Short-lived legends: Urban students reflect on their fame


Originally coined by Andy Warhol, the phrase “15 minutes of fame” comes from something Warhol said in his exhibition in 1968: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” However, it is likely that this idea was taken from an even earlier Elizabethan idea of “nine days of fame.” Whatever its origins may be, the idea of short-lived fame is increasingly widespread in the day of reality television and social media.

Through platforms like Twitter and Instagram, short videos and drawings have gained their creators a brief but avid following. Shows like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and smartphone applications like the now-defunct Vine have brought funny moments or personal thoughts to the screens of millions of people around the world. Unsurprisingly, many members of the Urban community have benefitted from these new developments and have had their own “15 minutes of fame.” Here are their climbs onto, art.ig, and more.


Nathan Story (‘20):

L: Why did you become famous?

N: I knew some people who were famous on Vine and I kinda just tagged along for a little and made videos and then my account got popular. I can’t remember exactly, but I had around 50,000-100,000 subscribers on my Vine account. I would just record random funny things that would happen throughout my day. I was like 13 years old.

L: How do you think it happened?

N: Networking… I knew people who had lots of followers and I met people through them.  We would do things together and I would get tagged on their posts.

L: Are you proud of your fame? Embarrassed?

N: People look up my name and see me on … people think I added myself on there. I don’t really want to be there, but I guess I’m stuck there. [Vine] was not something I ever wanted to pursue.

L: Has this bit of fame or attention helped you now? How does it affect your life?

N: Yes. Definitely. Vine was a really big jump into ecommerce. Now a lot of it [my work] is on the influencer business side… I more work with them [Vine and social media users] instead of being an actual social media influencer.


Skyler Silverman (science teacher):

L: What were your “15 minutes of fame?”

S: When I was five I started going to a Karate studio. My mom’s good friend at the time was a producer on the TV show “7th Heaven” and they had an episode coming out that needed a young brother and sister. They didn’t need me to do that much… I didn’t audition or anything.

L: Must have been cool as a young kid though… Was it a big deal? Were you excited?

S: I went to school in Brentwood [a neighborhood of LA] which had some pretty famous parents living there. The Schwarzeneggers sent their kids there and Barry Bonds’s kids were in the lower school. The fact that I was on one episode of a TV show did not register as that weird. It became a big deal when I was at college. I had a best friend in college and for his 19th birthday he got the whole dorm together and everyone watched the episode. That was when it became a big deal for people who weren’t from [Brentwood].
L: Looking back on the experience are you embarrassed? Proud?

S: It’s more funny because there’s this video of me as an eight-year-old doing karate on a TV show and not a kind of show I would be interested in at all.

L: Does it affect you at all now?

S: The way other people find out can be really funny… Once in a while I will meet people and they’ll find out about it and they’ll be like “I remember that episode”… I had a friend and when her sister found out she was like “Omg… You’re the karate kid.” That was fun.


Colby Case (‘20):

L: So how did you become famous?

C: My [Instagram] account started off with about a thousand followers and I just posted a drawing that I called “Half Empty, Half Full.” It was just two women facing each other with their faces half full or half empty with water. I don’t know why, but it got on this art account that had roughly 1.5 million followers. It had the classic caption like “15 year old artist made this.” Over the course of a week after the post I gained 20,000 followers… the manager of [@]art.ig said that about 15 million people saw the image. It still circulates around the internet and right now people are into writing poems with my drawing in the background. It’s still being interpreted right now.

L: How do you think it happened? What drew you out from the crowd?

C: Honestly Instagram art has a very specific formula. Mostly it is happy and really saturated art. Most of the people who saw my post [on @art.ig] were probably my age… it made them feel fake deep.

L: Are you proud of becoming famous for this? Embarrassed?

C: Yeah definitely. But there was so much hate. So many people called me retarded. I probably had over a thousand comments that said “that’s not half, go back to school.” That was really interesting and kinda funny.

L: So you liked it?

C: It’s the perfect way I could have gotten attention… it was the most “me” way possible. All my art is a projection of my mind and people saw that and liked it.  I still get a lot of dms that are like “I like your art, I like you.”

L: Do you remember how it felt in the moment to receive this new attention?

C: I checked [my post]after a couple days had past and there wasn’t much activity. The next day an hour passed and I had 5,000 followers. I would just refresh my account and I would get 100 followers every time I refreshed. It’s interesting… I posted a drawing that I thought would get the same attention but it really didn’t. The Instagram algorithm is completely random and I follow so many artists that deserve the same attention but don’t get it. I like to shout out a lot of artists that I think deserve the attention and it worked once… they got reposted and got 20,000 followers after being on @art.ig… it made me feel like I was lifting up other artists.


Sophia Robb(‘18):

L: Why did you become famous?

S: I was on Twitter and I saw a post from Tumblr… the screenshot had gone viral on Twitter. It said something like “I had a patient come in because she broke her retainer when Michael B. Jordan came on screen in ‘Black Panther’.” I was like there’s no way that happened to someone else…. it was definitely me, but I had to make sure it wasn’t a HIPAA violation [using another patient’s protected health information] if I outed myself that it was me. Then I retweeted it and was like “This is me omg,” and it just went viral and insane.

L: How do you think it happened? What drew your experiences out from everyone elses?

S: I think it was the combination of the fact that “Black Panther” had just come out and it also was just weird. People were like “What the hell?” It was the perfect storm and I think if had it been right now,  it wouldn’t have been that funny.

L: Are you proud of becoming famous for this? Embarrassed?

S: I’m not embarrassed… now it’s just funny to me. I introduced myself on my college Facebook and everyone was like “omg retainer girl, I know you.”

L: Do you remember how it felt in the moment to receive this attention?

S: Honestly, it was nice. I got an email from Teen Vogue and I was like “This is it… this is my big break.”  It was definitely fun to get interviewed by Buzzfeed. It was such a harmless thing to go viral for so there wasn’t a lot of controversy.