Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I accidentally became a meme, and this is that story. My name is Silvia Bottini, but you might know me as the First World Problems Meme. Before I became a meme, I was a stage actor and I was dating this photographer, who wanted me to be always camera-ready, because he was taking picture for the Microstock market. So I had to wear always makeup, no branded T-shirt, light colors the kind of outfit that it's good for Microstock pictures, because he was selling all of it. I was doing many jobs for him, all for free. Then one day he wanted to explore the market, the business in China to see if it was a good move to live there. And so we booked the tickets to go to Shanghai. It was 2008 and that's where the picture that became a meme was taken. It was practically a business travel where I was translating, modeling and being a tourist. During that travel, we happened to go to this really nice temple. He asked me to play different characters, different moods. So I was meditating, I was looking around taking pictures and then he asked me to cry. The picture was on a stock image site for a few years, and then on 2011 it became a meme. I had no clue what was a meme. I figure it out because a friend of mine who's actually a webmaster, texted me. He sent me the picture and it was like, "What is that?" With the Microstock, you always sign a liability form, but in this case, I've never signed for anything like that. And he was so excited. He was like, "You have no idea. This is fantastic! You're a meme!" Still, I couldn't understand what was this excitement about. I thought, "This is just an accident. I don't wanna be a meme, so it's gonna end soon, I'm sure." Well, I didn't go that way. I wasn't really happy because this exposures was about a picture where I wasn't even recognizable. On the other hand, I was kind of happy not to be recognized, because I didn't like the character that I've been given. This really superficial person was always crying about stupid stuff. I'm not that kind of person. I'd rather have been a crazy cat woman or the other meme, the one who's smiling at her house's on fire. Also didn't like the fact that everybody could literally write whatever they wanted on my face any time with no problem at all. I've read bad, bad, dirty sentences, really disrespectful. I mean, it hurt. I felt abused. That's my face. I've even been accused of being an ungrateful bitch. Sorry for the French. Because somebody was commenting that I should've been so happy and grateful for becoming a meme. At that point, I was really mad. I was like, "Come on, dude. Imagine yourself living your own life, and all of a sudden have somebody who has the right to do whatever they want with your face. You can become whatever character, you have no power over that." I didn't get any money. I was working mostly for free. I even discovered one day somebody asked me, "Why don't you sell us the rights of the picture?" And I was like, "Well, why not?" I mean, some people made a lot of money out of it. So I wrote to this ex-boyfriend and I told him, "Look, they wanna buy the rights of the picture. That would be awesome. What do you think?" He went like, "Oh, I already did." It was like, "What? You did and you didn't even send me a card, thanking me for having been working for free for years." I was in shock. So, I get it. People like the meme, and I'm really, really grateful for that. I really like to make people laugh. We need definitely much more smiles and laughing in this world, but still, I mean, I would like to be in charge of my face, to get my power back, and this is the reason why we thought with a couple of friends, we wanted to make a web series. I wanted to be interactive with the audience. I wanted to have all of the other meme folk in it. So they wrote a script, a really funny one. We shot a teaser. You don't recognize me? How about now? And we started the Crowdfunding, but we're not really tech-savvy. We didn't know to do that, so it didn't work out. It's still a dream. If you're interested in something like that, if you would like to help, visit my website and feel free to reach out.