I will never forget the amazingly cringe way Shawn Mendes got famous

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I will never forget the amazingly cringe way Shawn Mendes got famous

Your MCM used to be best friends with Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas — shudder!

by Nian Hu

Shawn Mendes is one of the most widely beloved and popular musical artists of the day. The angel-faced singer of "Stitches" and "Treat You Better" has won the hearts of people around the world with his charismatic personality and impressive vocal chops.

Despite being the global singing sensation that he is today, Shawn started from humble beginnings. In fact — and this is something that many people seem to have forgotten about — he actually started out as a Vine star with millions of followers.

Many of his most-watched Vines involve him strumming a guitar and singing covers of popular songs. But Shawn also produced a number of Vines that were more typical of the kind of content that the now-defunct app was best known for — random, jittery handheld videos that involve silly antics, weird facial expressions, and myriad acts of randomness.

"Hey Brian, do you like cucumbers?" Shawn says in one of his Vines. Another boy comes barreling out of nowhere and utters some strange noises at Shawn, who laughs. The Vine abruptly ends mid-laugh.

Between his angelic voice and appealing boy-next-door look, Shawn quickly rose to Vine stardom, amassing millions of followers in months. And that's when he became a member of Magcon.

Magcon is perhaps the most iconic — and notorious — thing that ever emerged from Vine before its eventual demise. Magcon, which was short for "Meet and greet convention," was a group of teenage boys who toured the country and sold tickets for $30-$150 for their fans to have the chance to see them in person. The members of Magcon included the biggest Vine stars of the time, including Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier, Carter Reynolds, Matt Espinosa, Taylor Caniff, Aaron Carpenter, Jack and Jack, Hayes Grier, as well as our very own Shawn Mendes.

The boys of Magcon had many things in common: They were all conventionally attractive, white, teenage boys from the suburbs. They all became famous from producing viral 6-second videos of themselves pulling weird faces, dancing and singing along to popular songs, and making "relatable" skits about things like school and relationships. And they all developed a rabid cult following among millions of young girls around the country who would do anything for the chance to meet their favorite Magcon boy.

Magcon, however, attracted a fair amount of controversy. Many criticized the boys for being untalented, immature, and obnoxious. For example, Gawker reported that the Magcon boys would simply do backflips, dance around, and sing karaoke on stage — a performance that was mediocre at best, and only seemed to appeal to young girls because they thought the boys were "beautiful."

Notably, Shawn was the only member of Magcon who demonstrated any discernible talent. When he took to the stage to sing a cover of Lana del Rey, Gawker observed that it was the "first real sign of traditional performance all day."

The Magcon boys were not only largely talentless, but also produced some baaad content. As white, straight, and affluent teenage boys, the Magcon members were often deeply offensive in their viral videos. Many of their Vines relied heavily on racist and sexist stereotypes — such as twerking to rap music while calling it "ratchet," or mocking girls for wearing makeup.

A number of particularly troubling events cemented Magcon's now-infamous reputation. Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas, two of the most prominent Magcon boys, made a YouTube video entitled "What Guys Look For In Girls" in which they talked about all the things that make girls unattractive to guys — such as having body hair, being "obnoxious and loud," and being "easy" to sleep with. And a leaked video appeared to show another Magcon boy, Carter Reynolds, sexually assaulting his visibly intoxicated girlfriend.

Magcon was, simply put, an absolute trash fire. And while Shawn was indeed once a member of this group of exceedingly mediocre and mayonnaise-colored teenage boys, he left after only two months. And it appears that Shawn's management has done a great job of scrubbing this rather nasty stain from his otherwise pristine history, since most people seem wildly unaware that their MCM was ever associated with Magcon.

Kudos to Shawn for escaping while he could. The other boys of Magcon have largely disappeared into obscurity, thank goodness, but our hero Shawn managed to rise from the ashes and bless us with his beautiful vocals. We stan a reborn king!

@nian_hu

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