I’m not sure I ever really want to have the experience of blowing up or going viral. I’m sure plenty of folks would be just fine getting their 15 seconds of fame, but I'm a hard pass. Further, could you imagine if fame was something acquired without having done anything on your part and just having been the star of a meme? At least if it happens when you’re a kid, you get to grow old and not really have anyone recognize you, but try telling that to Scumbag Steve or Blinking White Guy. It's a lot better to be the Success Kid or side-eye Chloe of the internets.
Well, one such child meme star just made some serious bank. Zoë Roth, aka Disaster Girl, sold the original picture of herself smiling in front of a burning house while firefighters try to put the blaze out as an NFT ( a non-fungible token). The image sold for 180 Ether, or the equivalent of $493,000 as of this writing, to music production company 3F Music in Dubai, the same owners, apparently, of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.
Zoë was photographed by her father, David Roth, in Mebane, North Carolina, back in 2005 while the local fire department set a controlled blaze in their neighborhood. Her father told her to smile for the camera in front of a burning home, and, voila, internet history was made, with the image getting edited with various captions or incorporated into some of the greatest human disasters ever recorded.
What’s striking about the sale, however, is the subject of one such meme taking control of its existence and monetizing it. Beeple this is not, just a person who found fame without having pulled any levers of their own, and getting a stake in its distribution and repurposing, certainly one of the more positive ramifications of everything NFT. Additionally, Zoë Roth will get a 10% profit from the sale of the NFT in the future.
And, hey, Roth even paid off some student loans and is giving some of the cash to charity. That’s an awful lot better than setting up a Cameo account and watching the ten-dollar checks roll in.
Anywho, enjoy a few more of these Disaster Girls.