One afternoon in 2014, Alex LaBeouf was about to have his life turned upside down by one innocent photo and tweet. Three years later, let’s take a look at whatever happened to Alex from Target.
Nowadays, becoming an internet celebrity is an aspiration for many young people. For some, it takes years of hard work and dedication to become famous on social media. However, for others, it’s simply a case of being in the right place at the right time. For Alex LaBeouf, it was definitely a case of right place, right time. In 2014, this checkout worker from Target would become instantly famous overnight… And he didn’t even have to lift a finger.
AKA Alex from Target
Alex LaBeouf’s day started just like any other. He put on his Target uniform, went to work, and started scanning groceries. However, on that fateful day in 2014, Alex’s life was about to be turned completely upside down. The 16-year-old was unaware when a teenage girl snapped his photo, thinking the cashier was cute. The girl then put the photo on Twitter, and that’s when things got interesting. Turns out, quite a few people agreed that ‘Alex from Target’ was cute.
Blowing up Twitter
Alex had no idea what was happening on Twitter, as his phone had run out of battery. It was only when his manager came up to him and said that his picture was blowing up Twitter, that Alex first learned of his internet fame. At the time, the tweet had around 30,000 retweets – Alex from Target was going viral! His manager allowed him to charge his phone up and check the messages… However, not all was as he’d imagined.
Crashing the phone
Somehow, Alex LaBeouf’s number had been leaked on Twitter, and his phone had over 10,000 messages and Twitter notifications, just waiting to be read. The sheer influx of activity on his phone caused it to crash – it was totally overloaded. Not only were people messaging his phone, but word had got out which Target Alex worked at. People started flocking to the store in the hope of getting their photo taken with the new internet celebrity.
Am I famous now?
By the time Alex left work (early to avoid people trying to get photos with him), he had gained thousands of new followers on Twitter, but this was just the beginning. He posted on Twitter, “Am I famous now?” But the self-confessed introvert wasn’t sure how he felt about being catapulted into Twitter stardom. The Texan questioned what it all meant and whether it was going to change his life… Just before he got a phone call from Ellen Degeneres.
The Ellen Show
Within days of going viral on Twitter, Alex LaBeouf was flown to Burbank, California, to be a guest on The Ellen Show. Wearing his Target uniform, the Texan teenager was interviewed by Ellen Degeneres, where she asked him how he felt about his fame. She asked whether he felt obligated to keep his fans updated on social media, and he admitted that he felt “pressured” by it all. He even confessed to receiving a few marriage proposals since he became an internet celebrity.
Three years later, Alex from Target has been on one heck of a journey! The first few months after going viral, things were all go for the new celebrity. LaBeouf admitted that things were amazing in the beginning, as he was spending a lot of time on TV and in the news. He also went on tour and met a lot of celebrities, many of whom became friends – including Nick Jonas! Alex really was riding high on his fame, but would it last?
Feeling the pressure
Once the dust began to settle, however, Alex admitted that he started to really feel the pressures of fame. The stress of being in the public eye sometimes felt too much for the teenager, who sometimes found it hard to even leave the house. Going from a regular teenager, growing up in Texas and working at Target, to a celebrity who couldn’t get any privacy, was hard work for Alex. After the first few months of fun, stardom began to take its toll.
With so much going on in his life, school took a backseat for Alex. He spent so much time making special appearances, jet setting around America, and even going on tour, that his high school took him to court for poor attendance. Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with his new stardom and school, Alex started homeschooling instead. This gave him the freedom he needed to be able to balance both his education and his celebrity status.
Alex on tour
In 2015, a year after becoming an internet celebrity, Alex LaBeouf was chosen to be part of DigiTour; a festival filled with the most famous social media stars, that visits several cities around America. It was the first time Alex had been out of state without his parents and he admits the whole thing was “pretty crazy.” On the tour he also made friends with YouTube sensation, Sam Pottorff, who Alex actually lived with for a little while in California later on.
During DigiTour 2015, Alex was asked to do the worm on-stage but it didn’t all go to plan. Although Alex had managed to pull the move off at previous shows, one night he was extremely tired due to staying up all night. As he went to do the worm, he did a handstand before, and immediately lost his balance. He managed to face plant the floor in front of the whole audience! Alex was thoroughly embarrassed but just laughed it off.
Social media noob
Alex admitted that he was a total newbie when it came to the world of social media. Not knowing quite how to handle his internet fame or how to keep up with his social networking accounts, Alex felt completely out of his depth. However, fellow members of DigiTour were a source of inspiration for the accidental celebrity. He said that it was crazy hanging out with all the Viners (when Vine was still a thing) and they were just full of ideas constantly.
Learning from the pros
Being part of the DigiTour enabled Alex to make lots of new friends, but that’s not all. The advice that he was given by fellow social media celebrities was invaluable! LaBeouf admitted that when he first started he didn’t even know how to work a camera, but the pros taught him everything he needed to know. Alex set up his own YouTube channel shortly after, but poor sound quality caused issues and the star admitted he still had a lot to learn.
At the end of 2017, Alex LaBeouf decided to bring his YouTube channel back to life with a video called RIP #AlexFromTarget. No, the internet celebrity hadn’t passed on – but his old persona had! Alex no longer wanted to be known as Alex from Target, he is now Alex Lee. His first video was recorded to update fans on what his life had been like since he was last in the public eye, and it received a whopping 23,000 views.
Dark side of fame
Alex has since gone on to talk about some of the dark sides of fame, including a story about someone he hired to manage his social media accounts. The manager stole over $30,000 from the star, but Alex decided to keep quiet about it to save face. Over the last few years, other managers had offered to help the teenager, but gave up not long after starting. Alex, who now lives in LA, hasn’t let it get the better of him, however.
Not long after Alex became an internet sensation, reports surfaced that it may have just been a marketing ploy all along. A marketing company named Breakr claimed that they were behind the photo, with the CEO saying, “We wanted to see how powerful the fangirl demographic was by taking an unknown good-looking kid and Target employee from Texas to overnight viral sensation.” However, both Alex and the girl who took the photo said they had never even heard of Breakr.
Alongside his popular YouTube channel, Alex Lee also now updates his fans on a social network called YouNow. This site allows Alex to live stream and video chat with his fans, which he does often. With over 300,000 followers on the site, the star has no shortage of people wanting to see what he’s up to! However, some eagle-eyed fans may have noticed that there’s always someone else in his videos and on his live streams… Kelsey.
Alex and Kelsey
Alex met Kelsey Carpenter not long after moving to Los Angeles. The brunette beauty lived nextdoor to Alex’s new home and the pair met in the hallway of their apartments. Alex invited Kelsey out for dinner at Denny’s and the pair hit it off straight away. Unfortunately, the first picture of the two together broke hearts around the world! Kelsey is regularly in Alex’s videos, because he admitted to feeling too nervous to go it alone (aww).
Getting back into it
Over the last few months, Alex has really been getting back into the swing of things with social media. His new YouTube and YouNow accounts have been flourishing, and the internet celebrity admitted he had missed his life in the limelight. He admitted he liked the feeling of everyone being nice to him again and having fans. After his first video, he realized how much he had missed being active on social media and decided to get back into it.
An impressive following
Alongside his YouTube and YouNow accounts, Alex also has an Instagram page which has a whopping 1.5 million followers! His photos range from modeling shots through to everyday life; including working out at the gym, hanging out with his girlfriend and friends, and of all his cool new toys (just look at that Jeep). He also posts awesome photos of him and other celebrities, including Nick Jonas and Laura Prepon from Orange is the New Black.