Ernest Khalimov – The Man Behind the GigaChad Meme Everyone’s Talking About

by Rosemarie Hardison

Who’s Ernest Khalimov? If you don’t know who he is, that’s okay. I’ll help you learn a bit more about the man behind the “GigaChad” meme that has dominated Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit feeds.

Ernest Khalimov is a model bodybuilder from Russia and the face of the “GigaChad” meme. The meme is based on modeling pictures of a handsome man who allegedly won the heart of a bevy of ladies. He posted a photo of him flexing midair and then watched as his life went from normal to complete meme madness!

But who is Ernest? And why did he go viral? Let’s find out together who’s the model behind the meme.

Ernest Khalimov

The internet-famous face of “GigaChad” is a Russian model, bodybuilder, and fitness trainer named Ernest Khalimov. Although his face is well known on the internet, not much is actually known about him personally.

1. Early Life

Ernest is a fair-skinned man who’s about 6’9ft tall and weighs around 215lbs. Despite his fame, he doesn’t share any personal details online. It’s mostly rumored that he was born in Moscow, Russia. Nothing is confirmed, though.

He also possibly graduated from a private institute in Russia before making an appearance on the Sleek’N’Tears project. This is where he became famous for modeling the epitome of the male physique.

2. Ernest’s Age Is a Mystery

Ernest Khalimov’s age is also unknown. It’s said that he’s 32 years old as of 2022. However, he has a tattoo on his body with the year 1969, and his handle on Instagram includes the same year.

These small details have led some fans to believe that it could possibly be his birth year and that he’s actually a 53 years old bodybuilder.

There are many more rumors that have circulated around Ernest, from his passing away in an accident to being a completely photoshopped internet character. However, to get to those rumors, I need to tell you more about him first.

3. His Work With the Sleek’N’Tears Project


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A post shared by KRISTA SUDMALIS (@sleekntears)

His first known appearance was in 2015 for a project with the photographer Krista Sudmalis. Krista started her photography project in mid-2011 with a friend of hers, which focused on horror and dark art in photography.

By 2014, the project shifted from focusing on the macabre to the beauty of the male body. Sudmalis talked about her main five muses for this project and one of them happens to be Ernest Khalimov.

Krista saw Ernest’s attractive physique and decided to have him as the subject of her photography, which, to be honest, many have been thankful for.

Through this epic choice, Krista has graced the internet not only with an Adonis look-alike but also with hilarious memes.

The project itself is quite famous on Instagram with more than 140,000 followers on the project’s account.

4. Turning Into a Meme

Following his appearance on the project, his photo was then uploaded on other sites and the GigaChad meme was created. In 2017, an unknown Redditor shared the link to the Sleek’N‘tears Instagram page on a bodybuilders subreddit.

The post received more than 90% upvotes and over a hundred comments through the years. Then a photo of Ernest himself was uploaded on 4chan, which described Ernest as “GigaChad.”

Hence, the term was coined. His image was used to describe the alpha male with a perfect body, a chiseled jawline, and great cheekbones.

Many meme creators later even created a category in which they started subclasses of the Chad meme from the inferior “Chadlite,” an unattractive male, to the “GigaChad,” who’s basically a Greek god.

5. Rumors Around Ernest Khalimov

Many rumors surround this Russian model. The most known is his involvement in a car accident and that he could be CGI-ed.

In April 2021, a rumor began to circulate that Ernest Khalimov had died in a car accident. This rumor grew very quickly that fans started to actually believe that it might be true.

However, it turned out to be completely false. Later in May, Ernest uploaded an Instagram picture of him, proving to the people he’s alive and still working on his modeling career.

6. Some People Claim He Isn’t Real

The second rumor, or better called a theory, is that Ernest could be completely fake and his looks are the result of good Photoshop skills and CGI. This theory mainly started because of how reclusive the Russian model is.

He doesn’t collaborate with different brands, as stated by Sudmali herself, and there aren’t any videos of him out there. Although the Sleek’N’Tears project has BTS videos with most of its models, Ernest isn’t included.

Because there aren’t any videos of him around, people have speculated that he could be a photoshopped version of another model of Krista’s or a boyfriend/friend of hers.

Many people online have posted their “evidence” as proof that the “GigaChad” man is fake, but none of them are conclusive.

To Sum Up

Seeing Ernest Khalimov’s face everywhere from Facebook to Twitter put me into detective mode. However, this reclusive Greek god isn’t only good at modeling but also at hiding.

He doesn’t share anything personal online and almost exclusively communicates with Krista, his photographer. Though we don’t know much about him, we can still share a good laugh with the “GigChad” meme!

Featured image source: Instagram

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