It’s a story like only the Internet can produce: it only took a few seconds for a video to go around the globe and cause general hilarity. This is what happened to Eva Colas, Miss Corsica 2017 and former first runner-up Miss France 2018. In 2018, she participated in Miss Universe as the first runner-up to Maëva Coucke. During the international competition, each candidate must state her country. Under the pressure of the spotlight, some, like Eva Colas at the time, show emotion in their voices. The cry then becomes awkward, and it doesn’t take much for the Internet machine to get carried away. Already in 2018, the young woman had become the laughing stock of the Internet, in particular for her cry but also her outfit evoking the World Cup won by France.
Four years later, the video resurfaced, this time on Tik Tok, and became a meme. For several years now, Internet users have had fun repeating what has become the “Miss Universe Scream”, this cry uttered by the candidates of the international beauty contest. On the platform of short videos, it is difficult to know what will or will not go viral: the video of Eva Colas at Miss Universe 2018 then went around the Web, thanks to parodies and imitations of which Generation Z has the secret.
Parodies, remixes and virality: the path of the meme
On Tik Tok, the hashtag #missunivers2018 has more than a billion views, and there is already a hashtag #missuniversescreaming (the “Cry of Miss Universe” in VF) which has accumulated tens of thousands of views. Users of the platform seem to have become obsessed with the cry of the Frenchwoman, in an extremely dense humorous recovery in just a few days. Eva Colas has become a reference, so much so that she was parodied by comedian and actress Aubrey Plaza in the famous American sketch show “Saturday Night Live”.
Eva Colas has therefore become, in spite of herself, a meme. Her image has entered the public domain of the Internet, and she no longer controls it. On Instagram, Tik Tok or YouTube, we parody his cry, we make fun of it, without the image or without the sound, by imitating it or by affixing it to animals, or situations of everyday life. An art of remix which is at the very basis of Internet culture, which spends its time picking up elements from the four corners of the Web to spit it out in a new form, and this incessantly.
And the main concern in all this?
With hundreds of thousands of viewers all over the world, and the most watched beauty competition internationally, the girl’s stress was great. “We put so much pressure on ourselves before going on stage, saying that we have to do it well,” explained Eva Colas in a documentary produced by France 3 Corse a few years ago. “I came in all the way, with all the lights on me, wanting to give it my all and my voice went completely off the rails. I laughed afterwards,” she added.
Becoming a meme can happen to anyone. Remember little Jonathan or Jeffrey Dahmer….. For Eva Colas, it is better to laugh about it, even if the moment still pursues her. In an Instagram post, the young woman decides to make self-mockery about her virality. “2 seconds that have followed me for 4 years…” she declares, a glass of wine in her hand. If the former Miss seems to laugh, we must not forget that becoming a meme is not without risk: between teasing virality and cyberbullying, sometimes there is only one step.