November 15, 2006
BEIJING (AFP) – A chubby-faced Shanghai gas station intern known as “Little Fatty” has vaulted to the top of Internet fame in China thanks to cheeky Photoshop artists who are turning the plump youth into a pop icon.
It all started three years ago when Qian Zhijun, then a 16-year-old high school student, was attending a traffic safety class and someone snapped a picture of his rotund, rosy-cheeked face.
His suspicious-looking sideways glance at the camera soon made its way on to the Internet.
That picture of “Xiao Pang” (“Little Fatty”), as he was soon dubbed, has since been morphed onto other iconic visages including the Mona Lisa, Mount Rushmore in the United States, Marilyn Monroe and other well-known celebrities.
It has also spawned websites, blogs and numerous fan clubs.
The original photograph from an unknown source (above).
Little Fatty’s biography, which reveals that he’s currently 19, lives in Shanghai, and weighs 98 kg. One day someone snapped his photo during a school traffic safety activity and, “Little Fatty’s soulful, eye-catching gaze quickly conquered the hearts of net friends, setting off a crazy flood of Photoshopping and making Little Fatty unwittingly into a star known around the world.”
There’s also a gallery of “Little Fatty” spoofs.