We’re sure you’ve heard of the fictional character Borat, but what about the actual person Borat was based off, Mahir Cagri?
In 1999, just as the concept of “internet phenomenon” was becoming a part of our realities, Turkish journalist Mahir Cagri suddenly found himself in the limelight. His website (www.ikissyou.org) became an internet sensation, garnering millions of pageviews, global media attention and subsequent fan pages and parodies. The personal website was covered in pictures of Cagri, statements such as “I like Sex” and other statements in broken English, and an invite to women to visit him: “Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate …..She can stay my home ……..”
The humorous and intriguing website was loved by the public and spread through word of mouth through the internet.
Many speculate that popular film/TV character BORAT is based off of Cagri, although there has been no actual confirmation from creator/actor Sacha Baren Cohen.
While Cagri is no longer famous, he is forever immortalized by Sacha Baren Cohen’s character Borat and considered one of the very first “internet celebrities.” In the time he was famous, Cagri toured the US, appeared on chat shows, starred in TV commercials, recorded a pop single and listened to offers of turning his life story into a movie.
What we here at Online, on trend think made Mahir special was his ability to own who he was. While others may have been offended by people making fun of them (for Cagri, his language skills and appearance), he took it with a grain of salt, embraced the fun and attention–and milked it for what it was worth.
Like we’ve mentioned before, authenticity is very important when building your presence online. Taking tips from Mahir may not be a bad idea, who claims in the interview below that he is famous because he is a “normal guy.”