It’s hard to imagine a time before “selfies,” and it appears they have been around for a long time indeed.

According to various sources, the first-ever “selfie,” while it wasn’t called that, was taken in 1839 when Robert Cornelius took a picture of himself in the back of his family’s store. He set up the camera and then ran into the frame.

In 1966, astronaut Buzz Aldrin took a selfie in outer space, but it wasn’t until September 2002 when an Australian man — after a night of celebrating his friend’s birthday — posted a photo of his busted lip on an image-sharing website and called it a “selfie,” following the Australian tendency to give everyone and everything a nickname, often ended in “ie.”

A number of things have facilitated the selfie trend, including technology and new social media platforms. The first front-facing phone camera — the Motorola A920— was introduced in 2003. And, in January 2011, the first image with the hashtag selfie (#selfie) was uploaded.

In 2013, ”Selfie” was the Oxford Dictionaries International Word of the Year.

This fall, Houstonian Melody Moore decided she wanted to invest in the art of the “selfie” right here in her hometown.

In September, Moore opened the first Houston franchise of Selfie WRLD, which is self-described as the “#1 trending selfie museum in the WRLD,” where Moore will help you immerse yourself(ie) into eye-catching, interactive art installations.

And the business is in the Marq’E Entertainment Centre in the Spring Branch Management District.

“Experience many unique themes knowing we had your best selfie in mind,” the Selfie WRLD website beckons. “Bring your friends, family, a date, or just yourself and your phone, and unleash your inner child!”

And take plenty of photos of yourself with the colorful displays as background.

For $25 general admission, Moore offers 3,404-square-feet of selfie heaven in the (Kids 12 and under cost $15, and little ones ages 0 to 3 are free.)

While the main website for Selfie WRLD mentions a one-hour time limit, Moore said she doesn’t have a set time in which people have to fulfill their selfie dreams.

“I like each customer to take their time and take as many selfies as possible,” she said.

Moore, who was born and raised in Houston, said she was employed in the oil and gas industry for 13 years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she said, “I decided to take my savings and invest into something fun for all ages.”

While the selfie has been around for a while, Selfie WRLD — the company — is very new, but has grown quickly.

Selfie WRLD founder Ashley Wilkerson was struggling with her photography business at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so she sold her home and set up the first Selfie WRLD studio in June 2020 at her local mall in Des Moines, Iowa. Now the company has some 30 locations, including two in Texas. The other Texas branch is in Fort Worth.

Moore said she chose the Marq’E in Spring Branch for her franchise because of its proximity to “all the other awesome businesses in the area.”

While you might think this is an instant draw for teens, “the amount of adults that love the space has been so surprising to me,” Moore said, adding that the Feelings Room and the Ball Pit are the most popular exhibits.

Moore said she hosts school trips, business outings and birthday and other parties at the venue.

“Come out and get the best experience of your life,” she said.

Selfie WRLD Houston
Marq’E Entertainment Centre
7620 Katy Freeway, Suite 205

— by Dorothy Puch Lillig