Who is Selfie Kid? He’s My Neighbor!

Scituation Journalist Gets the Scoop from Ryan McKenna

%22Selfie+Kid%22+Poses+for+a+selfie+with+SHS+senior+Molly+Bonner

"Selfie Kid" Poses for a selfie with SHS senior Molly Bonner

Molly Bonner

Molly Bonner

"Selfie Kid" Poses for a selfie with SHS senior Molly Bonner

Molly Bonner, Staff Writer

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Countless Americans saw Ryan McKenna appear next to Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show. Social media blew up, and people questioned who Ryan McKenna was — and if he knew Timberlake at all. Now, America knows Ryan McKenna as the “Selfie Kid” — but to me, he is the kid who plays basketball in my driveway every time I try to back out my car. From my perspective, the story of “Ryantheselfiekid” is a little different.

When I first saw Ryan during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, I pointed him out to my mother and sister, and we agreed the kid on the TV looked a lot like our neighbor, Ryan McKenna. Minutes later, one of my neighbors posted on Instagram, claiming there were memes about one of her neighbors all over the Internet. Immediately, I went to Twitter and searched “selfie kid.” What appeared next might be shocking: there were millions of tweets, memes, and pictures of my neighbor Ryan McKenna. I turned back to my mom and sister and yelled, “I KNEW IT WAS HIM!”

On the day of the Super Bowl, I was set to fly back to Boston from Chicago, but my flight was canceled. So, instead, my mom, sister, and I watched the Super Bowl from my uncle’s house in downtown Chicago. It was great because we got to miss school, but my sister was not happy after she heard what was happening back in Scituate: while we were in Chicago, news vans were driving up and down our street knocking on neighbors’ doors. The media wanted to interview people about the “selfie kid.” They wanted to know who he is, how people know him, and all about his experiences.

It’s not every day that a kid from Scituate gains over 223,000 followers on Instagram and gets to meet Ellen DeGeneres. Overnight, it seemed, the spark of Hollywood was buzzing around town. Everyone wanted to know all about Ryan McKenna’s interviews, his life, and how it felt being famous.

Well, on Monday, February 12th, at around 8 p.m., I ran across the street to get the full scoop from Ryan himself. When I met with him, the first question I immediately asked was, “How was meeting Ellen?” He raved about how nice she was and how nice the people on the set were to him. Ryan is super excited about the opportunity to meet Justin Timberlake in the future, and he is very thankful for everything Ellen has done for him.

I was amazed to find out that one selfie sparked so many opportunities for Ryan. Not only was he on the Ellen DeGeneres Show — he also appeared on Good Morning America and in a new YouTube video with famous YouTuber Jake Paul. Thankfully, Ryan has a professional manager, Ishan Goel, to guide him on his way to stardom.

Of course, I was astounded to hear that Ryan has a manager at such a young age. Then he told me the story of how his manager found him, and I was shocked. Apparently, after the Super Bowl, Ryan was attacked with media. In a video, he held up his phone to show the selfie when an Instagram notification appeared on his phone. His current manager took a screenshot of the image, zoomed in until he could see the Instagram username for Ryan McKenna, followed him, and then instant messaged him through the app Instagram. From there, Goel has been mentoring McKenna.

Ryan said he was extremely nervous on the morning of his Good Morning America interview. He had gone to bed at 2:00 a.m. and had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. for the interview. This busy kid has been running around nonstop, making appearances, going on radio shows, and taking selfies with everyone. His latest video appearance was in a YoutTube video with Jake Paul. Ryan was given a tour of the Team 10 house, got to do donuts in Jake Paul’s driveway, and starred in a YouTube video! In the future, Ryan hopes to keep up this media attention by starting selfie challenges and a YouTube account of his own.

When I asked Ryan about his family and how his friends are reacting to his newfound popularity, he said his older brother Jack is not jealous of the attention he is getting. He is okay with it because he still gets to do everything Ryan is doing — such as meeting Ellen and going to LA.

Ryan said students at school are incredibly friendly to him — more people have been asking him to hang out, and everyone wants selfies. He also told me the sweatshirt he was wearing at the Super Bowl (with his Patriots jersey underneath) is now sold out at Sunday River ski resort, and he DOES NOT have a private jet. Ryan’s mom, Tracy McKenna, told me he is “not being paid for any of this, but he is enjoying meeting, talking to, and taking selfies with people from all over the world.”  

This may be Ryan McKenna’s quick bit of fame, but his moment will last forever in Super Bowl LII history.

 

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Who is Selfie Kid? He’s My Neighbor!