Dieunerst Collin then and now
Dieunerst Collin then and now

From “Memes to Dreams” is the life motto for Dieunerst Collin and his rise to internet stardom.

You might remember 9-year-old Collin when he went viral in 2013 as he gave the camera a mean side-eye while holding a Popeyes cup of lemonade. Well, now the 19-year-old offensive lineman at Division II Lake Erie College finally secured a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with the fast-food chain.

The deal came through thanks to a social media campaign pushed by Collin and his fan base along with other fast food brands. He identified himself after winning the state championship with his football team, the East Orange Jaguars, in 2021.

A Twitter follow, @Jerseystar973, shared a photo with Collin’s image and tweeted “From Popeyes to State Champion!!,” which set the stage for the endorsement deal.

Popeyes now features him on a billboard in his hometown of East Orange, NJ. Popeyes posted a video Instagram of Collins narrating his journey:

“This is where our story started,” Collin narrates. “The moment that made us a meme. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t understand it. But don’t worry little man, we didn’t let it stop us. Because the more we grew, the tougher we got. We learned to lean in. We turned the attention into motivation, and the motivation into championships. This is where our story started and now it’s where a new one begins.”

This will just be a taste of the new content both sides will be dropping later on in the year.