Woman From ‘Disaster Girl’ Meme Sells Original Photo For $430,000

by : Emily Brown on : 27 Apr 2021 17:40
Woman From 'Disaster Girl' Meme Sells Original Photo For $430,000Zoe Roth

I’m sure we’ve all been able to relate to the ‘Disaster Girl’ meme at some point, but one person evidently valued the image so much they were willing to fork out thousands of dollars for it. 

The iconic image has been spread far and wide across the internet over the last few years thanks to our beloved meme-culture, which allowed people to take the image of four-year-old Zoe Roth, seen smirking at the camera while a house burns down in the background, and adapt it to their own lives.


Now 21, Zoe is all too aware that her younger self has become a hero for internet users everywhere, but she was surprised to receive an email in February that told her she could actually sell the image as a non-fungible token, or NFT, with a potential profit of six figures.

Through the NFT, Zoe and her father Dave would be able to create a unique computer code for the original image of Zoe and control the future ownership of the image, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Zoe initially thought the deal sounded too good to be true, but after some consideration she decided to list the image on an auction site, where it could be sold for the cryptocurrency Ether, which equates to about $2,200 on average per unit.


The auction was live for 24 hours, starting at 6.00pm local time on April 16, and following a series of bids it finally sold for 180 Ether, which works out at about $430,000.

The buyer officially gained the NFT to the image, which was taken in January 2005 when Zoe and her family were living two blocks away from a fire station.

On the day the photo was taken, the family had noticed the fire department was putting out a controlled fire purposefully set on a nearby piece of property to clear the land, and Dave felt it was the perfect time to test out his new camera.


The amateur photographer often uploaded his work to photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and later began entering photography contests, with the image of Zoe winning JPG magazine’s ‘Emotion Capture’ contest three years after it was taken.

As part of Dave’s prize, the image of Zoe was uploaded to the JPG website. The family aren’t sure when it was first shared, but before long the picture of the mischievous-looking youngster had been spread far and wide.

In selling the NFT, Zoe and her father will now receive 10% of the sale any time the NFT is bought in the future. The 21-year-old plans to share the money between her four family members, as her father is the one who snapped the picture in the first place.


Commenting on the impressive turn of events, Zoe told the Raleigh News & Observer: ‘Nobody who is a meme tried to do that, it just ended up that way — Is it luck? Is it fate? I have no idea. But I will take it.’

Following the sale, Zoe is researching non-profits that she plans to donate her portion to, while Dave has said he will likely use the money to fix the air conditioning in his car.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Fire, internet, meme, NFT, Now


Raleigh News & Observer
  1. Raleigh News & Observer

    After years as a meme, ‘Disaster Girl’ takes control of her image — with a hefty payoff