I check in on Vine maybe two or three times a year. I start scrolling through my timeline, and I find I’ve spent fifteen minutes watching hundreds of clips. The medium makes my life feel as ephemeral as a six-second looping video.

This NYTimes piece on Vine sensation, Jerome Jarre, had me checking my timeline once again. He has over eight million followers, but started out by moving to New York with only $400.

Mention “that French Guy” to typical teenagers today, and they will know exactly which French guy you are talking about.

Jerome Jarre, they will tell you, is a 24-year-old from France who has become famous for making comical six-second videos on Vine, where he has eight million followers. The Vines include Mr. Jarre walking up to strangers in the street and hugging them, or hanging out with his best friend, a squirrel — though he pronounces it “sqiw-well” with his French accent.

Clips of his stunts have been viewed more than one billion times on Vine. He is so famous, that when he recently organized a meet-up in São Paulo, Brazil, the riot police were called in to quell the crowd of thousands.

What few teenagers know about Mr. Jarre, however, is that while his stardom took off in 2013, until last summer, he was essentially homeless in New York, surreptitiously sleeping on an office floor and using a promotional onesie from a start-up as a blanket. He showered in a nearby gym, gaining free access only because the young woman behind the counter recognized him from his videos, and scrounged for other people’s leftovers.

Jerome Jarre: The Making of a Vine Celebrity – NYTimes.com

HT: Dave Pell