In the vast realm of internet culture, where memes and viral sensations emerge and disappear with lightning speed, few figures have captured the collective imagination quite like GigaChad.
Originating from an art project by Berlin-based photographer Krista Sudmalis, GigaChad has become synonymous with the ultimate embodiment of male attractiveness and confidence.
While the character initially gained traction within certain online communities, its influence soon spread far and wide, generating a fervor that continues to captivate audiences.
In this article, we delve into the backstory of GigaChad, exploring its origins, spread, and the unexpected reactions it elicited from its creator, Ernest Khalimov.
It was on a fateful day in October 2017 that an anonymous Redditor shared a link to the @sleekntears Instagram page in the bustling confines of the r/bodybuilding subreddit. The post quickly garnered attention, attracting over 495 upvotes and 100 comments within a short span. Around the same time, on the infamous /pol/ board of 4chan, a photograph of Ernest Khalimov made its appearance, accompanied by the moniker “Gigachad.” This name bestowed upon Khalimov represented the epitome of masculinity and allure, an embodiment of the archetypal “Chad Thundercock” that had gained notoriety within certain online communities.
As the weeks progressed, the legend of Gigachad began to grow. Lookism Forums became a breeding ground for discussions surrounding this ultra-attractive persona, christening Khalimov as the “Ultra Chad.” On October 24th, 2017, an image surfaced on Imgur, humorously suggesting that the Gigachad was attempting to clone himself. The fascination with Gigachad persisted, as Redditor ForgottenShark shared a photograph of Khalimov under the title “Gigachad, the destroyer of virgins” on the r/Bossfight subreddit in February 2018. The legend was spreading its wings.
In the realm of incel culture, Gigachad took on an even more profound significance. On April 27th of that same year, a Redditor named GoldFuzzy uploaded an image macro aptly titled “Full Explanation of GIGACHAD” to the r/braincels subreddit, solidifying the character’s association with this particular online subculture. The persona of Gigachad became a symbol of desire, the embodiment of the sexual allure that some within these communities yearned to possess.
In March 2021, the popularity of Gigachad experienced a resurgence following the utilization of a montage of his photographs in the video version of the Average Fan vs. Average Enjoyer meme format. Content creator Socialism Done Left played a significant role in revitalizing Gigachad’s influence, garnering over 190,000 views on YouTube and 134,000 views on Twitter within a mere month. The video featured a sped-up version of “itzmefraz episode 7” by YouTuber itz me Fraz, portraying the “fan,” while a slideshow of Gigachad images represented the “enjoyer.” The captivating melody of Bring Me The Horizon’s “Can You Feel My Heart” accompanied this visual spectacle.
Following Socialism Done Left’s video, the Gigachad meme format gained viral popularity, with numerous versions flooding social media platforms throughout February and March 2021. The character had transcended its humble origins, captivating the attention of a wider audience beyond its initial niche following. Ernest Khalimov, the man behind the lens, had unwittingly given birth to an online sensation that seemed to have taken on a life of its own.
Until April 2021, Khalimov maintained a rather enigmatic presence online. Despite the escalating popularity of the Gigachad persona and the Average Enjoyer meme, Khalimov refrained from addressing his likeness being used in these contexts. He even disabled comments on his Instagram posts, adding an air of mystery to his persona. This silence, combined with his minimal online activity prior to his meme notoriety, only fueled the fascination surrounding Gigachad.
However, on April 13th, 2021, Ernest Khalimov finally broke his silence. Writing from his Instagram account, berlin.1969, he acknowledged the Gigachad memes, expressing that he enjoyed them. In a surprising turn of events, Khalimov invited everyone to comment on his post, inviting further engagement with the community that had embraced his creation. This unexpected response shattered the illusion of an untouchable figure and revealed Khalimov’s appreciation for the humorous and imaginative interpretations of his work.
Ten days later, on April 23rd, Khalimov once again addressed the Gigachad phenomenon in another Instagram post. He expressed his enjoyment of the comments, highlighting how they painted him as a far more intriguing individual than he perceived himself to be. Khalimov’s unexpected embrace of the Gigachad persona and his willingness to engage with the community marked a significant departure from his previous elusive stance.
The impact of Gigachad continued to reverberate throughout internet culture, resonating with individuals who found fascination in this archetype of ultimate male desirability. With Ernest Khalimov’s unexpected participation, the boundaries between creator and creation became blurred, adding an intriguing layer to the ongoing Gigachad narrative.
As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of internet culture, figures like Gigachad remind us of the power of collective fascination and the potential for unexpected connections. Ernest Khalimov’s art project, once confined to a niche audience, managed to transcend its original context, captivating a diverse range of individuals and communities along the way. The story of Gigachad serves as a testament to the profound impact that online phenomena can have on our collective consciousness, blurring the lines between reality and imagination in the process.