The Internet can be a cruel place. For some lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) people, they went from normal browsers like everyone else to online celebrities—memes, to be exact.
Ever heard of Scumbag Steve? His real name is Blake Boston. Overly Attached Girlfriend is actually Laina Morris, now the star of her own hilarious YouTube channel. Even the Successful Black Man is successful in real life.
And while almost none of these people are trending topics or Reddit front-pagers anymore, they all enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame in the Internet spotlight. Check out how frequently their names are searched on Google—all decline after a huge initial spike. (What did we say about the Internet being a cruel place?) The thing is, none of them set out to be famous. For most of them, it just kind of happened—one funny YouTube upload or unfortunate grade-school photo, and the rest is history.
Over the years, these viral stars have spoken out about what it’s like to become the center of the Internet’s attention (if only for a moment), what they actually do in real life, and what, if anything, they want to do with their Internet fame. Here are the stories of 10 people who woke up one day, Internet famous.