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Jessica Rose may have been named Forbes magazine's top "Web Celeb", but the New Zealand-raised teenager is just getting to grips with being recognised on the streets of Los Angeles.

"I'm a very private person so I almost feel embarrassed if someone recognises me," the 19-year-old told the Weekend Herald.

"I'm really awkward, I guess. I really don't know what to say. I'm not quite good at that yet."

That could all soon change with Rose cast in a psychological thriller, I Know Who Killed Me, alongside Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan. Twenty-year-old Lohan, who appears in Robert Altman's final film, A Prairie Home Companion, now screening in New Zealand, is regular tabloid fodder.

In December she pleaded for the media to respect her privacy after People magazine reported she had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a year.

"She's a really sweet girl, quite different than how the press portray her," Rose said of Lohan.

"She's actually a very nice person, and very beautiful."

Rose shot to fame in September when she was outed as the actor behind Lonelygirl15, the Californian teenager whose video postings became a hit on the website YouTube.

Lonelygirl remains the site's most popular video, despite the audience now knowing the character, Bree, is a fake.

Rose, born in the United States but raised in Mt Maunganui, is taking the sudden exposure in her stride.

"I've been really loving it," she said from the set of her latest film in Seattle. "I've been very busy."

In addition to the Forbes magazine accolade, Rose was named "Big Web Hit of 2006" by cable channel VH1 at its annual awards in December. Rose has also won the starring role in an independent teen drama, Perfect Sport, which she is due to finish filming in a few days.

She plays Tina, a 15-year-old girl "going through the teenage thing, discovering who she is".

"I can't really say too much because I'd give it away," Rose said, in true Hollywood style.

Rose studied at an acting school in Auckland and was a makeup artist on Peter Jackson's King Kong before she left New Zealand to pursue her dream of working in Hollywood.

Working on the other side of the camera in a feature film has been great, she said.

"It's really exciting to be doing what I love and doing what I've always wanted to do now. "

She is in talks about further film and TV work, but is not about to give up the wildly successful Lonelygirl yet, viewing the character as part of a wider phenomenon.

"It really just says that there is a new form of entertainment that is the internet and it really is something that might not happen tomorrow but it's on its way for sure."

Fame has also given her more money, but she said she was not yet "super-rich", still living in a rented guesthouse at the back of an acting teacher's house.

She is also grateful for the support she receives in New Zealand.

"It feels like any time a Kiwi has success as an actor or actress, it's like the entire country is backing you. That's what I love about New Zealand."

It has been almost two years since she was here and she is desperate to see her mum.

"I miss her so much. She's wonderful, very supportive," said Rose, who plans to take her to the premiere of I Know Who Killed Me in June.

While that is certain to be another exciting night in the budding star's career, she says the highlight so far has been "working on a regular basis".

"I've always thought, 'What'd I do if I wasn't an actor?' and now that I've been on film sets I realise I can't do anything else, I really just can't, because I love it too much."