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Earlier this week, a baby in a red knit cap took the internet by storm. Known as Ashton J. or the Honey Bun Baby, the kid’s mischievous smile and incredible swagger easily vaulted him to meme status. Folks simply couldn’t get enough of him.
But where did he come from? Turns out 22-month-old Ashton Howell resides in the Mobile, Alabama, area. And up until his meme status hit the big time, his mom had no idea he was such a superstar.
“My first thought was, ‘How did they get my baby’s pictures? I mean, I don’t have these pictures,'” Ashton’s mom, Ariel Griggs, told AL.com. She soon discovered it was her 18-year-old brother, Steven Small, who was to blame.
“He thought it was funny to dress Ashton up, putting his ‘little’ big head in caps and stuff and taking pictures of him,” Griggs explains. “I found out he has tons of pictures of Ashton on Instagram. I guess people just thought his pictures were cute and went from there.”
This isn’t Ashton J.’s first taste of fame, though it is his most widespread. The adorable little honey bun of a baby also appeared in a commercial for Griggs’ tax company that aired in the Mobile market.
So, how does Griggs reckon with her son’s viral fame? While she does take umbrage with the more risqué memes popping up, she’s more concerned about making sure Ashton J. doesn’t let his celebrity status go to his head. Oh, and maybe making a Gavin collaboration. After all, what could be better than two meme kids paling around?
Read the full interview with Ashton J.’s mom at AL.com.
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.