Culture 

Meet the Original Creator of the "Little Miss" Memes

You can thank @juulpuppy.

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6,821 Hypes

Meet the Original Creator of the "Little Miss" Memes

You can thank @juulpuppy.

The “Little Miss” characters of our childhood have taken over our Instagram feeds seemingly overnight as we’ve taken to updating the playful, cherubic illustrations to capture our more complicated adult feelings.

Memes like “Little Miss Always Cries When She’s Angry” and “Little Miss Trauma Dumps on Close Friends Story” offer the familiar digital art form’s signature sense of cringe-worthy relatability. Naturally, brands followed suit, tasking their social media managers with creating their own versions in an attempt to stay relevant in the midst of the zeitgeist.

While the internet’s latest obsession seems to have gone viral instantaneously, @juulpuppy has been reimagining the ’70s cartoons for months. Followed by model Emily Ratajkowski, the meme account is famous for its bitingly honest yet humorous take on life as a 20-something-year-old in our dystopic and confusing times. When she’s not reinventing English author Roger Hargreaves’ drawings as anthropomorphic beings suffering from weed psychosis, the meme creator is channeling her trauma through large busted avatars who are ready for “fearful avoidant girl summer.”

Birthed from the early days of internet culture, memes have been long used to help a generation express and navigate the experience of living in such confounding times. The inescapable impact of late-stage capitalism married with the brain-damaging onslaught of bad news, devastating climate change and political upheaval has led many young people to take solace in funny-not-funny online jokes. It’s unsurprising that today, many have returned to the nostalgic images to make light of what they’re going through.

While the internet and memes’ very nature is unconducive to art’s traditional rules of credit, it’s important to acknowledge the original source of our new, favorite digital trend. Hypebae spoke to the original creator of the Little Miss Memes about the inspiration behind the trending sensation, coping with mental health through humor and more. Continue scrolling to learn more about @juulpuppy.

As the original creator of the “Little Miss” memes, can you explain the motivation behind them and what prompted you to post them at the time?

I made these “Little Miss” memes in April of 2022 with hopes that they would build community and help young women feel seen and represented, while also being able to laugh at themselves. I try to post memes very regularly, almost daily and in late April, I was finding that a lot of what I was posting was pretty dark and I felt a bit stuck in terms of new content. Sometimes, when I am having a hard time coming up with ideas, I will try to remember children’s books I’ve enjoyed or comics that I could turn into meme formats, for example, I’ve used Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus images, Diary of A Wimpy Kid images, and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie images as well. So I remembered the Little Miss books and knew I had found a perfect format to share with my followers. After my first ten images got so much support, I decided to create more, including the Mr. Men memes.

What led you to create memes and establish a presence on social media?

I started creating memes at a time when I was struggling very deeply with mental health issues about four years ago. I was very isolated at my high school and found that posting jokes online gave me some sense of community, even when my following was very small. Once I got to college, and my mental health began to improve I started to make jokes about dating and nightlife in New York, which helped give me my first 1,000 followers. From there, I continued to post memes referencing mental health, living in the city, feminism and trauma and the account continued to grow.

 

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Why do you think they’re going viral now? What are your thoughts on plagiarism online and the lack of credit you’ve been given? Is it an inevitable part of social media?

I think these memes went viral this second time because someone posted them on TikTok. When I first posted them in April, they reached a few hundred-thousand people and I gained around 10,000 followers and it slowed down for a while. Then, someone posted a TikTok of my memes about a week ago, credited me, and I started to gain followers again because people found my Instagram. Within a day or two of the TikTok post, there were hundreds of TikToks featuring the Little Misses and I realized this was going to get really big. More people started following me on Instagram and resharing my memes from April since they were pinned at the top of my profile. And then came the Instagram accounts focused on “Little Miss” memes, the biggest one being @littlemissnotesapp which now has a million followers. All of a sudden, it was everywhere.

At first, I felt really frustrated but I’ve come around to see that the idea of a singular creator of a meme is a bit flawed. Sure, I had the idea to recaption Roger Hargreave’s images but it’s much larger than me now. I only asked for credit because I saw people getting hundreds of thousands of followers off an idea I knew was directly inspired by my posts. I’ve received some backlash in asking for credit, with people saying this has been done before, which very well could be true, but it was my posts that made the format gain the traction it has today. Being a meme creator is bizarre because everyone loves memes and wants memes, but if you ask for credit or say what you are doing has a valuable space in entertainment, people dismiss you and tell you that you are entitled or delusional.

 

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A post shared by make me fame i sexy (@juulpuppy)

As a meme creator, can you speak to the catharsis the playful irony provides for a generation inundated with bad news who may not be in a position to change their circumstances? Why is nostalgia so important right now?

Sometimes, especially being Gen Z, it feels like playful irony is all we’ve got. There is so much violence and cruelty in the world, I think if you can share a joke that makes someone laugh, even for a few seconds, that really means something. Whether it’s posting a meme or talking to a friend or doing a stand-up routine, comedy is so important. I do fear that the ironic content goes too far sometimes though. It’s really important to me that I find ways to make space for joy and laughter in horrific times without becoming desensitized to the constant tragedy that surrounds us. It sounds so cheesy but we need to focus on compassion and love if we are going to find a way forward. I worry that sometimes it’s easier to make jokes about our pain or fear, than to actually feel our feelings. To me, nostalgia is tricky because it can be very comforting, but also very addictive. I think there’s a healthy dose of nostalgia. I don’t know if I’ve found it yet.

While memes provide relatable content, do you think their impact on society is harmful or helpful as the majority of its content reflects negative aspects of life?

I don’t know if the majority of memes reflect the negative aspects of life. I think there are lots of fun, happy memes out there. I can’t decide if the impact of memes on society is harmful or helpful though, I guess only time will tell. I do think about it sometimes especially when I remember thousands of my followers are 13 to 17 years old. I think many kids are finding a home in irony and cynicism online before they are finding love, community, and joy in real life and that really scares me. For me, memes have helped me see myself in community with others and find my own voice, but at times they have made me feel even lonelier. I worry about the long-term impacts of social media use more broadly, but I don’t know if memes can specifically be held accountable for that.

Do you have a favorite meme that’s been created as a rendition recently?

I can’t pick! There are so many fun ones. I’ve been really loving seeing everyone’s interpretations. I did really love that Reese Witherspoon posted a Legally Blonde one (Little Miss Uses Legal Jargon In Everyday Life). What a fun movie, it’s a nostalgic fave of mine!

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