Justin Bieber is sort of revolutionary…a beast that was spawned in the primordial ooze of a pre-Google-owned YouTube who throttled himself into full-blown celebrity. In a way, his evolution to stardom is more impressive than Kim Kardashian’s. Kim K might be the empress of selfies or whatever, but she got a head start. Justin Bieber was a 12-year-old nerd from Nowheresville, Canada with an Internet connection. If you look at where he is now and where he was then, it’s really kind of amazing.
I remember when that’s all he was—an Internet celeb—consigned to conversations that took place in the back of suburban Claire’s, a name that lived in the pre-pubescent whispers of Delia*s or the Limited Too. It was only a decade ago, but this was a very different time: only rich kids had data-capable smart phones or even iPods that played vids and a lot of our internet time was still relegated to “the computer room,” or the family computer otherwise located in the kitchen, if not a dedicated space. If you were a tween in mid-2000’s, Justin Bieber was a secret between you and your friends, a little badge of your digital almost-native identity.
And then, seemingly overnight, the kid blew up. It was 2008, you were in seventh or eighth grade, and suddenly Justin Bieber was snatched up by Usher, who you kind of liked, but you were born a little bit too late to be anything of a real fan. His face was on everything. In the tech world, we like to talk about Unicorns. And that’s exactly what Justin Bieber was. Not quite a Facebook, sure, but definitely an AirBnB.
And today is his birthday. He’s a whopping 22 years old. We’ve come a long, long way, Justin. Your fans—your original fans, that is—are graduating college, maybe sitting at their first office job in the Big Smoke… and you, you’re driving a leopard print Audi (just one car in his $1.2 million collection) and getting arrested in Miami for drag racing.
And if that isn’t enough for you, here’s another pick from his very large collection of cars:
Photo credits: TMZ, Kerosene Photography