‘Disaster Girl,’ now 21, nets nearly $500K from NFT of iconic photo used in meme


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 25: Zoe Roth attends Internet Live By BuzzFeed at Webster Hall on July 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for BuzzFeed)

(NEXSTAR) — A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a non-fungible token (NFT) of one of the most memorable memes is apparently worth nearly $500,000.

It’s an iconic smirk – 4-year-old Zoe Roth became the face of the “Disaster Girl” meme after an image of her in front of a burning building went viral in 2005.

Now 21, Roth has cashed in on her internet stardom thanks to a recent auction of the image as an NFT, according to The Raleigh News & Observer.


Roth, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, was working April 17 at Italian restaurant Il Palio and checking the progress of the auction on her phone as the bids – made in the cryptocurrency Ether – neared $25,000 worth with just minutes to go, according to the paper.

The auction was set up so that the time extended each time prospective buyers made a bid within the last 15 minutes.

Her father, Dave Roth, took the photo during a training exercise at a firehouse near their family home in Mebane and uploaded the image to Flickr.

The striking photo suggests a sinister story – Roth’s smile and her placement in the frame scream pre-school pyromaniac, and the image has since inspired countless dark-humored photoshop jobs.

Roth’s father was also closely checking the progression of the auction.

“I’m out there probably shouting expletives into the air,” Dave told The News & Observer. “Every time it would bump up, I just couldn’t believe it.”

The auction finally came to a close at 4:10 p.m. on April 17 when @3fmusic bought “Disaster Girl” for 180 Ether, or $486,716.40.

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