If you were on social media in 2013, chances are you recall an abundance of “Attractive Convict” memes taking up your newsfeed. The photo that went viral, and later generated thousands of memes, was of a young woman wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and posing for a mugshot. Although the photo’s subject, a mother-of-four from Florida named Meagan Simmons, thought it was a “terrible” picture, many online users thought differently.
Before she knew it, Meagan was launched into instant fame, and was seeing her mugshot – one she thought would never leave the police station – all over the internet. Although the fame seemed harmless at the time, she quickly saw the downside of being a cyber celebrity, and wished more than anything that people would soon forget about the photograph. It has been nearly five years since she first went viral, and although her life has calmed down a bit, she still is seen as the “Attractive Convict” to many of her online followers.
Thanks to social media, it has become more common than ever to accidentally become famous. Of course, Meagan is just one story of many others who found themselves suddenly launched into mega fame after going viral on the internet. How could we forget about Alex from Target, the strapping young cashier who was just working a regular shift at Target, bagging groceries, when suddenly a picture that someone snapped of him reached millions of viewers? He even got to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Or what about the “Hot Felon” who, like Meagan, had his mugshot go viral and is now working as one of the fashion industry’s top models?
Stories like Meagan’s, and others who have seen stardom thanks to the internet, are a perfect example of just how much power social media can wield. Before we had platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, it was much harder – if not nearly impossible to gain celebrity status overnight. However, now that we have the ability to reach out to millions of people in just the click of a button, the term “internet celebrity” is more heard of than ever before.
Of course, as you will learn from Meagan’s story, becoming a sudden cyber celebrity is not as great as it may seem. There is no denying that it has its perks, but the downside of online fame can be frightening…
Continue reading to hear what happened to Meagan after taking the internet by storm, and melting hearts everywhere.
In the last few years, it seems like more and more people are becoming internet famous by accident. One such random rise to fame was that of a fair-haired young man name Alex, who worked as a grocery bagger at Target and became a celebrity overnight after a photo of him at work went viral. Meagan Simmons story is not much different than Alex’s. She too reached sudden cyber-celebrity status after a picture of her, which wasn’t supposed to be for the public, reached millions of people in a short span of time…
It all started back in 2013, when a mugshot taken of the then 27-year-old caught hold of the internet, and melted thousands of hearts less than 24 hours later. The mugshot was actually taken three years prior, after Meagan, who went by Meagan Mccullough then, was arrested for a DUI. Of course, at the time the young woman had no idea that the photo would end up reaching anyone’s eyes outside of the police station.
Becoming the “Attractive Convict”
The mugshot first caught attention on the sharing website Reddit, where one user made her photograph into a meme writing “Can I have her cell number?” and named her “Attractive Convict.” In just a few hours, the post received hundreds of comments from people in awe of the naturally beautiful woman in the orange jumpsuit. Many wrote comments such as, “I didn’t know stealing hearts was a felony.” and “If looks could kill, she’d be in jail. Oh wait…”
Suddenly, the meme spread like wildfire throughout the internet, and dozens more memes were created out of Meagan’s mugshot. Each one mentioned something witty in regards to the young former convict’s good looks. One was captioned, “Guilty – of taking my breath away,” while another wrote, “Arrested for breaking and entering – your heart.” Another popular and viral meme had the caption, “Tell me what she did so I can end up in the same jail.” You get the point…
Social media sites were taken over by hundreds of thousands of comments from men confessing their love to this mystery woman, proposing marriage and asking for her phone number and whether or not she is single. It seemed like everyone on the internet was dying to know the true identity of the woman in the orange jumpsuit. Although no one knew who was for sure, many commenters had fun guessing her occupation, and most assumed that she was a model.
Not long after the police shot went viral, the attractive convict’s identity was finally revealed. Many were surprised to find out that the photogenic beauty was not a model at all, but actually a mother-of-four medical assistant from Zephyrhills, Florida. However, as many of her admirers were pleased to find out, she was separated from her former husband and was indeed single. When Meagan discovered that she had become a viral meme, she was shocked to say the least…
The mother explained how she found out she had become an internet celeb. She recalled, “I was with my best friend, our children were playing, we were reading, gossipping, just like any normal day. And then the UK Daily Mail calls me wanting to do an interview in regards to my mugshot going viral and to inform me of my many bizarre and random foreign admirers.” She added, “I was in complete shock but also I found it hilarious.”
Meagan later spoke out about her sudden fame, and claimed that she doesn’t understand why everyone is so fascinated with a picture which she believes to be “terrible.” According to her, the mugshot only brings back bad memories that she would rather forget. She explained what really happened the night of the arrest, “I was out drinking in Tampa with a girlfriend at the time. We were riding together and I wasn’t planning to drive at all that night.”
Although she wasn’t planning on driving, she decided to take the risk and got behind the wheel after having some drinks – a decision that she would quickly regret. She said, “It was a really fun night but my friend saw her boyfriend and said she wanted to go with him. So I decided to drive home which was a terrible idea.” She was pulled over, and brought into the police station, where she was forced to take the now incredibly famous mugshot.
On her mind
Meagan revealed that at the time they snapped the picture of her, the last thing on her mind was how she looked. She explained, “I had just been crying when the photo was taken and I had been drinking.” She said what was really on her mind that night, “I knew I’d caused a lot of trouble and my parents were really upset and I was really upset. I wasn’t thinking about how I looked at all.”
When talking about the mugshot, Meagan expressed that she truly does not think it is an attractive photo of her. She said, “I don’t think it’s that good a picture – there are other ones I would prefer.” However, her large following of fans definitely disagreed. She continued to receive hundreds of messages and comments from men who have claimed to have fallen in love with her. One wrote, “I would go to the ends of the earth just to make you happy.”
At first, Meagan took all of the words of love and admiration as a compliment, especially since she didn’t find the photo all that flattering. She said, “I also like to think I take better photos when I haven’t been drinking and crying all night. But then, that brings me to a different conclusion all in all. I definitely do take it as a compliment because, like I said, that definitely wasn’t one of my better photos.
Although she initially embraced the heaps of positive attention she was receiving, she quickly saw the downside of being cyber famous. She started to get frightened by the lack of privacy and by some of the messages she had received, “It was nice and funny at first, and then it started getting scary because my address is on there. It’s scary when people message you talking about coming to your house. It got to the point where it’s not funny because I have four little people to worry about, not just myself.”
New viral mugshot
Following Meagan’s popularity, a new attractive mugshot started to take the internet by storm. Jeremy Meeks, a convicted felon and former gang member, rose to fame after his good-looking police shot went viral – and is now a supermodel. He then was given the name “Hot Felon.” Suddenly, people started comparing the two viral convicts, and even made up photoshopped babies using their images. Meagan was not pleased, “He is an actual criminal. No thank you, it would definitely never happen and I’m embarrassed to be paired up with him!”
Going to court
Since rising to fame by accident, the mother-of-four has sued the background checking website Instant Checkmate, which had illegally used her mugshot photo in one of their advertisements without her permission. The website’s ad featured Meagan’s photo, along with the words, “Sometimes the cute ones aren’t so innocent. Do a background check on anyone.” She claimed that the website, which used her photograph for financial gain, invaded her privacy and caused her great anguish. With the help of her attorney, Matthew Crist, she earned a nice settlement from the case.
A good mother
Today Meagan’s life has, for the most part, returned to normalcy. However, she still has thousands of followers on her Instagram and Twitter pages, and still receives plenty of comments and messages from men gushing about her beauty and confessing their love to her. Although Meagan is still looking for “the one” she is focusing on her most important responsibility, being a good mother to her four school-aged to teenage children, two sons and two daughters.
Unfortunately, the young mother is still dealing with the downside of her former fame. To this day, she still gets hateful and threatening comments and messages from people who don’t approve of her lifestyle, and judge her for her biracial family. She explained, “I still receive unsavory comments from random people in regards to just how I live my life. Racial remarks regarding my children, threats because I have dated black men and because I have children who are biracial.”
Meagan confessed that at one point, she felt frightened for the safety of her and her children. And that up until recently, she would get messages from people telling her that they knew where her house was, and that they were going to show up one day. She said, “People found out where I lived, telling me they were going to come see me, it was scary.” She added, “I’ve since then moved.”
When looking back at her peak days of accidental fame, she did say that some good came out of it. She mentioned that she had some “fun opportunities” out of the experience and expressed how grateful she felt for settling her lawsuit with Instacheckmate. She said, “If none of this ever happened to me, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to take my children on a vacation to Disney World. And for that, I am beyond grateful.”
Meagan explained that she has changed as a person since her arrest which resulted in her becoming an online celebrity. She said, “I definitely stopped going out with selfish unreliable people.” She also claims that she has learned her lesson, and will never drive under the influence again. She said, “Of course, if I’m driving, I don’t drink period.” She now has dreams of becoming a News co-host for channel E! she explained, “Who wouldn’t love to interview celebrities for a living?”