Alex from Target is one of the biggest viral hits, and the teen who first took his picture and sparked the online sensation says she is shocked and a little frightened at how big it’s all gotten.
Early this week, an otherwise normal teenager working at Target became a viral internet meme, with his picture being passed around, his Twitter blowing up, and countless news outlets writing the story.
The craze all started with a 15-year-old named Brooklyn Reiff, a junior at Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas. Brooklyn said the whole thing started through a conversation with her friend Alanna, who told her there was a cute cashier working at Target.
So Brooklyn decided to snap his picture on a trip to Target and share it with her friend.
“Alanna had tweeted a few times about the cashier being attractive at Target, and she’d been subtweeting him,” Reiff said in an interview with Yahoo! News. “And she put his name on there, and she was like, ‘Somebody get his @ name!’ So I took a picture of him and tweeted back to Alanna as a comment from her original tweet, and then that was the end of the conversation. A couple days later the photo had gone viral.”
Not only did Alex from Target go viral, but he started spawning stories of his own. There were reports this week that Alex had gotten fired after the attention grew too much for Target, and a little-known marketing company tried to take credit for “creating” Alex from Target.
“We wanted to see how powerful the fangirl demographic was by taking a unknown good-looking kid and Target employee from Texas to overnight viral internet sensation,” CEO of Breakr, Dil Domine Jacobe Leonares, said in the LinkedIn post.
“We saw two sides of the conversation happening with people joining in to support the hashtag just to trend it and the other side of people getting upset that a guy with good looks could become ‘internet famous’ with no work,” he said in his post. “In reality, when you look at the whole situation from a macro view you can see that if we can build an individual’s fan-base on Breakr, we can translate that powerful following into a bigger career. Truly, we never thought it’d go this far, but it proved that with a strong fan base and rally the fan girls, you can.”
But Leonares later admitted that he was just trying to drum up support, and that the Alex from Target meme is indeed real.
In the end, the picture was re-tweeted and shared so many times that Brooklyn Reiff wasn’t credited as the originator of the meme, but she said it doesn’t bother her.
Reiff said seeing how quickly the picture went viral was actually a bit frightening.
“This shows you how fast something can go viral,” she said. “It’s, like, scary. It really is. Because if you say one wrong thing your life could be over, basically.”
While Reiff may be amazed, Alex from Target still appears to be gaining fame. Late this week, there were a slew of new stories about the teenage cashier, including many trying to figure out just why he is so popular.