How the ‘Fresh Prince’ Became the Daddy of Instagram

He is legend.
August 11, 2018
8 mins read

The man. The myth. The Instagram legend. In the course of just eight short months, Will Smith has acquired over 20 million followers on the photo-based platform, and for good reason, too.

When Ellen DeGeneres introduced the ”I Am Legend” star to the Instagram world on her show back in December, the bit was light-hearted and comical. The talkshow host navigated Smith through the ropes of the “duck face,” the “mirror selfie” and a few other hilarious picture-taking methods that were sure to get Smith’s Instagram account tons of followers.

The world wasn’t sure what to expect of Smith’s account after “The Ellen Show,” especially since his first six posts were photos from that day. No one was prepared for the treasure the account would quickly become with a man people didn’t think they could love any harder.

Smith has always been a beloved A-list actor, with classics like “Men in Black” and “Hancock” cementing his reputation as one of the industry’s move beloved assets. He’s one of the few Hollywood stars with a genuine personality that radiates both on and off screen. So, it’s no surprise that his Insta is the icing on the cake to his incredible existence.

Like I said before, Smith’s first six uploads were the iconic selfies and teachings from “The Ellen Show” that are still some of my personal favorites on his profile. The seventh upload, which was one of the Philadelphia native’s baby pictures, contained the caption “Ya’ll ain’t got no filters like this.”


This was only a brief glimpse into what Smith had in store for his followers. As his numbers grew on the app, so did the quality of his content. Oftentimes, people who go viral switch from whole-hearted material to uploads that are trying way too hard, making it almost unwatchable online.

Thankfully, all of Smith’s uploads are genuinely entertaining. Instead of the “Wild, Wild, West” heartthrob from the ’90s, followers are currently being blessed with the extreme dad persona the father of two now exudes.

The actor/musician has uploaded a few videos of him embarrassing his wife and kids, just like any other middle-aged dad would do, giving him a more down-to-earth vibe. The public often places celebrities on a pedestal and it can be rare to catch them doing something goofy for fear of being exposed. Smith takes this stigma and throws it in the trash.

On Dec. 27, 2017, he uploaded a picture of his feet with his radiant wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in view, saying, “Our 20th Anniversary is in 4 Days! That’s a Real Feet…: – ) Get it!” I don’t know about the majority of internet users’ humor these days, but I’m pretty sure I laughed aloud when I came across this unforgettable dad joke.


Along with the constant praise to his wife, Smith also uploads precious moments from family vacations and even old home videos that truly display how great of a father he has always been.

On June 14, the Instagram sensation melted his followers’ hearts when he showcased an oldie of his daughter Willow’s first ballet class. The caption explains that Willow was extremely nervous the night before and even wanted to cancel her classes out of fear. In the video, the loving father is encouraging his daughter throughout the day and at the end applauds her for conquering her fears. The two then celebrate the accomplishment by going to the bookstore. I’m not going to admit to shedding a few tears while watching this gem, but I’m also not going to deny it.


Smith also uses his Instagram to deliver motivational messages while conquering his own fears, such as skydiving and scuba-diving. The star is no stranger to harboring his own struggles and he pushes himself past his boundaries while encouraging others to do the same.

His fans are always up to date with his most current adventure, making him feel more like a friend than a celebrity. Smith doesn’t disappoint when it comes to doing the most for his followers’ entertainment.

On July 12, the Grammy-award winner broke the internet with his daring performance of the #InMyFeelings challenge, inspired by Drake’s newest hit. If you haven’t heard of the dance phenomenon, just search “in my feelings” on Google. Trust me, you’ll find a ton of hits.

Anyway, Smith schooled everybody in the art of current dance challenges with his iconic remake. While most people just dance outside of a moving car, Smith took it 10 steps further by climbing on top of the Chain Bridge in Budapest and doing his jig. The 49-year-old was spending his last night there after filming ”Gemini Man,” which is set to come out in 2019.

He wanted to make sure he left his mark on the country and on the internet by killing the challenge while 600 feet off the ground. The post has over 18 million views, making it his most popular on the account … so far.


If you want to see more of Smith’s shenanigans, have no fear. The star also has a YouTube channel where he uploads a variety of content. Videos range from “Facing My BIGGEST Fear” to “Scaring the Crap Out of My Friend Scoty.” You truly are one of a kind, Mr. Smith.

If you don’t already have an Instagram account, I highly suggest you make one if only to follow one man. He will offer material you didn’t think you needed until you see it. Smith proves that fame CAN be fun and games if you just let loose.

The family man continues to fulfill his acting role by making movies, but his newest and most permanent title might just be “the father of Instagram.” Smith has been stealing hearts since his role on “The Fresh Prince,” and even though times have changed since then, his flair hasn’t.

Tori Ihnen, Fort Hays State University

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Tori Ihnen

Fort Hays State University

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