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Hide the Pain Harold

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András Arató
The most popular stock image of András Arató
András István Arató

(1945-07-11) 11 July 1945 (age 78)
Kőszeg, Hungary
Other namesHide the Pain Harold
Alma materBudapest University of Technology and Economics
Known forInternet meme
SpouseGabriella Andrásné Arató
AwardsJános Urbanek Prize
Déri Miksa Award

Hide the Pain Harold is an Internet meme based on a series of stock photos from András István Arató[1] (born 11 July 1945), a Hungarian retired electrical engineer[2] and model. In 2011, he became the subject of the meme due to his overall facial expression and seemingly fake smile.[3][4][5] Arató has been in and out of the stock photo and advertisement industry as a model since disclosing his identity. He took up travelling to Turkey and Russia for recreational purposes and kept a blog about his life and travels. The photos associated with such travels are said to be the cause of Arató's fame. While vacationing in Turkey, Arató decided to upload personal vacation photos onto social media site iWiW, which were noticed by a photographer.[4][6]

Personal life[edit]

Born in 1945 in Kőszeg, András Arató was born and raised east of the Iron Curtain.[2] He has stated that a major part of his childhood was a gargantuan chestnut tree growing in his hometown.[7] He would reminisce about it as if it were a tree of wisdom in his town as many do of landmarks in their own lives. Not much else is currently known about Arató's teenage and pre-university years. He completed military service in the Hungarian People's Army and in 1969, Arató graduated from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics under the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.[8] He has a son who was born in 1973.[9] After retirement, he worked as a DJ for a local radio station for five years.[10] In 2019, he became the advertising face for Coca-Cola in Hungary.[5] In 2020, Arató starred in the Hungarian edition of Masked Singer (known in Hungary as Álarcos énekes), broadcast on the TV station RTL Klub.[11] Arató lives in Budapest with his wife Gabriella and his son.[12][13][additional citation(s) needed]

Internet meme[edit]

External videos
video icon Waking up as a meme hero — András Arató @ TEDxKyiv

While Arató was on holiday, he was taking photos of his trip, uploading them to social media.[14] Not only his friends saw his photos but also a professional photographer, who contacted him saying that he was seeking a model and offered him an invitation to a shoot. Arató accepted the offer and the photographer took some photos, which both he and Arató liked. He was invited for more shoots and over a hundred stock photos were made. He agreed for the photos to be used for this purpose, with the exception of photos of topics about politics, religion, and sex, as he felt those topics are sensitive to many people.[9]

Arató later looked himself up on Google Images and saw photos of himself as a doctor, coming from a hospital's homepage. A few months after, he looked himself up again and discovered more photos, including one of his face pasted on all four faces of Mount Rushmore. These were the early stages of an Internet meme. The photographer who took the stock photos had asked him to smile, and many internet users perceived his smile as fake, masking sorrow, ultimately giving him the name "Hide the Pain Harold". Arató stated that during the photoshoot he became tired of smiling too much.[1][4][15][16][17]

At first, Arató was unhappy about people adding funny text to his photos, stating he was not really a "funny guy". Arató realised he did similar things while he was in school, like drawing on pictures in his course books of the Hungarian poet John Arany, making him look like a pirate. He stated that closing down a webpage would not really work, as the meme content could soon respawn, so after six years, he accepted his meme status. He hoped that everyone would forget about using his photos, but that did not happen. First, Internet users from the United States started posting photos of Arató, then the practice spread to Europe, and later on, the rest of the world.

An Internet user found out Arató's true identity and emailed him, stating that there were many users who believed that he was not a real living person. At first, Arató ignored the user's request, but after getting more emails with the same request, he agreed to upload a picture of himself on his Russian fanpage, holding a sign saying "Я ЖИВ" ("YA ZHIV", Russian for "I'M ALIVE"). After a few hours, the photo had been seen by over ten thousand users as well as the international media.


In 2002, Arató won the János Urbanek Prize.[18] The Hungarian Electrotechnical Association (MEE, short for the Hungarian Magyar Elektrotechnikai Egyesület) awards the János Urbanek Prize yearly, which is given to a member who, within the framework of the Association life, has an outstanding theoretical or practical activity in the field of lighting technology.[19] In 2010, he won the Déri Miksa Award from the MEE.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hungarian TV Interview with Harold". Youtube. 1 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Kőszegen született, mémes világsztár lett belőle – Hide the Pain Harold". VAOL (in Hungarian). 18 October 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ "What it's like to become a stock photo meme". The Independent. 1 July 2017. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Arató, András (September 2018). "Transcript of "Waking up as a meme hero | Andras Arato | TEDxKyiv"". www.ted.com. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b onBRANDS (6 September 2019). "A COCA-COLA HAZAI REKLÁMARCA LETT HIDE THE PAIN HAROLD". ONBRANDS – ÉRTÉK ALAPON (in Hungarian). Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  6. ^ László, Szily (1 March 2016). "Hogyan lett egy budapesti nyugdíjasból Hide The Pain Harold, a netes világsztár". 444 (in Hungarian). Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  7. ^ Arandria (3 October 2012). "Mindennapi csalamádé: A kőszegi óriás gesztenyefa". Mindennapi csalamádé. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  8. ^ Dániel, Bóna Samu, Szilli Tamás, Lengyel-Szabó Péter, Simor (1 September 2019). "András, aki 72 évesen lett világsztár: Haroldként". index.hu (in Hungarian). Retrieved 5 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b "András Arató Shares His Story Of Becoming "Hide The Pain Harold" And Learning To Embrace Internet Culture". Know Your Meme. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  10. ^ "András Arato". TEDxKyiv2018. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  11. ^ Zrt, HVG Kiadó (8 March 2020). "Arató András, azaz Hide The Pain Harold volt az RTL Klub Szörnyecskéje". hvg.hu (in Hungarian). Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  12. ^ Karpenko, Georgii (22 November 2023). "András István Arató, aka 'Hide the Pain Harold' and How He Became a World-Famous Meme Character | Hungarian Conservative". www.hungarianconservative.com. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  13. ^ Kong, Dimsumdaily Hong (2 November 2023). "Famed internet meme figure 'Hide the Pain Harold' visits Hong Kong". Dimsum Daily. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  14. ^ Perrie, Stewart (11 March 2018). "Man Behind Hide Your Pain Harold Reveals He Was Devastated By The Memes". LADBible.
  15. ^ Media, Deen (2 May 2018). "Behind the meme: Hide the pain Harold". Youtube.
  16. ^ ""Waking up as a meme-hero" TEDx Kyiv, TEDx Talk from Andras Arato". YouTube.
  17. ^ "Hide the pain Harold, the Hungarian internet sensation". Daily News Hungary. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Arató András | PIM Névtér". PIM Névtér (in Hungarian). Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  19. ^ "A MEE díjai". www.mee.hu. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Magyar Elektrotechnikai Egyesület" (PDF).

External links[edit]