It’s been more than two years since Damn Daniel and his white Vans went viral, but these days, the 16-year-old Internet sensation is just a regular teenager. Last year, he attended Riverside Polytechnic High School’s prom with his girlfriend, competed for the school’s swim team, and hung out with friends.
“My life hasn’t changed all that much,” Daniel told Rolling Stone last year. “I still go to high school, I’m still on the swim team, I’m still swimming. I haven’t dropped out or anything.” He added, “When it first happened, it was crazy.”
The then 14-year-old’s Instagram followers skyrocketed from 1,300 to around 700,000, although he said he doesn’t get overwhelmed in public now like he used to. “The pool deck had to get shut off and stuff. It’s not like that anymore. I still get people coming up to me, but it’s not to the point where I need security guys.”
In February 2016, Daniel’s bestie, Josh Holz, took a video of his outfit and posted it to Snapchat. The minimal commentary, “Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the white Vans,” caught the Internet’s attention and reached viral meme status almost instantly. The post received 45 million views in a matter of days — not too shabby for a dude just wearing sneakers and living life.
“I never set out to make a viral video, this was a total fluke,” Josh told the mag. “And some have reported that I posted my video on Vine and YouTube first, but that’s not true. The clips were from my Snapchat story. My friends kept telling me how funny they were so I decided to make a compilation video and tweet it. That’s how it all happened. Having my video go viral was mind-blowing. All the things that come with it is [sic] crazy.”
Josh added that his 15 seconds of fame didn’t go to his head, however, thanks to his family. “I’m thankful I was a teenager when it all happened — having my parents to lean on, guide, and support me through it all has kept me grounded.”
Today, while Josh debates where he will be heading to college, Daniel is focused on learning how to drive. “I have a lot of friends that drive so… I’m chilling in that sense. Honestly, I kind of want to drive. It would be cool for me, but it’s not like I don’t have… other options. [I’ve tried driving] just a little bit. I’ve always done a good job of it.” He added, “I also liked to drive [my parents’] boat and I’m pretty good at that, so I’ll be fine.”
Unfortunately for fans, Daniel hasn’t posted on social media since last year. But we think he’s just taking a well-deserved break from the spotlight.
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