Meet The People Behind These Viral Memes

Behind some of your favorite memes are real people.

Hear from these people of how their memes came to be and what it really feels like to go viral on social media.

Related: Querubin Llavore Really Went From Viral Sensation To International Meme Queen

No matter what corner of the internet you go, you will always find someone who uses memes. Using memes is a staple of today’s culture of connectivity. All it takes is some creativity and proper usage to turn anything into the next viral meme. But while we often see it on our social media feeds, have you ever wondered who the actual people behind the memes you use are? What does it feel like when you become a viral meme and your face or voice be seen all over social media?

To answer that question, NYLON Manila reached out to three individuals, all of whom went viral on social media and later became a meme, to ask them about their experience with online fame. They gave us the inside scoop on how these internet famous moments came to be and how they really feel about their meme.   

PSYCHO INTRO GONE WRONG

If you’ve spent a good amount of time on K-pop TikTok, chances are you’ve heard this sound before. A woman tried to do the intro to Psycho by Red Velvet, but botches it. A commenter then asks her to make it her own sound. And soon enough, the clip goes viral, being used over 431,000 times to date as it sound tracked viral videos of comical accidents in the world of K-pop and beyond. Did you know though that the woman behind the sound is a Filipino? Meet Louise Arielle Elep, a 28-year-old from Baguio City.

@boopology Reply to @gorouschompers OHMAIGAD #psycho #redvelvet #kpop #fyp #foryou ♬ the psycho intro gone wrong ㅠㅠ – Arielle • Shadowbanned I think

“There was this challenge on TikTok back then where you have to blindly sing the intro of the song PSYCHO by Red Velvet and try to be in sync with it without the instrumental playing. You then add the sound and see if you were in sync after recording. I wanted to try it because I honestly thought it was a fun challenge but I didn’t expect my voice to crack…and when it did, I just I laughed it off.”

She initially hesitated to post the video, but she felt it was funny enough to do so. “When I came in the app after a few hours, it has gotten around 3k likes and a lot of comments. The next day, a K-pop fan made a video out of the sound. And then it just took off from there.” It didn’t take long for the sound to make its way through TikTok, and eventually to other platforms. “I realized it went fully viral when the sound is not just on TikTok, it’s on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and people started making videos of how they can’t hear the song anymore without expecting my voice. Then it wasn’t just on KPOP anymore, it was showing every fandom, every funny thing they could find. I even found the sound in Risa Hontiveros’ Facebook account.”

So, how then does it feel to have your voice be all over K-pop TikTok? For Arielle, it makes her feel weird. “Sometimes I would scroll out of boredom in my FYP and the sound just pops up. It feels a bit of an out-of-body experience at most.” Even her family know she is a viral meme, a development they aren’t exactly embracing with the most open of arms. “My dad and my cousins are the ones who sent me videos from Instagram and Facebook, that’s how I found out it was viral outside of TikTok. We’re all annoyed by the sound by now, to be honest with you,” she laughs.

Still, Arielle unknowingly made an iconic meme for K-pop with the sound’s natural humor taking it far. It’s this unplanned yet relatable feeling to the sound is what helped it become the meme that it is today. “It was just funny, I guess. One of my humor avenues is people singing and cracking their voices so I get why people shared it and used it. It’s embarrassing but it’s funny. Also, it’s K-pop’s fault,” she says in jest. “If it weren’t for them, specifically my fandom EXO-L, who made the first videos that earned millions of likes, it wouldn’t have gone much viral.”

FAN NA FAN MO AKO

What do you do when you have the chance to meet your ultimate idol? Understandably, some may jump with glee and go through a roller coaster of emotions. This burst of emotion was what Aldene Mae Alipoyo from Cebu City went through when she met Daniel Padilla. Little did she know it would be the birth of the OJ DJ fangirl. Back in 2013, KathNiel were shooting at Plaza Independencia near Fort San Pedro for their movie, Must Be Love. When Aldene heard this, she made sure to visit, despite her parents initially not wanting her to do so.

@queendalljenner OG FANGIRL OF DANIEL “DEEEEEJAYYY” PADILLA HAHAHAHAHHA TABANGGGG. Grabeee 9 yrs ago na pala until now viral parin ?. #viralvideo #fyp #viraltiktok #danielpadilla #fangirl ♬ Hindi to plastik plastik hindi to gaya gaya – haha

“When they left the shooting place and proceed to the next location, that’s when our co-fangirl took a video of us bursting out crying, yelling, screaming at the top of our lungs, especially me,” she shares. “We felt mixed emotions that time, because finally we were able to see Daniel Padilla in person and I was able to hold his hand. I felt sad and disappointed also because I didn’t have a chance to take a picture with him. But I’m still thankful and lucky kasi limited lang pwede makapasok sa shooting place and we were able to get in.”

Her reaction was very much what many fangirls go through meeting her idols. Her over-the-top reaction quickly went viral and to this day is still being used as a meme and a visualization of someone meeting their idol. While her reaction quickly became a classic, it wasn’t without its backlash. “The first time I saw it on Facebook that was still the same year, I’ve read a lot of different comments, someone commented that they were entertained because I was being funny daw. Someone also commented na naaliw sila because they knew how it feels to be a fangirl. But of course, there are also lots of hate comments and bashing kasi I was overreacting and it looks like na sinasamba ko na si Daniel Padilla and they told me I was crazy for being so obsessed with him.”

While the hate comments did get to Aldene initially, the now 24-year-old doesn’t consider becoming a meme a bad thing. “To be honest, I’m not offended at all, or like mad at those people who made a meme of me crying and shouting. I don’t mind people mocking and making fun of that video as long as they know their limitations when giving a comment or opinion at basta ‘di lang madamay ‘yung family and work ko.”

Even though the video was posted all the way back in 2013, the clip still goes viral every now and then. It’s everlasting virality has meant Aldene has actually been recognized in public because of it. “When I was in college, I thought that people may not be able to recognize me or baka makalimutan na nila ‘yung video. But I was wrong, because may isang blockmate ako nun na parang familiar daw ako sa kanya. Nakilala na ako sa school namin at pati na rin sa working place ko ngayon.”

Believe it or not, she can’t really pinpoint why exactly her reaction went as viral because as she sees it, it was just a fangirl moment. “I just expressed my feelings, ‘yung mixed emotions na naramdaman ko that time. Totoo talaga lahat ‘yun. Only fangirls can relate.” At the end of the day though, she feels a meme should be used for good. “I believe a meme could also help make a person happy whenever she/he’s not in good mood or in a middle of crisis or fighting a silent battle. It will lighten up their feelings and divert their attention from problems.”

Whether or not DJ himself has seen the clip, Aldene isn’t sure. But if she did get the opportunity to meet him again, she definitely won’t act like she did in 2013. “To be honest, I would like to have a conversation with him. I wanna know more about him. I will be the representative of all fangirls of him. I’ll let him know how happy I am to be one of his supporters and will always be. I will still cheer and watch him from far. I’m manifesting that I will meet him again very soon.”

OPTIMUM PRIDE

When driving on the road, you never know what you’re going to see. Out on the open road, especially on a highway, something may just catch your eye. Jonji Tayco, a 24-year-old from Subic Bay, had that experience when he was on the road and saw none other than Optimus Prime. It was a golden moment that soon turned into a viral meme from 2021. The story behind the clip started when he and his (now ex) girlfriend were on their way back home from a beach trip with Batangas. “I was tired na, so I asked my ex if she could drive the rest of the way since it was all highway naman.”

@mychaoticfishing

Optimum Pride!!

♬ original sound – My Chaotic Fishing

The problem though was that his ex could get easily stressed while on the road. So, when they were driving on SLEX and it began to rain really hard, he knew he had to do something to keep her from freaking out. His talent for doing impressions came in handy. “I decided to take a whole bunch of Instagram stories making funny noises and doing impersonations to keep her laughing.” That was when the moment happened. “OPTIMUS FUCKING PRIME POPS UP OUT OF NOWHERE. So, I was like, OMG this is perfect. I pretended to be a super Transformers fanboy inspired by the ‘IS THAT A SUPRA’ meme.”

He initially posted the clip on his IG stories and at first, it didn’t get that much attention. Things shifted though after a few months. “Someone posted the same Optimus Prime truck on Interesting Car Spotting on FB. I didn’t have a photo of it, but I just had that Optimum Pride video. So, I decided to post it on the comments just to show that I’ve seen that truck in the same general area as well.” Soon, a new meme was born. “I got 500 likes in an hour. After a few days, I was still racking up likes from Interesting Car Spotting. But then I started getting tagged on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, everywhere, you name it. Next thing I know, PewDiePie and JackSepticEye reacted to my vid na.”

At first, he appreciated the attention. “When I first made the post on Instagram, I really didn’t think it was funny. It was just to keep my ex gf from freaking out on the road. Really wasn’t expecting it to blow up. At first it was great, I really felt like a celebrity. My friends were very proud as well. They never failed to mention that I was actually Optimum Pride every time we went somewhere. Had a few free drinks, my phone was blowing up with tags and comments and DMs.” Even his family knew of the meme, though they didn’t find it that funny.

The fame soon died down though and the unwanted attention proved to be an annoyance. “I really only enjoyed the fame for a few days. After that, I was sick and tired of it. I wish I never made the vid. People I didn’t even know would scour through my TikTok trying to find out my GF’s handle. It came to a point where I couldn’t tag my female friends when I posted them because they would get messages from random people asking if they were my GF.” Looking back, he feels that the video went as viral as it did because of its lowbrow but fun humor. “I think it became super viral because Filipinos have a very babaw na kaligayahan. The general public has a very shallow sense of humor. Filipinos are slapstick, so that type of shit makes them laugh talaga.”

He adds “My ex also has a super nice side profile and her reaction was really funny, too. She was trying not to laugh so hard and people in the comments found that super funny. It was super lighthearted and cute, IMO. What made my specific video viral is my impersonation and the fact that it was actually Optimus Pride dude on SLEX WTF??? Like that in itself is viral na. And the fact that I was so excited in the vid, but called him ‘Optimum Pride’”.

Continue Reading: Hey, No Joke, These Memes Just Became A Reality