10 Years Ago, LonelyGirl15 Changed YouTube Forever - And Now She's Back
16 June 2016, 20:56
Bree Avery, the first vlogger, has returned to YouTube - and ten years on, lonelygirl15 has gotten weirder and weirder.
We're about to show off our severe internet age - and maybe patronise half our readership at the same time - so bear with us. But the chances are a lot of you don't know or remember 'lonelygirl15'; meaning you're missing out on a huge part of your YouTube history.
In 2006, a teenage girl named Bree Avery began uploading to YouTube. With low production value and not a lot to say beyond her day to day life, she was essentially one of the first ever vloggers. As she built her audience through her videos and her Myspace page (yes, really), Bree became one of the first YouTube stars - but nobody was prepared for what would come next.
Within a few months of her posting regularly, and her vlogs taking a turn for the weird, 'lonelygirl15' was outed as a fake - a scripted project, Bree played by actress Jessica Lee Rose, all produced by an LA company. But by this point, Bree's story had become so gripping that nobody seemed to mind. The first vlog seamlessly turned into the first webseries - and from here on in, YouTube would never be the same.
Every early vlogger was in some way inspired by 'lonelygirl15', and to this day her legacy lives on in every teenager that grabs a video camera and starts talking about their life for the hell of it (and the sub-reality of her story lives on in every famous YouTuber guilty of presenting a polished, edited version of themselves as "the real me").
With the anniversary of the first upload on 'lonelygirl15' being this week, there have been many retrospective and thoughtful essays in remembrance of the earliest vlog - but in the midst of all of this, nobody expected that the channel would suddenly reawaken.
Seven years since the channel's last upload, Bree made a sudden and extremely cryptic return - apparently speaking on behalf of the cult her parents were revealed to be a part of in the original series (spoilers, sorry). And this is only the beginning, as the creators themselves have confirmed it: 'lonelygirl15' is coming back.
Miles Beckett, the series' creator, has teamed up with web production powerhouse Jenni Powell; a former fan of the series, Powell has now acquired the rights to it under her company Discourse Productions. The revival will also see the return of original cast members Yousef Abu-Taleb and Maxwell Glick.
“The opportunity to come back into a story world that made me fall in love with what I do now, ten years later, is just, on a personal level, so fulfilling,” Powell stated in an interview with Forbes. The team also believe that reviving 'lonelygirl15' for a new generation will give the series a chance to interact with all the new social platforms that have emerged in its absence, such as Snapchat and Instagram.
"I’m hopeful and excited to have a new generation embrace it; I think that would be awesome." admits Powell.