Lonelygirl15 revealed as 19-year-old NZ actress

By Kent Atkinson

A 19-year-old New Zealand actress has been revealed as the mystery girl named Bree, known to millions of people on the internet as LonelyGirl15.

The San Francisco Chronicle today reported that former Mount Maunganui actress Jessica Rose has been posing as the 16-year-old home-schooled teenager posting "LonelyGirl15" online video diaries on sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

The New York Times also reported Bree had been identified as Rose, a New Zealand resident who is a graduate of the New York Film Academy.

She has been making a serialised version of a project planned to become a movie: episodes suggested Bree was the home-schooled daughter of strictly religious parents who was sneaking away to send internet video blogs of her inner thoughts.

They have caused a cyber-stir not seen since The Blair Witch Project -- and the mystery has fuelled the popularity of the short videos on sites such as YouTube, where Bree's videos have become one of the most-viewed.

The San Francisco newspaper reported Bree had been tracked down by internet sleuths, including Matt Foremski, 18, son of a former Financial Times journalist Tom Foremski, who helped his son trace images of Jessica Rose held by a New Zealand talent agency.

Jessica Rose's mother said she was not in a position to talk about her daughter's project but provided contact details for her in California.

Rose was separately listed on the internet as having studied drama since starting at Mt Maunganui College in 2000, including a national youth drama course in screen acting in 2003.

She moved to Auckland in 2004 to study acting at Studio 111 in Ponsonby.

LonelyGirl15 started posting her dorky adventures on June 16, with a video of "Bree" introducing herself and making a variety of goofy faces.

Over the next three months, 29 more videos hit the internet each few days, with Bree giving hints about her life, saying she spent her youth in New Zealand, was treated for "lazy eye" and had an obsession with physicist Richard Feynman.

On YouTube, one of the most popular sites for amateur videos, 26,930 people are subscribed to the LonelyGirl15 "channel", meaning they regularly view videos posted there.

More than 2.3 million people have viewed Bree's videos, according to YouTube.

Internet fans discovered the Lonelygirl15 name was trademarked recently by Califorinian attorney Kenneth Goodfried, and that Bree's MySpace account was being controlled by someone using a computer at the Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency.

Today the New York Times reported many of the LonelyGirl15 videos were shot in the bedroom of Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and film-maker from Marin County, California, with the help of Miles Beckett, a doctor-turned-filmaker, and Grant Steinfield, a software engineer in San Francisco.

Signing themselves as "The Creators", they anonymously admitted on September 7 that Bree was an unnamed actress: " The biggest mystery of Lonelygirl15 is 'who is she?' they said.

"We think this is an oversimplification. Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone.

"She is no more real or fictitious than the portions of our personalities that we choose to show (or hide) when we interact with the people around us."

The New York Times reported that on learning that Ms Rose was a New Zealand actress whose interests -- unlike the scientific and religious issues that fascinated Bree -- were more in line with parties and posing, one fan wrote: "Very cute, but she's really not into Feynman and Jared Diamond.

"I'm heartbroken... but a wonderful actress had me fooled into thinking she was a geek like me."

- NZPA

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