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On the trail of the Internet Phenomenons

 People 442 000031349 Mahir-Acc
While most C-List celebs seem to make their way into the public consciousness via Subway ads, American Idol or marrying Britney Spears, there exists that rare circle of famous names who's star rose almost exclusively online.

This was one of the hardest pieces I've had to research since we started these “Where are they now” articles - it seems that people who find their fame on the internet learn very well how to cover their tracks.

But not completely...

Ellen Feiss
Ellen shot to internet fame after appearing in Errol Morris' Switch TV Spot for Apple. Rumors circulated that Ellen was pretty stoned on the day of filming, although she always claimed it was due to her allergy medication (whether or not she smoked said medication was never asked). As Ellen's fame grew, she was invited on both Letterman and Leno, but turned them down. She probably should have thought that through more, as she's now pursuing an acting career. Ellen was recently in France shooting the lead role in a fantasy movie entitled “Bed & Breakfast” for release later this year.

Jen3 280
Jennifer Ringley
Long before there was Big Brother, Ringley became famous online for ... being online, all of the time. Jennicam.org was an early experiment in “living on camera” as millions of internet viewers tuned in daily to watch Jennifer loaf around her apartment, not clean up, and generally replicate the scene they could have watched if they just turned off the computer and looked around them. After running foul of paypal's no-nudity rules and no longer being able to collect subscription fees, Jennicam abruptly shut its doors on New Year's Day, 2004. Jennifer is currently living in Sacramento, California, where she works as a case worker for a Social Services agency. She seems to have given up any online activity completely

Gary Brolsma
Gary Brolsma, 19, from Saddle Brook, NJ became a cult phenomenom when he created a flash video of himself dancing along to Dragostea Din Tei, by obscure Romanian pop band O-Zone, and uploaded it to newgrounds.com. Unwanted fame quickly followed, with NY Times articles, appearances by O Zone on TV shows worldwide, and the single racing up the charts across Europe. Refusing all interview requests, Gary tried to parlay his fame into a career in web design, but the deluge of visitors to his site crushed his bandwidth, and it has since gone dormant. However, a geek like Gary can't stay away from the web, and leaves his telltale nickname - Gman250 - wherever he goes. Here's his XFire profile, which often shows him online, submerged in the World of Warcraft.

Star Wars Kid-Screenshot
Ghyslain Raza
In 2002, Canadian teenager Ghyslain Raza taped himself practising his jedi skills at his private high school. Unfortunately those skills didn't extend to taking the tape out of the school camera once he'd finished and pretty soon it'd found its way onto the internet. Ultimately the humiliation was so great for Ghyslain that he had to drop out of school and enter a psychiatric hospital in his native Canada for “an indefinite amount of time”, while his parents sued the boys who found the tape and distributed it for $225,000 in damages. Maybe this was what Qui-Gon meant when he said he felt a disturbance in The Force.

Cindy Margolis
One of the first true pinup girls online, Cindy quickly rose to notoriety, being named Yahoo's “Queen of the Internet” for the years 1996-1999 (a title since claimed by Ryan Seacrest), during which time she appeared as one of the Fembots in Austin Powers. She cemented her status by being named the “Most Downloaded Celebrity” by the Guinness Book of Records in 2000, and it's a claim she's used in her publicity materials ever since. While always staying relatively demure and clothed, Cindy has gone on to a succesful modelling and TV career, at one time having her own TV show. Her most recent TV appearance was as a host of the Lingerie Bowl halftime PPV show during Superbowl XL.

Mahir Cagri
Photojournalist Mahir's personal homepage became an online phenomenon, eventually claiming to hold the world record for most visits. With it's corny photos and phrases such as “I Kiss You” and “I like to take foto-camera”, it later turned out that Mahir himself was not completely responsible for the site, but instead it was a prankster translator who had spiced up some of the details. Nevertheless Mahir embraced his fame, parlaying it into TV spots and advertisements. Some say he was the inspiration for Sacha Cohen's character, Borat, soon to appear on the big screen. Mahir still lives in Turkey and continues to maintain his web site. As recently as Feb 8th 2006, Mahir was threatening an active return to the web in the very near future, so watch this space.

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... and where is my tribute? Who am I?


I want to KNOW!

said Johnny Chicago on February 12, 2006 3:11 PM.

What about the famous Mullet-Man, Jonathan Passow. His comics are making him quisi-famous...

said Bobs Uruncle on February 13, 2006 3:08 PM.

what about the all famous, yet never seen LEEROY JENKINSS!!!!!!!! yea i'm a geek....

said Tilbard on February 13, 2006 3:36 PM.


said Psycho on February 13, 2006 4:08 PM.

I have never heard of Ellen Feiss, Jennifer Ringley, or Cindy Margolis. Why isn't Brian Peppers on this list?

said John on February 13, 2006 10:53 PM.

Ugh - I just looked up Brian Pepper's picture on Snopes.com. Now I'm gonna have nightmares tonight.,

said Scaramouch on February 13, 2006 11:00 PM.



said REIROM on February 13, 2006 11:22 PM.

What about Gellieman, Aicha was one of the funniest songs ever.

said PTPete25 on February 14, 2006 1:04 AM.

What about goatse and peanut butter jelly time?

said sacrebleu on February 14, 2006 12:20 PM.


said prick on February 14, 2006 6:37 PM.


said prick on February 14, 2006 6:38 PM.

You are the last Dragon....Dragon...

said Som Dom Goi on February 15, 2006 8:02 AM.

what about Mikey from New Mexico who was looking for a girlfriend?

said london on February 16, 2006 11:26 AM.

what about Mikey from New Mexico who was looking for a girlfriend?

said london on February 16, 2006 11:26 AM.

wow..a very incomplete list...
where is peter pan man?

said hiland on February 22, 2006 1:40 AM.

Kinda sad to hear that Star Wars Kid ended up in a psychiatric hospital... That's whack, I feel for the guy, But then again leaving that tape in the camera wasn't his smartest move ever and they did end up with a bunch of cash.

Maybe he should have used his fame to launch his career as an actor. :P

Also I still don't belive Cindy Margolis was ever the most downloaded woman on the internet. I'd never even heard of her until I hapened to watch a show on the Guiness Records one day on TV.

said Martin on June 10, 2006 3:34 PM.

Hey, how about that a-hole who doctored the World Trade Center photos? What happened to him?

said Kelly on November 17, 2006 5:09 PM.
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