What These Famous YouTube Kids Look Like Now

YouTube celebrated its 10th birthday in 2015. Can you believe it? When this video-sharing site launched, most folks were using flip phones, and the iPhone didn't exist. If you wanted to record a video, you used a video camera. If you wanted to share that video, you invited folks over to watch it on your television set.

Enter YouTube. Suddenly, anybody with a computer could upload videos about anything for anyone. In YouTube's early years, it was often parents who dominated the landscape with funny videos of their offspring. As YouTube heads into its second decade of existence, let's touch base with the adorable children it made famous years ago.

Charlie Bit My Finger

One of YouTube's most watched videos is still "Charlie Bit My Finger," uploaded by a British father in 2007 because the file was too big to email to his family. Little did he know, more than 853 million people would get a kick out of watching baby Charlie gnaw on big brother Harry's finger.

CBBC caught up with the family at their UK home in 2014. The boys were ages 9 and 11 at the time with two other brothers, Jasper and Rupert. Their dad, Howard Davies-Carr, said the original video, along with follow-ups on the family's YouTube channel, has attracted thousands of dollars in advertising, but for the most part, the boys live normal lives. Charlie remains nonplussed about his pivotal chomp, saying, "I think it's a bit odd that loads of people watched it."

Jessica's Daily Affirmation

In this YouTube clip from 2009, a modern-day Shirley Temple named Jessica stands on her bathroom counter, facing the mirror as she testifies about all the good in her life. "My whole house is great. I can do anything good. I like my school. I like anything. I like my dad. I like my cousins. I like my aunts," she says, pumping her arms to the rhythm of her affirmations. Her delivery is simultaneously intense and sweet, theatrical, and candid. She climbs down from the counter and marches out of the room, still pumping herself up as she fades away.

Jessica's dad uploaded the footage of his 4-year-old motivational speaker years after the video was filmed—he was simply trying to share nostalgic moments with family. Jessica has kept a low YouTube profile in recent years. The last time we spotted her was in a goofy video with her sister in 2011. No matter her aspirations, a grown-up Jessica has already inspired more than 19 million people through that infectious childhood pep talk. We love her for that...and we love her hair...and she can do anything good.

David After Dentist

Some kids rely on the tooth fairy to make a buck, but the DeVore family stumbled on a better way in 2008 when David DeVore Sr. recorded his 7-year-old son waking up after oral surgery. "Is this real life?" the woozy kid asked his father. "I feel funny," he slurred. "Why is this happening to me?" More than eight years and 136 million views later, "David After Dentist" is the stuff of internet legend. DeVore said video revenue helped the family keep their kids enrolled in a private school.

In 2016, David Devore Jr. applied his fame to a science project at the Seminole County Regional Science, Math and Engineering Fair in Florida. His study asked, "Does a viral video have the same tendencies as a virus to spread?" The 15-year-old compared the spread of his YouTube video to the spread of Ebola in Liberia. "I think that maybe if this gets looked into more and we keep experimenting with it we might be able to prepare for a virus in the future and save people's lives," he told the Orlando Sentinel.

Kittens inspired by Kittens

Once upon a time in 2008, Maddie Kelly picked out a book from her local library, entitled Kittens. The 6-year-old took the book home and proceeded to "read" it to her dad, who subsequently blessed the internet by recording and sharing Maddie's hilariously creative improvisation.

Maddie's father posted the clip for friends and family, and, well, you can guess how this story played out. "Kittens inspired by Kittens" became a Facebook page, Twitter feed, and even an Etsy shop to help save for college. Heading into her teenage years, Maddie told The Pet Collective that she's "still really obsessed with cats," which is good because so is the rest of the world. Maddie's video was among those showcased in "How Cats Took Over The Internet," an exhibit that debuted at New York's Museum of the Moving Image in 2015. She was also a special guest at the Walker Art Center's Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis.


Thirteen-year-old Rebecca Black's life was forever changed when her parents paid a recording studio a couple thousand bucks to help her make a song to post online. The result was "Friday," a corny tune about looking forward to the weekend. It was so bad it was good, and it quickly went viral, but in a dark and diseased way. Millions watched, and millions left scathing reviews. According to The New York Times, cyberbullies called Black "the worst singer in the world." Bullying occurred at her school too. She eventually dropped out to be homeschooled.

Black turned 18 in 2015 and is still pursuing a music career. She released a pop single called "Saturday" that poked a little fun at her roots, and it broke onto the Billboard charts. She vlogs, blogs, works on music, and occasionally rubs elbows with famous folks. Katy Perry even included her in the "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" music video.

As for her naysayers, "you can't let it affect you," Rebecca told Rock Forever Magazine. "You just have to realize that it's their problem, not yours, and if it does get serious, don't be afraid to talk to someone about it. Just be safe and stay positive."

Leave Britney Alone!

Britney Spears' comeback at the 2007 Video Music Awards went down in history for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly lifeless, mimed performance was torn to shreds by both music journalists and industry moguls, including X-Factor judge Simon Cowell. "If I had been looking after Britney I'd have taken one look at her in rehearsals and I wouldn't have allowed her on stage," the brash Brit said (per the Daily Mail). "It would have been worth pulling her off the bill—no matter what the cost—to save any chance she had of resurrecting her career."

A People source close to Britney's camp at the time revealed she was "disappointed" and "embarrassed" by the show, but it didn't stop the haters from mocking her. This all became too much for vlogger and aspiring actor Chris Crocker, who posted a tearful video vehemently defending the pop icon. "Leave Britney Alone!" (which was viewed more than 43 million times before Crocker left YouTube) went viral and catapulted the 19-year-old to fame, leading to appearances on talk shows and music videos.

Crocker later used his infamy to launch a career as a pornographic actor, a move he came to regret as his Hollywood hopes evaporated. "Career opportunities for me have been very slim to none," he told Out. "Obviously doing the porn thing didn't necessarily help me." He still promotes his own line of merchandise through Instagram.

Chocolate Rain

If streaming had been taken into account by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2007, like it is today, Tay Zonday would have gone multi-platinum with his annoyingly catchy original song "Chocolate Rain." Zonday's deep, rich voice and somewhat bizarre mannerisms made this video a hit on YouTube, though it actually took a little while for it to take off, as the singer explained to Broadly.

"It didn't instantly go viral," Zonday said. "About three months after it was uploaded, someone posted it on the front page of Digg.com, which is kind of what Reddit was back then. And then someone saw it on Digg and posted it on 4chan. After that, it started to go viral and become a national news story." The video was everywhere for a while, and spawned some pretty hilarious parodies, including the must-see "Chocolate Rain by Chad Vader."

Zonday went on to make numerous cameo appearances in film and TV and also took part in a memorable commercial for Dr. Pepper, performing a new track named "Cherry Chocolate Rain," complete with rap verses. While he later admitted that he "probably wasn't quite as smart as [he] should have been from a business standpoint," his bass-heavy tones have allowed him to find work in other areas of entertainment. According to Variety, Zonday won a voice role in the animated mini-series Transformers: Titans Return (2017-18).

Miss Teen Carolina 2007

In 2006, a girl named Caitlin Upton was crowned Miss Teen South Carolina, and the following year she appeared at the Miss Teen USA pageant representing her state. With millions watching across the country, Upton floundered under a question from actress Aimee Teegarden, who told the contestant that polls had shown a fifth of Americans couldn't locate the United States on a world map. "Why do you think this is?" Teegarden asked. Upton's response became legendary:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps," Upton said. "And I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future. For our children."

Her ramblings, however, didn't stop her from landing a modeling gig. Weeks after the pageant, Upton was reportedly signed by Donald Trump's agency on a $25,000-a-day contract, but no amount of money could erase the damage done by that YouTube video, watched by more than 66 million people. "I had some very dark moments where I thought about committing suicide," she said in 2015. At the time of this writing, according to her LinkedIn profile, she works in real estate in Los Angeles.

The New Canon Rock

In 2006, a 17-year-old kid from Paris, France blew YouTube away with a face-melting guitar cover of a well-known, classical piece known as Pachelbel's Canon. The video became a sensation (it's been watched by more than 21 million people in the years since) and spawned many imitators—some terrible, others terrific. Supreme shredder Tina S belongs to the latter camp, but even her epic version of Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (3rd Movement) has only managed half the hits that Mathieu Rachmajda (known as MattRach to YouTube) pulled in for his Canon clip.

"I picked up this piece that I did not use particularly, because the few subscribers I had at the time insisted that I do it," he told Slash Media. "I posted a first version identical to the original and it brought a wave of haters that thought I was pretending to play. So, I made my own version... I did not expect the success."

The talented Frenchman has continued to share music via his channel in the years since and has released several cover albums. He revisited Pachelbel's Canon for his 2016 album ClassiK with a brand new take on it, and he will likely sample other classic masterpieces in his next album, OVNI, due to be released September 29, 2017. He does compose his own music, too, but that's largely saved for Atmospheres, a band made up of "exceptional musicians," according to MattRach himself.

Zombie Kid Likes Turtles

YouTube has always loved a good news report gone wrong. From the infamous falling grape lady, who took a hard face plant on Fox 5, to the guy who looked up and got a mouth full of bird poop live on 7 Action News, some of the biggest jokes in YouTube history have been at the expense of reporters. But surely you're safe from embarrassment reporting on a harmless fair with kiddy rides and face painting stalls, right? Not if you're interviewing Jonathan Ware.

In 2007, this brief interview with a boy from Portland, Ore. went viral after he answered a question about his zombie face paint with a blunt and hilariously bizarre statement: "I like turtles." The perplexed journalist manages to sign off her segment, but the boy's response became the stuff of YouTube legend and the original video has now been watched more than 57 million times.

"I was nervous, I didn't even know what to say," Ware said when KGW tracked him down for a follow up interview, explaining that he had just come from a turtle enclosure. "I saw a whole bunch of them there. I found a snapping turtle that was really cool. I just wanted to blurt it all out."

Not much has been heard from Ware since. In 2013 he reportedly tried to rekindle his viral fame by starting his own gaming channel on YouTube, but alas, that account has since been deactivated.