Before Tanisha of The Bad Girls Club, Nene Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, or Love and Hip Hop’s own Cardi B, there was Tiffany Pollard. She’s the elusive face behind staple memes on Twitter and the godmother of virality as we know it. With her larger-than-life personality, she’s made her way from the TV screen into the hearts of social media users everywhere. And you’ve probably used a Tiffany Pollard GIF without even thinking about its origins.
2006’s Flavor of Love was one of VH1’s first modern takes on reality television and dating shows. Contestants competed for a chance at love with Public Enemy’s Flava Flav and attended ceremonies to secure a gold clock at the end of each episode. Within the show’s first few episodes, Pollard, aka New York, had taken her place in the spotlight. She secured a lot of camera time, and clips of her segments have gone viral. Viewers couldn’t get enough. Based on how interesting she was as a personality, she ended up with her own spin-offs: I Love New York, New York Goes to Hollywood, and New York Goes to Work on VH1.
Pollard later appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn, and hosted the gay dating show The Ex as well as the digital series Brunch with Tiffany. Once the internet got a hold of these priceless moments, clips of Pollard took off in a big way. Here’s what you should know about Tiffany Pollard and her rise to internet icon.
The best Tiffany Pollard moments
What started as an argument over a hidden jacket on Flavor of Love resulted in one of the most sting-inducing clapbacks to grace reality television. “You guys are just jealous because all of my friends that know me tell me that I remind them of Beyoncé,” said Hottie, one houseguest accused of thievery, sending the house into a bout of chaotic conflict. After the other roommates reamed with laughter, Pollard stepped up to offset Hottie’s claims of likeness to Queen Bey.
“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Pollard says, “Beyoncé, I’m so sorry an ugly ass bitch would even say something like that. Are you fucking insane? Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Beyoncé, you know who you really like? You fucking look like Luther Vandross,” she continued.
2) New York On a Bed
Following the show, Google searches for Pollard hit peak popularity as of December 2007. She didn’t make her way to social media relevance, however, until around 2015. The iconic picture of New York sitting on a bed with sunglasses circulated after Twitter users began using the photo with relatable captions, according to Know Your Meme. Shortly after its spread on Twitter, BuzzFeed described it as the “Only Meme You Need This Summer.” In a recent interview with BuzzFeed writer Michael Blackmon, Pollard said she loved the meme “because it’s like everybody has used it or seen it, but y’all don’t know what was on my mind.”
Unlike other television stars whose popularity has fleeted, Pollard has transformed her 15 minutes of fame into a fortune by being herself. Beyond anything else, her relatability is what has enabled her to transcend. Her weight as a cultural icon has even earned her a museum exhibit dedicated to her top moments.
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Tiffany Pollard GIFs
Tiffany Pollard reaction memes have become a language of their own on social media. A picture of Pollard can easily convey annoyance, and a GIF of a wide-eyed Pollard can be used to express your love for Beyoncé.
Here are a few of the most popular Tiffany Pollard reaction memes you may have seen across the internet:
1) Pollard rubbing her temples and looking exasperated
2) Pollard smiling and nodding—while holding a knife close to her face
3) Some moments aren’t worth your time, as displayed here
Tiffany Pollard memes
Pollard GIFs and memes work for a number of situations—whether she mimics your own reactions or you’re looking for a way to properly convey disgust, annoyance, frustration, elation, and more. Pretty much anything but a total lack of confidence.
She can capture in a single expression the nameless feeling that accompanies phrases such as “I cannot.”
Plus, there’s a Tiffany for every sign.
But for more than their hilarious applications, Pollard’s melodramatic antics helped her earn a special place in our hearts. Being true to herself, she created a lifetime of notability. Her candid spirit was a breakthrough since she offered a transparency each week that historic celebrity had never allowed. What you see is what you get with Pollard. So, in the age of social media where real and fake are often pooled together, she’s refreshing.
If there’s an internet hall of fame, Pollard deserves a shrine of dedication. And frankly, as long as memes are around, so will be Tiffany Pollard. For a generation of users whose sense of meme use is encyclopedia-like, well that’s a good thing. Because if you look just hard enough, there’s a little Tiffany Pollard in all of us.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Onaje McDowelle is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot. He is studying journalism and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has appeared in Austin Monthly magazine, GoodMusicAllDay, and Orange magazine.