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Screen Test Tube

Two hundred and forty words about Amy Walker’s two and a half minutes of fame.

By Lee Fehrenbacher January 3, 2009 Published in the May 2008 issue of Seattle Met

Hehh-lohh, my name is Aimee Vawker and I yam vrum Moscow in Rrrussia.”- The words of 25-year-old Seattle native Amy Walker in her self-produced video that was, for a blink of the media eye, required viewing for legions of YouTube-philes. In the clip, “21 Accents,” which she posted in January, Walker flies through 21 introductions in English, each in a different accent—including Australian, British, Czech, Texan, and Seattleite—in two and a half minutes. The spot grabbed the attention of TV producers and landed Walker guest appearances on The Today Show and Inside Edition. To date, “21 Accents” has logged more than 300,000 YouTube views and more than 1 million on Break.com. Not bad for a production that involved little more than a digital camera set atop a teetering pile of books in Walker’s kitchen.

The aspiring actress, who grew up on Whidbey Island and now resides in Philadelphia, hopes the clip will convince casting directors that she can take on any role, but she’s finding that the brave new world of online video tears apart its stars as quickly as it creates them. Though many viewers have praised “21 Accents,” others call her a hack. “Canadians do not sound like that,” commented one viewer, “I wanna kick that stereotype right in the teeth.” And that’s one of the tamer criticisms. At least her impression of a Seattleite is spot on—that is, to our ear there’s no detectable accent at all.

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