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Meet The Dundonian Behind That World-Famous Oompa Loompa Photo

The internet is going crazy over the disastrous Willy Wonka experience which took place in Glasgow last weekend. From the event, memes have spawned, from the set-up photos to the AI-generated villain, “The Unknown”.

But arguably the most iconic photo came from the lens of Louise Dalson, a Dundonian who visited the event with her partner. Louise snapped the picture of the sad-looking Oompa Loompa, portrayed by Kirsty Paterson.

From the photo, it has generated a wave of content, from drawings to recreations in video games such as Animal Crossing and The Sims 4.

I talked with Louise about her experience, and of course, that photo which has taken the internet by storm.

Hello Louise, you recently visited the Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow. What prompted you to visit the event, how did you find out about it and what did you expect?

I have been a big fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since I was a kid. So when I came across the advertisement on Facebook I knew I had to go to this.

The infamous AI-generated artwork created for the event that was shared by the House of Illuminati.

However, my partner pointed out that the promotion was created by artificial intelligence (A.I). So he advised me to watch out and be careful. I was £35 each for two tickets, so I was expecting it to be an amazing day out.

When you arrived at Willy’s Chocolate Experience, what the atmosphere like and what was your first reactions?

Once I arrived at the venue, it was really busy outside, the warehouse itself was really big but when I went indoors into the warehouse, half of it was empty.

I was so confused as it was only a couple of props dotted around the place.

We were only in for ten minutes at most.

You took that iconic photo of the sad looking Oompa Loompa, what was your reaction when it started appearing nationally and then internationally?

I didn’t even notice until a week later that the whole time it was my photo what has been going around.

I was in shock that it went worldwide and been used so many times by so many television shows alongside memes which featured on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even TikTok.

The memes have been hilarious and most of it is down to your iconic photo. Have you got a favourite meme which has spawned from the event and your photo?

I am glad it can bring joy to everyone but I apologise to the actress for unknowingly at the time creating such a viral sensation.

I dare say my favourite meme was where the photo was re-created using the game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

My partner liked one similarly made using The Sims 4.

Looking to the future, would you be cautious if you saw another event about Willy Wonka advertised in Scotland?

If I ever see another Wonka-inspired event I would definitely be more cautious. I wouldn’t jump straight into it and I would look into it a lot more.

Artificially created photos were generated to promote the event, but the reality was much more dire.

I also encourage others to be cautious and make sure that the company is legitimate and not using A.I. to promote and trick people into spending their money on false promises.

Thank you so much to Louise for this exclusive interview. It was brilliant to get an insight from someone who had a first hand account of the experience there. It is an experience I’m sure many who visited there will remember — but maybe for the wrong reasons!


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