They aren’t the Schuyler sisters, but they are in love with ‘Hamilton’
Courtesy of Brooke Bekoff
Combining two college sophomores, ambition and relentless love of a hit Broadway musical resulted in the start of “Hamilton” memes.
Brooke Bekoff and Sara Shmueli, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, respectively, founded Meme Me Inside, a meme account on Instagram devoted entirely to the musical “Hamilton.” They’ve known each other since they were in first grade attending the same school.
It started when Bekoff and Shmueli sent “Hamilton”-themed memes to each other throughout the summer of 2016. When they had stockpiled enough memes and saw the potential to create their own, they founded the page in August, Bekoff said.
The account attracted 1,000 followers on the first day it went up, Bekoff said. When the women saw the potential growth of the page, they decided to keep posting. Today, the page boasts nearly 60,000 followers.
Meme Me Inside refers to the song, “Meet Me Inside,” sung by the character of George Washington after Alexander Hamilton and his cohorts directly disobey Washington’s orders in the musical.
All of their posts are original, Shmueli said. The founders conceptualize and Photoshop all the memes themselves. It’s why they said they have so many followers — they aren’t simply recycling old posts.
“Everything — the design, the execution — is all on our end,” Shmueli said.
The account tries to post every day and if not, every other day, Shmueli said. She added it isn’t difficult to make a new post every day because they can communicate and bounce ideas off each other to see what’s trending and what works. Even if they can’t conceive a new meme for the day, they have a lot of unposted material in reserve that they can choose from, Shmueli said.
The page’s following extends beyond fans of the musical. Chris Lee, who plays Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the Chicago production of “Hamilton,” was the first cast member to follow Meme Me Inside. He has since unfollowed the page, Shmueli said.
Ensemble members of the New York cast followed the page, Bekoff said. Christopher Jackson, who originated the role of George Washington in the New York production, follows them currently and Renee Elise Goldsberry — the Tony Award-winning actress who played Angelica Schuyler in the original Broadway cast — liked one of their posts, Bekoff said.
“I think that’s my favorite part of the account: Cast members who we admire so much actually look at our content and enjoy our content. It makes me really happy,” Bekoff said.
Bekoff and Shmueli sell advertisements on their page to Broadway-centric companies, but have expanded their business model a month ago to include an online store, where they sell original designs on T-shirts, phone cases and coffee mugs. They even sell a red baseball cap that reads, “Make America Ham Again.”
“That’s how our business started out. From there, we saw the potential to — rather than sell other people’s merchandise — why not sell design our own original merchandise and sell it,” Bekoff said.
Shmueli said all their merchandise is original and acts as a way to spread their love for “Hamilton” to new audiences.
Meme Me Inside has been brought up in job interviews, Bekoff and Shmueli said. Bekoff said the page’s original intention wasn’t to become a business or a resume booster, but it’s indirectly become one as their fan base grew.
The page transforming into a business brought out each woman’s individual working styles, Bekoff said.
“More than anything, it shows we’ve gained skills to become entrepreneurs. We provided something for the internet and Instagram that didn’t exist,” Shmueli said.
Published on April 12, 2017 at 10:10 pm
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