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​How Jeremy Meeks Accidentally Became An Internet Meme

​How Jeremy Meeks Accidentally Became An Internet Meme

Meeks went viral after Stockton Police Department shared his mugshot on Facebook

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

Gang member-turned model Jeremy Meeks shot to viral fame back in 2014 when his mugshot was shared by police on Facebook, with social media users dubbing him the 'hot felon'.

Meeks, 37, had been introduced to gang culture while living in California during the 90s, spending time in juvenile hall and getting involved in disputes on the street as he grew up.

Meeks in 2019.

In 2014, Meeks had been out picking his brother up early one morning when he was pulled over by police, who found a gun in the trunk of his car.

He was later arrested for felony weapon charges, which was when he had his mugshot taken.

Stockton Police Department shared the photo on Facebook, explaining that a number of arrests had been made as part of a mission to tackle an increase in shootings and robberies in the area.

However, many people weren't talking about the success of the police raid, instead concentrating on the felon they dubbed the 'Blue-Eyed Bandit' and 'Jail Bae', with the post racking up tens of thousands of likes.

Stockton Police Department

Meeks has since turned his back on crime, having managed to forge a successful career in fashion - something that probably wouldn't have been possible had it not been for that viral mugshot.

Speaking to BuzzFeed a couple of months ago, Meeks spoke about what was going through his mind when he had the photo taken.

He said: "A lot of people ask me what was I think about in that moment. To be honest, I wasn't gonna be able to pick my son up from school, fall asleep with him every night - all that s*** was over."

The morning after Meeks got locked up, his friend came to visit him.

Meeks continued: "He was like, 'Man, you went viral!'

"And at this time, before my case, I think I had one MySpace account back in 2003, so I had zero idea what 'viral' meant.

"And he was just like, 'You're all over the world'.


"After that, every day I would look out of my little door [in prison] and I'm on every single news station. It doesn't matter what channel you flip to, I was on it. Daytime TV, I'm on everything.

"Within 72 hours of going viral, I literally had between 300 and 400 letters come in every single day."

Meeks said he would pass the letters out to other prisoners in his block, and they would read them out loud to everyone.

"There was a lot of nudes, a lot of beautiful women sent a lot of beautiful pictures," he said.

"So to all the ladies that sent those pictures: thank you, you helped me through a lot of my time!"


Meeks added that police didn't seem too happy that he'd gone viral, as his mugshot had only been shared to show progress that officers had been making in tackling gun crime.

While still incarcerated, Meeks received about 45 contracts for jobs in everything from modelling to movies.

But it wasn't until he got out of prison that things started to go especially 'crazy', as Meeks was thrust into the limelight from his viral fame.

"It's a whole new world, and I really hit the ground running," he said, recalling how he ended up walking 'the biggest fashion shows' and shooting 'five movies in 10 months'.

Meeks, now a father of two, added: "It's been a wild, wild ride, and I'm so grateful."

Featured Image Credit: Stockton Police Department

Topics: Entertainment, Celebrity