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Emma Roberts Has a Perfectly Logical Explanation for That Viral Beach Video

"I did this video... went to bed, woke up, and the internet had its way with me," explains the American Horror Story actress.

By Christopher Rudolph

Emma Roberts is a scream queen and a meme queen. Whether it's her resurrection on American Horror Story: Coven or smiling for the camera while seated courtside at a basketball game, the actress has been a staple on our social media feeds for years.

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Roberts' most infamous meme may be a video she posted in 2021, in which she stands on the beach. With the ocean in the background, Roberts stands smiling and brushing her hair out of her face as Lana Del Rey's  "Happiness is a Butterfly," from the 2019 album Norman F*cking Rockwell!, plays.

Perhaps due to its random and slightly awkward nature, Roberts' beach video went viral pretty much instantly — so much so that Roberts eventually posted an image from it on her Instagram and captioned it:  "Me going viral after 30. Thank you gays and whoever else."

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Roberts on the beach has become one of the most popular reaction gifs of the last few years, but how did the video actually happen? During her April 3 Tonight Show visit, Jimmy Fallon got to the bottom of the meme mystery.

Emma Roberts on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Episode 1954

What's the story behind Emma Roberts' viral beach video?

As it turns out, we have Roberts' sister Grace to thank.

"So basically, my sister is 10 years younger than me. So she's in her early 20s, you know, living the dream. Knows how to work social media, unlike me, a 33-year-old millennial," Roberts explained to Fallon.

"She was like, "You're not posting enough videos." And I took it so personal. I was like, 'What do you mean I'm not posting enough videos? I post all the time,'" Roberts continued. "She's like, 'No, you need video content, not photos, and use the songs.' And I'm like, 'Songs?! You can put songs on videos?'"

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"I freaked out. So I had glam. I did this video, I made this stupid face," she continued, sticking her tongue out just like in the video. "Put a Lana Del Rey song on it because I love her and it was the first thing that popped up. Went to bed, woke up, and the internet had its way with me."

"But I will say my sister was right," Roberts admitted. "I went viral listening to her advice. Thanks, Grace."

Thank you, Grace. The "gays and whoever else" are forever in your debt.