by Nathan Calis

Becoming an iconic person is not always an easy task. From becoming the president of the United States like Barack Obama to becoming a heroic captain of a famous rugby team like Ritchie McCaw, a great deal of hard work is required to receive iconic status. However, there are easier ways to become an icon. Here are my top ten ways to become a world icon.

1. Become a viral Internet sensation

Featuring in a YouTube movie that then goes viral is one of the best ways to fast track yourself to iconic status. The ever-irritating Rebecca Black is probably the most noteworthy example of recent times, with her song Friday. After seven weeks on YouTube, her music video had already had over 125 million views and an iPad/iPhone application made about it. Before you try and tell me she is not iconic, I argue that Black is iconic of a whole lot of musicians who have had success despite having truly annoying voices; a group that encompasses the likes of Alanis Morissette, T-Pain, and the guy who sings that You’re Beautiful song.

Bieber is another who went viral on his way to global success. Once a boy singing to online audiences for fun, Bieber is now a 17-year-old sensation, who is worshipped by teenage girls everywhere. JBiebz, who is also iconic for his lesbian-style bowl cut, was named J-14’s most iconic teen last year. He also has a whole vocabulary associated with him. Any true Belieber will know that OJBD stands for Obsessive Justin Bieber Disorder and that Biebertastic is the best adjective to use when describing something that is amazing and totes Biebery.

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2. Star in a celebrity sex tape, or get your sister to

Sure, Kim Kardashian may have been somewhat famous pre-sextape. However, the now-model with a little extra junk in her trunk definitely rose in notoriety after being seen with RayJ’s junk in her trunk on their leaked sextape. The same year as the tape was leaked, Kim and her family starred in the E! series Keeping up with the Kardashians, which has had overwhelming success; even prompting spinoff series. Now the whole Kardashian family is a reality television icon.

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3. Blow shit up

Osama bin Laden would have to be one of the most iconic people in the world. Or at least, he was. Despite being hated all around the world for what he did in founding al Qaeda and his participation in the September 11th attacks, Osama bin Laden was the global face of terrorism. Up until recent events, he was also renowned for his hide-and-seek ability, eluding the Americans for at least a decade. While global terrorism may have made bin Laden an iconic figure, my recommendation is to stay away from this technique for obvious reasons.

Destroying icons, just as Osama bin Laden did with the Twin Towers, has proved in the past to be a quick way to gain iconic status. In a local, scaled-down example, I’m sure you’ve heard of Hone Heke. He is certainly an icon of the conflict towards the British authority during settlement times. Why? Well, partly because he took an axe to the flagstaff that flew the British flag in what we now call Russell.

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4. Marry an iconic person

Who knew of Kate Middleton before she started dating Prince William? Relatively speaking, no one.

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5. Be the first woman to do something

No, I’m not chauvinistically suggesting you’d be the first woman to actually do anything, and that you’re all lazy shits. What I am in fact indicating is that if you are the first woman to do something significant you can become quite the icon without having to do a whole lot of work. Think Jenny Shipley first female Prime Minister of New Zealand.

6. Bad American Idol audition

Chances are you could only name a couple of American Idol winners, and even fewer runners-up. However, if I quote to you: “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground”, chances are you know exactly who I am quoting. Whilst his name—Larry Platt—may not spring to mind, he is surely iconic of a whole lot of terrible American Idol auditions that have given us all plenty of laughs. And let’s be honest, that’s the only reason most people ever watch the program. So sing poorly, embarrassing yourself on a global television program and hope it gets picked up by someone and mixed with a dance track. You could be the next figurehead of bad singers who thought they had the goods.

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7. Public expressions of sports team support

Showing your absolute devotion to supporting a sports team or individual is a great way to gain iconic status. Consider Sonny Shaw for a moment. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, you must ‘shaw’ly recognize his image as it represents the kiwi sports fan—in some ways quite literally (see bird hanging from neck). Shaw can be spotted at every Blackcaps cricket game and several other sports, waving his New Zealand flags and carrying around his kiwi mascot. He intentionally sits in parts of the sports grounds that get the most on-screen time—something that has annoyed many; including broadcasters. However, the man is synonymous with the concept of Blackcaps fan, and that makes him an icon.
Warren “Possum” Allen deserves a mention here as someone else that took this path to becoming an icon. The Waikato rugby fan is best known for erecting a cherry picker outside the Mooloo and Chiefs games, then proceeding to literally rev up the crowd by thrashing his chain saw.

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8. Suck-off a president

Monica Lewinsky—enough said.

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9. Become an iconic badboy

Doing something that makes people hate you is a great way to get some sort of iconic status. The Osama bin Laden example demonstrates this, although you don’t have to go to the extremes that he has to become hated.
Think of the looters who robbed people at the time of the Christchurch earthquake. We all saw the pictures of them, either via the news or our Facebook feeds. Those guys were publicly humiliated, and represented what some would consider the scum of the earth.

You could fake cancer to become the kid that gets to light the Christmas tree at Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, then use that moment in the spotlight to do something that will truly upset people. A protest against the Jews, black people, or gays would be ideal for gaining global attention. However, everyone will hate you, and no one wants to be the hated icon.

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10. Become a TradeMe sensation

Nothing says I’m a ‘number 8 wire kiwi’ like making the most of what you’ve got. TradeMe’s cool auctions portal often features New Zealanders that have done this, often selling ordinary items for more than they’re worth just because they have done something creative with it.

Take Greymouth student Nikki-Leigh Wilson-Beazley’s auction as an example. Last year she managed to get rid of her set of wheels, which she previously found hard to sell, by listing them as an invisible ute. She described the ute as, “real good if you want to cut laps and perve at girls, no one will see what you’re up to. Also good if you’re on the run from the cops or are really crap at parking”. The auction got a lot more coverage than it typically would as a set of wheels, and she thus ended up selling them for a good price. She is iconic of the ‘number 8 wire’ kiwi spirit, and so could you be if you followed in her footsteps.

Take Greymouth student Nikki-Leigh Wilson-Beazley’s auction as an example. Last year she managed to get rid of her set of wheels, which she previously found hard to sell, by listing them as an invisible ute. She described the ute as, “real good if you want to cut laps and perve at girls, no one will see what you’re up to. Also good if you’re on the run from the cops or are really crap at parking”. The auction got a lot more coverage than it typically would as a set of wheels, and she thus ended up selling them for a good price. She is iconic of the ‘number 8 wire’ kiwi spirit, and so could you be if you followed in her footsteps.