10 Times Normal People Went Viral Online and Made Bank

Gabrielle Olya
10 Times Normal People Went Viral Online and Made Bank

You don’t need talent to become famous. Several everyday people have shot to fame and fortune thanks to viral videos, attractive mugshots or large social media followings.

Click through to find out the legendary ways people struck it rich thanks to one big moment.

1. Jeremy Meeks

Financial gains: $30,000 modeling contract

“Hot convict” Jeremy Meeks became an internet star when his mugshot went viral in 2014. Meeks’ good looks scored him a $30,000 modeling contract before he even was released from prison, the Daily Mail reported. While still behind bars on 11 felony charges, including illegal gun possession, Meeks, of California, told ABC News that thanks to his lucrative modeling offers, “I’m in a place where I will be able to provide for my family and really change my life.” Since his release, Meeks seems to be living a luxurious life. The model appears to drive a Maserati and live in a mansion, based on social media posts, and he is dating Topshop heiress Chloe Green, whose parents are worth billions, according to Forbes.

Meeks isn’t alone in making money in jail — click to see the world’s richest prisoners.

2. Antoine Dodson

Net worth: $50,000

Antoine Dodson entered the public eye after he gave an impassioned TV news interview about a sexual assault on his sister. The interview was picked up by the YouTube channel AutoTune the News and turned into a song called “Bed Intruder,” which became the No. 1 video on YouTube overnight, The Guardian reported. Dodson cashed in on the overnight success by selling merchandise with popular phrases from the song, including “Hide yo kids” and “We gon find you” to help raise money to move his family from the projects. The song also was sold on iTunes and made the top 25 singles chart. Although Dodson said in a 2016 interview with CTV that he had a reality show in the works, he has faded from the public eye.

3. Candace Payne

Financial gains: $420,000 worth of gifts

Stay-at-home mom Candace Payne, aka “Chewbacca Mom,” went viral in 2016 after she posted a Facebook Live video that captured her genuine excitement about her new Chewbacca mask. The video became the most-viewed Facebook Live video of the year, with 164 million views — and it helped Payne earn a pretty penny. The Texas resident received $420,000 worth of gifts after her video went viral, including $3,000 worth of gifts and gift cards from Kohl’s — where she bought the mask — along with $7,500 worth of travel and gifts from talk-show visits, a Walt Disney World vacation worth $7,500, a $2,000 VIP treatment at Fan Expo Dallas and college scholarships for her whole family, worth $400,000, Money reported.

4. Keenan Cahill

Net worth: $425,000

Keenan Cahill began posting videos of himself lip-syncing to popular songs on YouTube in 2009 and gained viral fame in 2010. Cahill credits Katy Perry for his rise to viral status: The singer tweeted a link to his lip-sync of “Teenage Dream” in September of that year, and his views started to climb. Not only has he racked up more than 486 million views, but he also has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including Perry, 50 Cent and Ariana Grande.

YouTube isn’t an easy place to make money, but with tips and tricks, you can get a career going.

5. Chris Crocker

Net worth: $450,000

Chris Crocker tearfully pleaded for people to “leave Britney [Spears] alone” in a 2007 YouTube video that got 2 million views in a single day, Salon reported. Although Crocker deleted his YouTube account in 2015, he continued to post videos on his page up to that point. He also released two albums and launched a gay porn career in 2012, Logo reported.

6. Tay Zonday

Net worth: $500,000

Tay Zonday’s no-frills YouTube recording of his original song “Chocolate Rain” went viral in 2007, and it has amassed more than 116 million views since then. He has remained a fixture on YouTube and continues to make videos for his over 1 million subscribers.

7. Tila Tequila

Net worth: $500,000

Tila Tequila, born Tila Nguyen, had posed for Playboy’s website and done modeling in the auto world, but it wasn’t until she joined MySpace that she hit new levels of fame. As of 2006, she had 1.5 million MySpace friends and was receiving thousands of friend requests every day. Nguyen used her internet fame to launch a singing career, and she even got her own MTV reality dating show in 2007. Nguyen more recently has found herself in hot water for expressing neo-Nazi sentiments on social media.

8. William Hung

Net worth: $600,000

William Hung had one of the most infamous “American Idol” auditions of all time, thanks to his off-key but whole-hearted rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” during the 2004 season. Hung capitalized on his viral fame, starring in commercials and making cameos on TV shows, including “Arrested Development.” He also released three albums, which had sales of 200,000, 35,000 and 7,000 units, respectively, and continued to perform at concerts, events and parties, The New York Times reported. In 2011, Hung ended his musical career and began working as a statistical analyst for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Time magazine reported.

9. Danielle Bregoli

Net worth: $1.2 million

Danielle Bregoli made waves when she appeared on “Dr. Phil” as an “out-of-control” teenager in 2016. When audience members began booing, Bregoli replied, “Cash me ousside, how bow dah?” The expression went viral, and Bregoli cashed in on her fame by doing paid product placements on Instagram for brands such as Fit Tea, which CelebrityNetWorth estimates could be worth $100,000 per post. The site also reports that she charges up to $40,000 for meet-and-greet sessions. She now is pursuing a rap career under the name Bhad Bhabie and has signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Atlantic Records, TMZ reported.

10. Rebecca Black

Net worth: $1.5 million

Whether you loved it or hated it, it was hard to escape Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” which went viral on YouTube in 2011. Between revenue from video views and downloads, Forbes estimated Black could have earned $1 million from the widely mocked single. Despite the online torment, Black continued to make music. She currently is a singer-songwriter and YouTube personality, and she released her first EP in 2017.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Times Normal People Went Viral Online and Made Bank