Do you ever wonder what’s going on with the human beings that become viral memes on social media? Well, the nine-year-old Black boy who became the literal poster child for the “well, this is awkward” expression after side-eyeing the camera at Popeyes is now an 18-year-old freshman in college (I’m not old, you’re old) who just signed a name image and likeness deal with the fast food chain.
According to Deadspin, Dieunerst Collin is currently a freshman playing D-II football at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. Now, the meme that made his face a social media fave that is still frequently used today has scored (see what I did there?) Collin an NIL deal with Popeyes, the terms of which has not been disclosed publicly. Hopefully, the deal means he’ll be able to profit from the constant use of his image.
Collin went viral in 2013 for a video taken of him inside a Popeyes lobby, which subsequently became a meme that made him internet famous for giving the side-eye while holding a drink. Nearly a decade later, Dieunerst has grown up and plays on the offensive line for Lake Erie College. In 2021, Collin won a State championship with East Orange Campus High School in New Jersey.
This is what you call a feel-good moment for this kid, who wasn’t searching endlessly for internet clout like so many people on social media today. The 6-foot-1, 330-pound college freshman was a seemingly unwilling participant in an internet video in his youth that blew up and made him the online face of Popeyes chicken.
This is a really good look for Collin, and it’s a reminder to others whose images have become widely-used memes on the internet that they might want to look into the possibility of signing their own NIL deals. You never know.