Dieunerst Collin, who became internet famous as a child for video of him at fast-food chain, signs advertising deal with company.
A decade has passed, but at last the star of the internet meme showing a boy glancing sideways in confusion with a cup in his hand while standing in line at a Popeyes is capitalizing on his viral fame.
Dieunerst Collin, an 18-year-old player for the football team at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, can finally cash in on his online fame thanks to a change in policy from an organization which governs collegiate sports in the US that in 2021 enabled student athletes to earn money from sponsorship opportunities.
“The moment that made us a meme – we didn’t ask for it,” Collin said in a social media video that Popeyes posted last week announcing that the fast-food chain had signed him to a deal that would feature him on billboards and other advertisements. “But don’t worry little man, we didn’t let it stop us.”
Collin became internet famous when he was nine and went to Popeyes to pick up a family pack of chicken, biscuits and fries in Irvington, New Jersey. A stranger who believed Collin resembled a boy who was known on social media at the time for his dance moves pulled out his phone and started recording him while he stood in line holding a cup of lemonade.
Baffled as to why the stranger was recording him, Collin shot over a sideways look. The stranger then published the clip-on Vine, the defunct video-sharing application. It went viral and has been used countless times on social media, typically paired with captions declaring discomfort or obfuscation.
Collin’s family initially resented the viral image. They tried to get it scrubbed from the internet, and he was annoyed people would call him by the name of the dancing boy whom the stranger thought Collin looked like.
“I just never thought it would get that big,” Collin said, according to a CNN report published on Friday.