Fame is contagious. Fame is sometimes accidental too; arising out of strange events/occurrences that catapult “normal people” to that “fame” pedestal! These 15 people went viral, unbeknownst to them.  

1. The Mysterious Lady In Red at the London Olympics

She kicked up quite a storm when she mysteriously appeared in ‘red and blue’ at the London Olympics, beside Sushil Kumar (flag bearer for the event). Indian officials and media collectively fumed at the fact that she insulted India on a global forum by “gate-crashing” it; while later it was confirmed that her name is Madhura K. Nagendra and she was part of the dance cast for the opening ceremony. 

Nevertheless, she became the butt of all internet jokes.


2. The Success Kid

You might remember this kid from seeing all the ‘success’ related memes on the Internet. Well, here comes Sammy Griner, a boy whose mother took this picture of his when he was just 11 months old, in 2007 and posted it on Flickr. Nothing happened for two years, until one day the photo went ‘crazy viral’. The “I hate sandcastles” picture became a stock photo and had big brands like Virgin Mobile, vying for it. 


3. The Sports Prankster

Meet Karl Power. He’s the envy of every sports ‘streaker’, albeit he has taken streaking to an altogether new level. Appeared in a photograph with Manchester United, before their Champions League game against Bayern Munich, in 2001. 

When England played Australia in a cricket match in 2001, Power walked onto bat with the team! He later removed his helmet and only then was he recognized. 

He even beat Michael Schumacher to the podium at the 2002 British Grand Prix


And played a game of tennis at Wimbledon’s Centre Court before Tim Henman’s match.

Church Door And Back

4. The Newspaper Lady who became a TV/film sensation

The lady in this newspaper article became viral and her picture went on to feature in numerous films and commercials.


No Country for Old Men





Desperate Housewives


5. The Man with the Golden Arm

James Harrison has donated blood more than 1000 times, which is a world record. His act has saved 2.2 million babies, including his own grandson, from the deadly Rhesus disease. The uniqueness of his blood has also helped in creating the Anti-D vaccine. 


6. Playboy’s naked model’s image used to test algorithms in digital image processing!

Lena Soderberg’s 1972 Playboy photo became one of the most widely used standard test images for compression algorithms. This image had the right balance of colour, detail, focus, shading and reflections, which made it the perfect fit for algorithms. 


7. The “Immortal” woman

Henrietta Lacks died at the age of 31 after she developed cervical cancer. While she was alive, cells from her cervix (both healthy and cancerous) were given to researcher George Otto Gey at John Hopkins University (where she was undergoing treatment), without her knowledge. George found that her cells behaved differently from any other cells he’d ever seen. From her healthy cells, he could create the first “immortal” human cells named HeLa (after her name). They were termed immortal because they lived longer than normal cells. 

Fox News

8. Scumbag Steve

This image is another popular meme face and it belongs to Blake Boston aka Weezy B. This picture was posted on Reddit and received 8,607 upvotes, prior to being archived. Blake revealed that this picture, that later became famous, was clicked by his mother. 

Atres Media

9. The Overly Attached Girlfriend

Laina Walker was given the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” meme-face, which she carried with grace and elan. 


10. The Mars Mohawk Guy

Bobak Ferdowsi became quite a sensation during the August 6, 2012 landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars; as he wore an unusual mohawk style, seen on NASA TV’s live broadcast of the event. The stylish Flight Director’s hairstyle was also acknowledged by President Obama. 


11. The woman who started the Civil Rights Movement in America

Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, on the afternoon of December 1, 1955. The seemingly insignificant decision of hers sparked the Civil Rights Movement in America. 


12. The man who was too handsome for Saudi Arabia

In 2013, Omar Borkan Al Gala, an actor/photographer/poet from Dubai, along with two other men were thrown out of Riyadh’s annual Janadriyah Festival by Religious Police for being ‘ridiculously handsome’. It was later found out that that wasn’t the reason why Al Gala was chucked out. He was booked for dancing inappropriately at a wedding. 


Nevertheless, the incident catapulted him to fame and Al Gala still basks in the glory of being famous. 


13. The Chinese Tank Man

This unknown protester openly defied the Chinese Military by standing in front of the Chinese tanks, as they tried to progress as part of the government’s crackdown on the Tianamen Square protests on 5th June, 1989. The picture below is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. 


14. The girl with the kickass resume for AirBnb

Nina Mufleh sent a resume to AirBnb that went so viral, it received numerous retweets!


15. The ‘Cricket’ Woman

Ashley Kerekes, an American woman, became a Twitter sensation for her handle name: “The Ashes”, which is the famous cricket series between England and Australia. She got a lot of followers overnight and was bombarded by tweets and cricket-related messages, to the extent that she started following the sport!

The Sydney Morning Herald

And last, but not least….. an honorary shout-out to Mr KRK, the man who became an overnight Twitter sensation, despite just starring in just 2 films.