Speaking as someone who worked in imaging tech and related fields from '79 to whenever, I can offer a little more. This image does contain a wide range of spatial frequencies as well as intensity range, making it useful to "torture test" sensors and image processing algorithms.
In general, a human face is a preferred subject because us humans are very good at noticing small errors in images of faces. I'm sure the fact that she was attractive didn't hurt :-) .
And finally, once a few labs started using this photo, it became a "standard reference" that everyone could use to compare their hardware and software against. It's not really a case of "going viral" the way funny cat pictures or stupid memes propogate, but rather that it has functional utility.