Gavin Thomas, the seven-year-old meme boy, made his visit to China in Beijing. As an internet star, Gavin has taken the Internet by storm with his uncopyable reaction faces always with an uneasy and awkward smile, which Chinese netizens interpreted as polite but reluctant — a very relatable emotion they may experience in socially awkward situations.
"Becoming a future emperor doesn't make me happy", Gavin with his fans in Forbidden City, Beijing
His fame was firstly shown by his uncle Nick Mastodon, another internet celebrity, posted a video clip featuring Gavin on the short-form video streaming platform Vine. In the loop video, a crested gecko was placed on top of Gavin's head, prompting the little boy to force out a nervous smile followed by a discouraged, confused face.
Fans created many memes with Gavin's funny reactions from Instagram photos and used them in chatting apps and on social media platforms, often when they want to express helplessness, awkwardness or forced positivity in a harsh situation. They even came up with a nickname for him — "the boy with a fake smile".
Having amassed a huge audience in China, Gavin registered his Weibo (Chinese social media platform) in July 2018. Over 1.6 million people have followed "the boy with a fake smile".
"I really want to go to China and meet you, take pictures with you," Gavin told his fans in the video, which ended with his iconic "fake smile".
Since he made his dream come true, he also headed to Chengdu, Sichuan to see pandas. During his visit, his “fake smile” brought “true happiness” to his Chinese fans.