4. Sheltering Suburban Mom
Carly Phillips is a stay at home mom and romance novelist whose titles include "Perfect Fling" and "Perfect Together." In 2011, her professional author photo was uploaded to Reddit, where it became the symbol of the "sheltering suburban mom" (sometimes just "suburban mom") meme. Examples of text used in the meme include "Lets kids watch PG-13 movies… when they're 17" and "Thinks video games will rot your brain… plays Farmville for six hours."
However, there was one person who didn't jump on the viral meme bandwagon — Phillips herself, who only found out about her online fame when a reader posted one of the pictures on her Facebook author fan page. Although she has taken the meme-ification in stride, she doesn't mention it in her official bio.
5. Double Rainbow Guy
Who hasn't been totally awed by the beauty of nature? A YouTube user with the name Hungrybear9562 posted a video of a double rainbow he saw in Yosemite Park in 2010, and got so emotional while filming it that he started crying.
The video sat, ignored, for months until someone on the staff of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel stumbled upon it. Kimmel tweeted the video to his nearly three million followers, and other celebrities began to retweet it. Soon, the video was a bona fide Internet hit.
Eventually, "Double Rainbow Guy" was identified as Paul Vasquez, a former trucker and firefighter who lived in the Yosemite area. Eventually, Vasquez landed a corporate sponsorship with Microsoft, who featured him (and his love of double rainbows) in a promotional video for their Windows Live Photo Gallery program.
In July 2013, a Tennessee man named Mark Brown started a YouTube channel using the handle Swampmusic12. Brown, a self-identified hillbilly with two pet raccoons, posted his very first video, which was of him dancing with his raccoon Rebekah.
Over the next year, the video slowly grew in popularity, with fans loving Brown's exuberance — and the Hannah Montana-brand raccoon repellent he sprayed on himself in the clip.
Brown quickly embraced his Internet celebrity and made several followup videos, including one where he took a shower with Rebekah. Soon after, he posted a vlog where he made a sad announcement — the videos had gotten the attention of Tennessee state officials, who seized Rebekah and said she wasn't allowed as a pet. Brown asked his fans to help lobby the state and get Rebekah back. So far, though, the two have not been reunited.
7. Lydia Callis
When New York City was preparing for Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on TV to give residents advice about how to prepare. Next to him was a woman named Lydia Callis, who interpreted Bloomberg's remarks into American Sign Language. Quickly, Tumblr blogs paid tribute to her facial expressions and signing skills. However, it wasn't just viewers at home who were fascinated by Callis — fellow sign language translators were thrilled to see their profession catapulted into the big time.
But that wasn't all for Callis — she was also parodied on Saturday Night Live, with comedian Cecily Strong playing Callis and Nasim Pedrad playing a fictional interpreter for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Callis herself kept a pretty low profile and turned down requests for interviews, claiming that her job was to interpret the news, not to make it. On Sunday, the New York Times reported she has used her fame to advocate for the deaf, and leads tours at the New York Public Library.
—By Lilit Marcus, TODAY.com/money.
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