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is this real life?

What are YouTube's earliest stars up to now?

Hide yo’….Israelites?

WHAT DO YOU do once you gain internet stardom and your video has received millions of views?

We decided to find out.

Some viral YouTube sensations are still making videos in an attempt to cash in on their newfound stardom.

Others have moved on from the entertainment sphere and are attempting to live quiet lives. One just started the eighth grade, while another has become a motivational speaker.

Antoine Dodson

CrazyLaughAction / YouTube

Antoine Dodson became an unintentional internet sensation back in 2010. His catchphrase “Hide your kids, hide your wife” is just one of many sound bites that made it into an auto-tuned version of the interview.

Since becoming a viral star, Dodson was reportedly working on a reality TV show, but that seems to be dormant. Dodson has also endorsed the sales of “Bed Intruder” costumes and the Sex Offender Tracker app for iPhone and Android. In 2013, Gawker reported that Dodson claimed to have become a Hebrew Israelite, renouncing his homosexuality because he wants a wife and a family.

Grape Lady

yankeesfan22vt / YouTube

Melissa Sander was a live feature reporter for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia, in the late 1990s. In one segment, she reported from a local winery, and participated live in a grape-stomping contest. Sander fell off the stage, and the video was uploaded to YouTube years later, in 2007.

Sander went from Atlanta to Albany, becoming a weekend meteorologist for the city’s News10. However, her bio page at News10′s website doesn’t exist anymore. It seems Sander has moved on, and there’s no trace of her on the internet today — she’s presumably trying to keep a low profile in the wake of the nightmarish grape stomping fail.

Tay Zonday

TayZonday / YouTube

In 2007, Tay Zonday’s song “Chocolate Rain” went viral. The keyboard-driven song and Zonday’s deep vocals rocketed “Chocolate Rain” to YouTube viral stardom. He’s racked up almost 100 million views on the original video since it was originally uploaded, and he’s appeared on late night TV shows. He’s also provided voiceovers for the Adult Swim show “Robot Chicken,” and he even had an appearance on America’s Got Talent.

Today, the 32-year-old is still making YouTube videos. he’s also done commercial work for companies like Dr. Pepper and Comedy Central. He appeared in the 2009 video for Weezer’s song “Pork and Beans,” too.

Rebecca Black

rebecca / YouTube

If you were on the internet for any length of time in early 2011, you probably remember the so-bad-it’s-bad YouTube video for the song “Friday,” produced by ARK Music Factory. Black removed the original video, dubbed by many as “the worst song ever,” when it had 167 million views, but later reuploaded it. Sure, “Friday is not among the earliest YouTube viral videos — but Black’s song and video left a solid mark on the YouTube landscape: Today, the reuploaded “Friday” video has 71 million views and counting.

Black was bullied by her peers after the video went viral, prompting her to drop out of school. Today, the 17-year-old is still making music and she’s still on YouTube, singing and offering life advice to her followers — which, if Twitter is any indication, number more than a million.

“Is this real life?”

booba1234 / YouTube

When David DeVore uploaded a video of his 7-year-old son David to YouTube, he didn’t intend for the video to be viewed by millions — he just wanted to share it with family and friends. The video famously showed a dazed and anesthetized young David sitting in the car after a dental procedure, asking questions like “Is this real life?”

In 2010, DeVore told us that he had made almost $150,000 since the video went viral. The Devores became YouTube partners, meaning they allowed YouTube to air ads before their video in return for a cut of the money. In August, David entered eighth grade.

david-devore-just-started-8th-grade Businessinsider Businessinsider


itschriscrocker / YouTube

In his video “Leave Britney Alone,” Chris Crocker tearfully and passionately defended Britney Spears after the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. The original video has more than 45 million views, and though he’s uploaded scores of videos since then, he’s still best known for the original Britney video. “Yes, I did Leave Britney Alone,” Chris Crocker says in his Twitter bio.

Crocker recently starred in a documentary about his life, vlogging, and social media called Me at the Zoo. He’s been involved with other endeavors too — Crocker released several singles between 2008 and 2013. And of course, he’s still making YouTube videos.

The Star Wars Kid

Jim Love / YouTube

In 2002, 15-year-old Ghyslain Raza recorded a video tape of himself in his high school wielding a golf ball retriever like Star Wars Jedi knight handling a light sabre. Raza never intended for the video to be seen publicly, but a classmate found it, converted it to an electronic video file, and shared the video. When it surfaced, the Canadian attempted to distance himself from it, but was ridiculed anyway. With the advent of YouTube, the video spread further. One estimate claims the video had been viewed 900 million times by November 2006.

Raza left school to be privately tutored because of the bullying and cyberbullying he received as a result of the leaked video. Since then, he’s graduated from law school at Quebec’s McGill University. He went public about his identity in the video, hoping to help other young victims of cyberbullying. Raza is also the president of a heritage conservation society in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

Numa Numa Guy

xloserkidx / YouTube

His name is Gary Brolsma, but he’s best known as the “Numa Numa” guy. In 2004 Brolsma uploaded a video of himself lip-syncing to the song “Dragostea din tei” by Moldovan pop group O-Zone to the website Newgrounds. From there, the hilarious video spread to other websites — including YouTube — and has now been watched 700 million times.

Since then, Brolsma has starred in a 2009 Geico TV commercial and showed up in a 2010 Super Bowl ad for Vizio. No stranger to performing in front of a captive audience, Brolsma is a pianist and vocalist for a Saddle Brook, New Jersey-based band called The Backroom Deal.

Read: This 8-year-old makes $1.3 million a year by posting YouTube videos

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