Christian LeBlanc puts a lot of work into his Instagram account, and he figures he’s got a pretty good idea of what’s working.
“I’ve always felt that my Instagram was very entertaining and kind of well done, so I’ve been looking at ways to get publicity to my account,” the 22-year-old White Rock native, and Earl Marriott Secondary graduate, said Thursday. But even he couldn’t have planned what’s happened with his now-infamous snap, the self-coined ‘Elphie‘ that’s been seen, shared, and smiled at around the world.
In April, while visiting Koh Phangan, Thailand with his girlfriend Laura Reid, also 22, LeBlanc was feeding an elephant bananas and had his GoPro on the ‘Continuous Shooting’ mode. When he ran out of bananas, the mammal started “basically feeling me up,” he says, “looking for more food.”
“It was curious or interested and took my GoPro… Next thing I know I’ve got this selfie that’s taken over the Internet.”
Posted to his Instagram account this week, on Wednesday, the Elphie has picked up thousands of shares and been featured and covered by several of the world’s largest media outlets – BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, the Mirror UK, the CBC, Global BC, CTV, and of course now the Peace Arch News.
The English media grabbed ahold of it first, he said, before it quickly spread to Canadian and American front pages and news hours.
Now LeBlanc – who’s currently travelling through the Philippines, now a graduate of UBC’s Commerce program after finishing his requirements on exchange in Bangkok – is aiming for Ellen.
He’s posted to the talk show host’s Facebook page has encouraged his friends to Like the post and share it, and has started the hashtag #ElfieOnEllen to give it some attention.
“I’m making a push for it, I think it’s definitely the right content for the channel,” he said.
LeBlanc said he’s also now a ‘brand ambassador’ for GoPole, a selfie stick maker. He’s going to keep travelling with Reid, through Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Japan, before heading back home in July, and he says he’s got a job lined up with Ernst & Young in Vancouver.
He calls his status as this week’s toast of the Internet “just a fun little temporary celebrity status”.
“It’s been such a crazy couple days… It’s been a thrill ride, it’s been really, really fun.”
And fortunately, the Pachyderm didn’t eat his camera.
“I got it back with no problems,” he said. “It dropped it from like a foot high.”
*Below are more photos from LeBlanc, the first two submitted and the rest are some of the popular wanderlusty photos from his Instagram page. His girlfriend, Laura Reid, is pictured in many of his photos, as is his GoPole.