Parody baby portrait of swaddled 28-year-old becomes social media hit

South Carolina woman celebrates birthday by spoofing an infant photoshoot

Columbia, SC resident Nicole Ham celebrated her birthday with a parody infant photoshoot.
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Columbia, SC resident Nicole Ham celebrated her birthday with a parody infant photoshoot.

Two friends in their late 20s were tired of looking at social media and seeing all of the holiday pictures of perfect-looking families, including the adorable children.

Their fatigue led to inspiration.

For her 28th birthday, Nicole Ham posed for a portrait taken by Stephanie Smith, her friend since grade school. A professional photographer, Smith took pictures of her fellow Irmo High School alum. She told The State the photo session was “a parody of our lives.”

The pictures were of Ham, swaddled in a blanket like a sleeping baby, with a large bow on her head. Lying next to the peaceful-looking birthday girl was a message board that read “336 MONTHS OLD. Loves—Champagne. Hates—Dating in 2018. GO TIGERS! 12.29.18”

Nicole Birthday-1.jpg
The photo session of Nicole Ham swaddled like a baby that was taken by her friend from Irmo High School Stephanie Smith has gone viral. Stephanie Smith Southern Stitched Photography

“It was Nicole’s idea, laughing at being 28 and single,” Smith said in an interview with The State on Thursday. “We had nothing better to do with our time. We know it’s stupid, that’s why we did it. ... It was hilarious for both of us.”

Ham continued the fun in a Facebook post of the picture. She added the caption, “i’m 336 months old today! things i love: champagne, paper straws, clemson football. things i hate: dating in 2018, paper straws, pedal taverns.

i have all of my teeth (thank god) and i sleep for 8-10 hours a night!

Smith also shared the pictures on the Facebook page for her business, Southern Stitched Photography, with a caption that read “Because your best friend only turns 336 months once.”

That post has gone viral, garnering more than 15,000 reactions and 14,000-plus comments. It had been shared close to 30,000 times by Thursday night.

According to Smith, it has been viewed more than 6 million times.

“I love how much people enjoy it,” Smith told The State, saying she has also been interviewed about the baby portraits by “Good Morning America” and “Inside Edition.”

Longtime friends Nicole Ham and Stephanie Smith have become an internet hit as the pictures of Ham swaddled like a baby taken by Smith have gone viral. Stephanie Smith Southern Stitched Photography

While the holidays provided Smith and Ham with inspiration, it also afforded them the opportunity to pull off the photo shoot at the Columbia-area home of Ham’s parents. She was visiting from Nashville, where she works in marketing, according to Smith.

Ham’s mother Andrea even helped out with the photo session, according to Smith who said she made the oversized bow and helped swaddle her 28-year-old baby.

“She rolled her like a baked potato,” Smith said.

While Smith has done similar photo shoots for newborns, she said it was hard to execute this session because she and Ham were laughing so much.

It helped that Ham insisted they finish in time to watch her beloved alma mater, the Clemson Tigers football team, play in the Cotton Bowl, according to Smith.

While Ham has to be happy with how the football team has performed, Smith said her “diva best friend is loving every second” of the popularity of the portraits on social media, even though she wasn’t wearing any makeup.

“She’s a very bold person,” Smith said.

Friends sine they were students at Irmo High School, Stephanie Smith and Nicole Ham have become social media stars after their adult baby portrait went viral. Stephanie Smith Southern Stitched Photography

All of the eyes on the posts has been a professional benefit to Smith, who said she has seen an influx of business.

Smith said she puts her heart and soul into her business while also taking online courses from Coastal Carolina. Smith said she hopes to transfer to the University of South Carolina next fall.

In the meantime, she expects to have some more fun photo sessions with Ham. She said they are already devising a plan for her upcoming birthday as well as Valentine’s Day, where the 20-something singles will “mimic what it’s like dating these days.”

While she welcomes new ideas for photo spreads, Smith said the only people she and Ham are making fun of is themselves.

“We don’t want to offend, we’re just making a mockery of our own lives,” Smith said. “It’s OK to be fun.”

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.