Does anyone remember TeRio at Popeyes? The star of that viral Vine video that turned into an iconic meme has returned. Dieunerst Collin has just secured a brand deal with the actual Popeyes restaurant and advertised free fries for them at the Super Bowl.
Who is Popeyes Kid?
Popeyes Kid, real name Dieunerst Collin, was filmed on Vine standing outside of a fast food restaurant and giving the camera a side-eye. The video went viral immediately and became the template for decades of memes. Popeyes Kid was used to describe awkward moments for the most part, with one screenshot of the side-eye and then another of him looking away.
Ten years after the Vine went viral, Collin fell off the grid. It tends to happen to almost all subjects of memes or viral internet sensations, unless they can ride the wave of fame perfectly and stay relevant. In Collin’s case, he managed to come back and was part of a Popeyes Super Bowl ad at age 18.
Why is Popeyes Kid Back?
When I first heard about this, I was intrigued. The meme is a decade old by now, and a lot of people don’t even know the kid’s real name. The original meme was actually called “TeRio at Popeyes.”
It turns out that Collin has become a freshman football player for Lake Erie College (an offensive lineman). Popeyes Kid is a staggering 6’1 weighing 315 pounds at 19, and bears the moniker of “Killer Whale.” He also became State Champion for East Orange High School in New Jersey back when he was 18.
He secured an NIL deal with Popeyes which brought him back into mainstream Internet culture. The ad is called “From Memes To Dreams,” which references his “origin story” and compares his beginnings to where he is now. Described as an internet meme, football player, and now a Popeyes spokesperson all at once, he’s here to advertise free fries to the world.
With his deal, Collin gets to have his face on billboards across his hometown of New Jersey – skyrocketing him into the realm of “official” fame. He’s not just an internet sensation anymore, but is actually part of a campaign. The restaurant also announced that more content starring Popeyes Kid will come.
Dieunerst Collin becoming a champion football player and a spokesperson for a huge restaurant chain is further proof of Gen Z’s twisting of meme culture. There have been countless examples of recent memes growing to the point where they make major impacts on the world, such as #GentleMinions and the “meme stocks.”
Even when Vine was a thing, many stars turned to Youtube and became extremely famous. Logan Paul and his brother Jake are probably the best examples of this. Other Vine stars have fallen into obscurity. It’s nice to see that Popeyes Kid represents another kind of entry into mainstream Internet culture as a returning figure. Hopefully we see more classic Internet beings pop up in the future.