Sure, you've got Al Gore and Selena Gomez, Green Day, and, next weekend, Justin Timberlake. But there's one star at the South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Festival that everyone is coming to see: Tard the Grumpy Cat!
Even celebrities at the huge Austin, Texas, event are clamoring to meet Grumpy Cat. Watch out Nina Dobrev … because your boyfriend and "Vampire Diaries" co-star, Ian Somerhalder, is getting in the action, even Instagramming a pic of himself with the ferocious feline! "Me and my new love…" he teased.
For those not familiar with Grumpy Cat, here's a quick lesson: She's an 11-month-old, mixed breed feline from Morristown, Arizona, whose real name is Tardar Sauce (a.k.a.: Tard), and she's famous for the pouty "nothing impresses me" face with which she was born.
Now she's become a huge Internet meme and tech world star. Tard the Grumpy Cat belongs to a woman named Tabatha Bundesen, whose brother Bryan Bundesen first posted photos of her on Reddit, and that's when things went viral. Since then, fans from around the world contribute to her fame by posting fatalistic sayings over pictures of her. The tech website Mashable invited the Bundesens to bring Tard to SXSW. Even Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley is a fan -- he reportedly snuck into line to get a pic with Tard.
If you're looking for numbers, Grumpy Cat's website gets around 1.5 million unique user hits a month. Her Facebook page has more than 600,000 "Likes," she has a YouTube channel with more than 90,000 subscribers and 15 million video views, and too many Twitter accounts to keep track of -- although, the official one, has over 50,000 followers.
Just one example of one of his funnier tweeted pictures this past week:
According to CNN, the Bundesens won't say how much money they've made off Tard, although it's in "the mid-five figures." They're also very sensitive about being accused of exploiting her, so she's only available to the public for a few hours a day.
So, what's next for Tard the Grumpy Cat? The sky's the limit for online cat memes, and Tard's the current it-girl goddess. She's already got Somerhalder wrapped around her paw. Rocker Andrew W.K. tweeted that he was "partying hard" with Grumpy Cat at SXSW (check out the hilarious pic on his Flickr!). So, who will be next?
Tard, wanna meet Timberlake?
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