Jeremy Meeks’ mugshot sparked a fashion career

Credit: Stockton, CA Police Department via Wikimedia Commons

After his arrest on weapons charges in 2014, Meeks’ mugshot went viral on social media, and the #feloncrushfriday hashtag was created in honour of the former Crip gang member. Upon his 2016 release, Meeks would find fame working for Tommy Hilfiger and appearing on the runway at Milan Fashion Week. He shares a son with Chloe Green, daughter of British business magnate, Sir Philip Green.

Bhad Bhabie’s viral catchphrase fame

Bhad Bhabie, real name Danielle Bregoli, became an overnight meme following her 2016 Dr Phil appearance. Arguing with an audience member, Bregoli spawned what would become her catchphrase when she said “cash me outside, how ’bout that?” In 2017, Bregoli debuted These Heaux, becoming the youngest female rapper on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2022, she reported she had made over $50 million from fan sites.

The Octomom who became a national villain

Credit: Natalie Suleman via Instagram

Octuplet birth is rare, and Natalie Suleman’s case was just the second in the US. Despite the medical achievement, media scrutiny turned her into a national villain. Suleman, who had six children through IVF by 21, faced backlash for public aid use. Criticism intensified with the octuplets, and in 2014, she was convicted of welfare fraud for not disclosing income while receiving assistance.

Guy Goma’s mistaken identity made him a national treasure

In a memorable BBC blunder in 2006, technology journalist Guy Kewney was meant to be interviewed about Apple’s legal dispute live on BBC News 24 but was mistaken for job applicant Guy Goma. TV and podcast appearances followed for Goma and it was revealed in 2023 he plans on suing the BBC for his share of the royalties from the viral video.

John Wayne Bobbitt’s fame came at a painful price

John Wayne Bobbitt came to fame in 1993 after his now ex-wife, Lorena Bobbitt, cut off a very important part his body and threw it into a roadside field after she claimed he had assaulted her. Neither of the pair were found guilty of either crime, and John Wayne Bobbitt went on to form his own band and star in multiple adult films. In 1994, he was arrested and convicted of battery against his then fiancé.

Kato Kaelin went from star witness to starring on TV

Struggling actor Kato Kaelin resided in O.J. Simpson’s guest house during the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. His unexpected role as a key witness propelled him to fame, leading to acting roles playing himself on shows like Mad TV and Mr. Show. Kaelin also ventured into reality TV and remains eager to leverage his notoriety through talk show appearances and entertainment gigs.

Philippe Petit, the highwire artist whose work won an Oscar

French high-wire artist Philippe Petit gained fame for daring walks between iconic structures, including Notre Dame Cathedral, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Charges for his feats were dropped in exchange for an aerial show in Central Park. The 2008 Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire by James Marsh captures his exploits, blending historical footage and re-enactments.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the world’s best known homeless man

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the influence behind the 2004 Hollywood movie The Terminal, resided in Charles de Gaulle Airport’s Terminal One for 18 years after he was expelled from his home country of Iran. Following hospitalization in 2006, his whereabouts remained a mystery after being taken care of by the French Red Cross. It is thought he returned to live in the airport until his death in 2022.

Kim Kardashian’s scandal made her a global icon

Credit: Cosmopolitan UK via Wikimedia Commons

Socialite and businesswoman Kim Kardashian’s claim to fame immediately ignited controversy. In 2003, an unauthorized sex tape with her ex-boyfriend Ray J leaked, thrusting her into the public eye. Instead of retreating, she embraced the spotlight, showing resilience. This pivotal moment set the stage for a media-savvy career that turned the scandal into a springboard for global celebrity status, social media dominance, and a diverse platform for entrepreneurship.

Priya Varrier and the wink that stopped India

Priya Varrier is an Indian actress who predominantly works in Malayalam and Telugu films. Her wink in the trailer for the film Oru Adaar Love went viral, making her the most searched-for personality on Google in India in 2018. Varrier has continued to star in movies and, thanks to a wink, has garnered over 8 million Instagram followers.