At the start of the Cooper River Bridge Run Zeddie “Watkins” Little was an anonymous guy running a 10-K road race in his hometown. Less than 24 hours after crossing the finish line, Little was an Internet sensation nicknamed “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy.”
That rapid rise to fame was all because of a “fluke,” the 25-year-old New York City resident revealed today on “Good Morning America.”
“I was running and waving at a friend that was on the sidelines and I just kind of turned around and guess I just caught the camera lens,” Little explained. “And that was history.”
History, for Little, who goes by his middle name, Watkins, happened when the spectator who snapped the picture of him running the Charleston, S.C., road race on March 31 posted it on the Internet sharing board Reddit.
The GQ-worthy photo went viral and inspired a Facebook page that racked up more than 31,000 subscribers, attracted more than 26,000 followers on Twitter and caught well over one million views on photo-sharing and news sites.
“I find the humor in all of it. I just think it’s great,” Little said of the response. “It’s the most flattering way to get spread across the Internet.”
Little’s perfectly coiffed minute of fame was a fluke for the photographer too.
“I had a few dozen friends in the race but I couldn’t find them but I found Zeddie there,” Will King, the amateur photographer responsible for Little’s new-found fame, said today on “GMA.” ”
“There’s tons of people, but he was the one,” King said. “He was actually just looking straight at the camera, smiling, the sun was sitting his hair as it was just blowing in the wind. He’s just an all-around photogenic guy.”
The photo inspired an online caption competition where people pasted text on the photo of Little.
“Gets Arrested, Mugshot Submitted to Glamour Magazine,” one said.
“Used For Stock Photo in Picture Frames, No One Replaces It,” another one said.
“I kind of feel honored to be part of a joke that’s in good spirits because the Internet can be a bit vicious and jokes can get bent the wrong way, but these are all for the most part positive,” Little said. “It’s funny that everybody’s kind of taken a like to it.”
Little has laid low since becoming an Internet celebrity – no modeling contract in his future, he confirmed – but is now using his fame to help a good cause.
This November, Little will run the New York City marathon to raise money for the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.
“He passed away from an aortic dissection and this raises money for research and awareness,” Little said of Ritter, the former “Three’s Company” star who died unexpectedly in 2003 at the age of 54. “I’m so honored to actually be a part of this.”