It can't be easy waking up to find that you've gone from Mr Anonymous to an internet star but it must be a lot harder when you haven't been involved with that journey at all and you don't want the notoriety that comes with being part of a meme that goes viral. If you've seen the Hide the Pain Harold meme and laughed at it, you'll know the face pretty well but what about the man behind it? A lot of sites wrong label him as a "senior stock photography model" but there's a lot more to the man than that.
Harold or Maurice
Various sites call the man in the picture "Harold". Others call him "Maurice." Neither name is correct. The model's name is Arató András and modelling isn't really what he does. He's a Hungarian engineer who grabbed the attention of a photographer when he uploaded a series of selfies to a Hungarian website, as he explained to The Independent, "A photographer seeking someone who looked like me found me and asked if I wanted to be his model."
Shocked and surprised
Arató wanted to find the photographer's images online and "At first I saw only normal stock photos where I was a doctor or a lawyer or a professor or something like this." So, he originally found what he was expecting to find then he found other images. "It was shocking at first. I was very surprised. There were some really funny texts and I enjoyed them, but there were also some brutal ones that were not so funny."
His reaction was the same as anyone else's – he wanted to take down the images. "But it's impossible; if your face has spread on the internet you can't do anything about it. You can close down a site but three new ones will appear." The photographers responsible for the awkward images don't want to work with him anymore, even though a lot of the blame has to be directed towards them. The sets, the costumes, the awkward "false" staging of the images are the reason they're unintentionally funny.
What about the pain?
Is Arató in pain in any of the images? "I don't think there is a pain inside me," he said in The Independent interview. "I think I'm rather a happy guy than a sad one." So why the "pain"? in the pictures? Arató believes that, "maybe, when you are in a shoot and asked to smile for minutes at a time, then your smile becomes frozen; it's not a natural smile anymore."
Image – Hide the Pain Harold - Facebook