Disaster Girl

Disaster Girl

Origin: Unknown

Added 12 years ago by Jamie Dubs.

Updated about a month ago by shevyrolet.

Read Edit History
Featured Episode


Disaster Girl is a photoshop meme in which an exploitable photo of a smiling girl is superimposed on to images of natural disasters and accidents to imply that she has caused some type of calamity depicted in the background.


The photograph of the girl and the burning house was taken by Dave Roth[1] in January 2005[2] during the local fire department's live drill training two blocks away from his home in Mebane, North Carolina. While observing the fire, Dave caught his daughter, Zoe, smiling devilishly juxtaposed against the burning house.

Roth first uploaded the photo of his daughter, which he titled "Firestarter," to the image hosting service Zooomr[3] on January 2nd 2007. However, it did not receive much attention until later that year on November 29th when Roth submitted the same image to JPG Magazine[4] for an "Emotion Capture" competition. The photo was selected for publication in the February / March 2008 print issue of the magazine.[5]


In October 2008, JPG Magazine[6] spoke with Dave and Zoe, who were both "jazzed" by the attention the photo had received. By November 2008, the initial JPG Magazine post had gained over 95,000 views.[2] The original photo was posted to Buzzfeed[7] on October 27th, 2008 with a followup[8] post the next day highlighting the best derivatives, followed by similar posts on Digg[9], TrendHunter[10], eBaum's World Forum[11] and Best Week Ever.[12] Over the years, the photo and its derivatives have been mentioned on Neatorama[13], photo site DamnCoolPictures[14], Cracked[15] and the Huffington Post.[16]

Top entries this week

Notable Examples

Disaster Girl Now

Roth has continued to post photos of Zoe on his Flickr[17] account over the years.

Interview with Know Your Meme

On December 18th, 2020, KYM interviewed Zoe as part of their editorial series that follows up on people featured in prominent memes. In the interview, we spoke with Roth to get a glimpse into what it was like growing up with her image plastered all around the internet — even to this day.

Search Interest

Search for Disaster Girl didn't begin until October 2008, when the photos were posted to Buzzfeed. Search peaked in May 2011.

External References

[1] The Traveling Roths – Home

[2] The Traveling Roths – I Have A Meme: Disaster Girl

[3] Zooomr (via Wayback Machine) – Firestarter

[4] JPG Magazine (via Wayback Machine) – Firestarter

[5] JPG Magazine – Issue 14

[6] JPG Magazine (via Wayback Machine) – Disaster Girl is Coming for You

[7] Buzzfeed – Disaster Girl!

[8] Buzzfeed – The Amazing True Story of Disaster Girl

[9] Digg – Make Your Own 'Disaster Girl' Background

[10] TrendHunter – Viral Compassion Through Photoshop

[11] eBaum's World Forum (via Wayback Machine) – Disaster Girl Strikes Again

[12] Best Week Ever (via Wayback Machine) – Disaster Girl: The New Fail

[13] Neatorama – Disaster Girl

[14] DamnCoolPictures – Disaster Girl Grown Up

[15] Cracked – 6 Images of Kids Too Insane to Be Real (That Totally Are)

[16] Huffington Post – 6 Amazing Kid Photos

[17] Flickr – TravelingRoths

[18] - Wikipedia – A Girl Named Disaster

[19] Macrochan (via Wayback Machine) – Disaster Boy

Latest Editorial And News

Recent Videos (51)

Recent Images (257)



Additional References

Entry Editors (13)

Request Editorship

Scientist Emeritus

Digital Archaeologist & Archivist & Pundit & Early Adopter (#8)

Database Moderator & French Specialist & Pony Hater

Meme Librarian


Digital Archaeologist & Treasurer & Media Maid


Digital Archaeologist & Treasurer & Collection Butler

Secretary of Memes


The latest from KYM


"How about you expel that oxygen out of your lungs instead?"

Nov 24th, 2021 09:27 AM

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse was a multi-week internet spectacle, with a large assortment of memes getting made from the characters and their specific moments. This very well could only be the beginning of E-Trial drama becoming a more mainstream thing.

Nov 23rd, 2021 09:02 PM

Welcome to heartbreak…

Nov 23rd, 2021 05:00 PM

Everyone's favorite parody late-night show has given us lots of very famous meme formats.

Nov 23rd, 2021 04:54 AM

Not all memes are safe for work. Some learn that the hard way.

Nov 23rd, 2021 07:25 PM
See more