2007, and is the perfect way to celebrate even life's little victories.
The original image was uploaded to Flickr in 2007.
via: FacebookThe kid's name is Sam Griner, and his mom recreated the image in 2017 when he turned eleven years old.
Griner is now thirteen.
via: FacebookHis mom claims she originally disliked the meme, as it made her son look like a bully, but has now embraced it - although Sam still gets embarrassed from time to time.
20. Disaster Girl.
via: Know Your MemeThis meme first surfaced in 2004, and was the perfect visual aid for those who just want to watch the world burn.
The "girl" in question is Zoe Roth.
via: InstagramThe picture was taken by her father during a fire drill in their hometown of Mebane, North Carolina.
"I’d love for the meme to help me get into or pay for college somehow."
via: Instagram"But I ultimately want people to know me for me," Zoe explains.
19. Side-Eyeing Chloe.In a now-viral 2013 video, one small child had a rather hilariously skeptical response to the announcement she was going on vacation to Disneyland.
The meme was a perfect response when someone needed to get taken down a peg or two.
via: InstagramChloe and sister Lily have continued growing up online, with a joint Insta-account run by their parents.
18. Good Luck Charlie.This excellent "IDK" response came from the Disney Channel show, Good Luck Charlie, which aired between 2010 and 2014.
The adorable toddler was played by actress Mia Talerico.
via: InstagramShe's now eleven years old - and still highly proficient at shrugging.
via: Know Your MemeThe fabulous dog photo became the backdrop to a million canine reactions since it surfaced in 2010.
Doge has a real name, though.
via: InstagramRescued Shiba Inu dog Kabosu belongs to a Japanese kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato, who still documents his life online.
And although no image has surfaced that'#s as iconic as the original doge...
via: InstagramThe account is still well worth a follow if you're into cute pets.
via: Know Your MemeNephew of Vine star Nick Mastodon, Gavin, rose to fame on the now-defunct video app in 2013.
His facial expressions were ideal to capture doubt and discomfort.
via: VineAfter his Vine appearances, a YouTube video was launched of a compilation of Gavin appearances.
15. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy.
via: Know Your MemeIn 2012, a photographer captured this moment during the Cooper River Bridge Run, and the internet noticed something unusual.
One man in the image looked pretty amazing - particularly considering he was supposedly caught off-guard.
via: Know Your MemeThe man in question was Zeddie Little, and he quickly became a famous face in the meme world.
"I kinda feel honored to be part of a joke that's in good spirit because sometimes the Internet can be a little vicious or jokes can get bent the wrong way."
via: Twitter"But these are all kinda, for the most part, positive. It's funny that everybody is kinda taking a like to it. It's, I guess, the most flattering way to get spread across the Internet," he's said.
14. Trying To Hold A Fart Next To A Cute Girl In Class.
via: RedditThis image went viral in 2014 when Redditor aaduk_ala uploaded it to the site with the now infamous caption.
The Redditor in question is Michael McGee.
via: TwitterHe claims, "my take on being ‘internet famous’ is cool and all."
13. Grumpy Cat.
via: RedditThis snowshoe cat (real name Tardar Sauce) rose to fame in 2012 on Reddit, thanks to her signature irritated expression.
Grumpy Cat may have been the first animal Instagram sensation.
via: InstagramIf you ever needed a reaction that signified deep annoyance, Grumpy Cat had your back. Sadly though, she passed away in 2019.
12. Bad Luck Brian.
via: ImgurThis infamous pic surfaced on Reddit in 2012 and became the backdrop to all manner of unfortunate situations.
The man in the picture is actually called Kyle Craven.
via: Know Your MemeThe original image (an outtake from a yearbook shoot) was uploaded online by a pal of Craven's. He estimates he's made over ten thousand dollars off of Bad Luck Brian merch - so perhaps he's not so unlucky, after all!
via: Bored PandaThis image emerged online in 2012, and was the perfect reaction to any intensely overexciting situation.
The picture actually starred Maggie Goldenberger.
via: FacebookShe says she took the image back in fourth grade during an intense game of dress-up.
10. First World Problems.
via: Know Your MemeThe stock image of an unrealistically crying woman quickly gained traction once it was superimposed with some of the biggest non-problems out there.
We've all been guilty of it.
via: Know Your MemeBut it became the perfect way to poke fun at privilege wherever it cropped up. Strangely enough, the star of the meme is actually a popular Italian actress who still lives her best life.
9. Scumbag Steve.
via: TwitterThis image of the quintessential douchebag came to fame on Reddit in 2011, and became the meme to back up any scumbag move.
The man behind the meme is Blake Boston.
via: TwitterThe dodgy outfit was captured by his mother, although Boston claims to have no regrets about his internet fame.
8. Blinking White Guy.The reaction shot became an incredible response to any "shocking" moment since it was first recorded in 2013.
The man behind the meme was Drew Scanlon.
via: TwitterThe game designer was shocked when such a tiny reaction became such a huge internet hit - but such is the nature of memes! He's using his meme notoriety to raise money by biking for MS - truly, an internet success story.
7. Hipster Barista.
via: Know Your MemeThis image of the classic intimidating coffee shop worker went viral in 2011, at the height of the hipster coffee phenomenon.
The man behind the picture is Dustin Mattson.interview, he claimed, "I do find it discouraging and disappointing that there was so much exposure brought to an attempt at making a joke of a culinary industry and the professional barista."
6. Sudden Clarity Clarence.
via: Know Your MemeThe image first surfaced on Reddit in 2011, and became the perfect reaction to any moment of horrific realization.
In 2012, the face behind the infamous image came forward.
via: Know Your MemeHe posted the above image on Reddit, with the caption, "A true moment of clarity."
5. Confused Math Lady.
via: YouTubeIn 2016, a clip from Braziliantelenovela, Senhora do Destino became the perfect reaction image to depict total confusion.
Strangely enough, the confused math lady is actually a popular Brazilian actress.
via: 9gagThe meme rose to fame particularly on 9gag, where it was imposed over all manner of puzzling situations. Renata Sorrah continues to star in lots of Brazilian TV.
4. Roll Safe.This classic reaction shot rose to fame on Twitter in 2016.
It featured actor Kayode Ewumi portraying the character Reece Simpson (a.k.a. "Roll Safe") in the web series Hood Documentary.
via: TwitterAnd it quickly became to go-to response to anyone having an essentially kind of terrible idea. Kayode Ewumi continues to work as an actor from time to time.
3. Hide The Pain Harold.
via: Know Your MemeThis incredible stock photo model rose to fame on Facebook for his unique facial expressions.
In 2014, the model in question identified himself on Reddit.
via: RedditThe stock photo model was discovered to be a Hungarian man named András Arató. That facial expression was undeniable and he's even at Ted Talk about it!
2. Squinting Woman.
via: TwitterThis image was first posted to Twitter in 2018. It was posted by an Instagram star laughing at her own exhaustion after posing for a shot.
Here's the actual photo.
via: TwitterThe image quickly became shorthand for overexertion, with captions like, "Me looking at the menu knowing I'm gonna get the same damn thing I always get." She is now an Instagram influencer, living her best life on social media.
1. Overly Attached Girlfriend.
via: YouTubeBack in 2012, YouTuber Laina Morris created a parody of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," and struck fear into the hearts of men everywhere.
The image quickly went viral.
via: InstagramBut Morris claimed overnight fame wasn't easy to deal with, citing online harassment as a pernicious issue.