November 19, 2006. A date that will live in [makes duckface] infamy.
It’s not only the day that the BC Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes, 25-14, in the 94th annual CFL Grey Cup (which is the only listed historical fact on On This Day, for some reason), but it’s also when Paris Hilton and Britney Spears inadvertently discovered the selfie. “11 years ago today,” the House of Wax star tweeted on Sunday, “Me & Britney invented the selfie!”
2006 was a year of milestones for both Hilton and Spears. The latter guest starred on Will & Grace and was photographed while driving with her young son on her lap instead of in a car seat, while the former released “Stars Are Blind,” her would-be number one single that peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. But among their many accomplishments 11 years ago — who could forget Hilton’s breakout role in National Lampoon’s Pledge This!? — inventing the selfie was, as many on Twitter pointed out, not one of them.
With all due my respect to my president, Paris Hilton, the first recorded selfie was actually taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast who “set his camera up at the back of the family store in Philadelphia,” according to the Public Domain Review. “He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again.” That’s 167 years before Hilton, but was Cornelius ever considered a Hottie? Nottie.
Paris Hilton: 1; Robert Cornelius: 0.