Eugene woman becomes YouTube idol.
CORRECTION (ran June 20, 2007): YouTube video producer Cree Ingles lives alone. Her living arrangements were misstated in a Best Of story on Page 3 on Friday.
Cree Ingles was down in the dumps one day last winter and messing around on the Internet when she discovered YouTube.
Her life won't be the same again. Neither will ours.
"I thought, `All these people are on there saying what they think,' ' Cree explained when we caught her at her home in Eugene. "Why not me?"
Cree, who is 38, posted her first YouTube video six months ago: "Introducing Cree."
"It told about myself and said, you know, `Here I am. Here are my opinions. I'll shout them to the world!' '
As of last week, Cree had posted 587 short videos to YouTube, the Internet site that has energized videography with its all-comers inclusiveness.
On that same day, according to the site itself, Cree was the fifth most-viewed "guru" on YouTube (she bills herself as an authority on "American Idol') , with nearly 10,000 views.
Best of ... found its way to Cree by going to YouTube and doing a search for "Eugene, Oregon."
We found a lot of what we had expected to find: A couple OK skateboard videos. Some student video work that was all polish and no energy. A handheld, pirated video from a 1984 Grateful Dead concert at the Hult Center that isn't polished at all (you can barely make out that there's a band somewhere on stage).
What we didn't expect to find was a 306-pound (though she's recently dieted down to 290), moon-faced woman who does short, deadpan, lo-res videos with names such as "Confessions of a Fat Ass" and "Crotchless Panties" (that's about the day her boyfriend's dog chewed up the laundry) and who gets fan mail from around the world.
She may not be a paid celebrity, but Cree already is living the American dream, YouTube style. An ordinary woman in real life, on YouTube she is "Cree here, comin' at ya," a gritty, unkempt Everywoman who can swear like a sailor at one moment and talk passionately the next about issues between her boyfriend's dog and the neighbor's cat.
But mostly, Cree talks about "American Idol," a show with which it would not be unfair to say she is completely and utterly obsessed. The obsession led to her greatest fan encounter - with Hollywood actress Jennifer Hudson.
Hudson is an `Idol' alumna who won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in last year's "Dreamgirls." After Cree did a video about the Oscars in February, she picked up the phone and found herself talking directly to Hudson.
"She said she saw my video and she was really touched and she wanted to let me know to keep following my dreams," Cree says.
Was it really Hudson? We think so. You can judge for yourself by clicking on the video (find it at her Web site), which picks up the conversation after Cree recovered enough from her shock to turn on the Web cam.
She has other fans, too.
"I have a big following with gay boys," Cree says. "I believe that is because I did a video kind of supporting them and saying, `I really feel for you.'
`It's hard when you're growing up and you learn you're gay. You should see some of the letters they have written me, telling me I am their hero."
Cree, who lives with her boyfriend and his 7-year-old son, recently bought a real camcorder with the idea she'll start using it to do her monologues on location. But she hasn't figured out how to connect it with her computer yet, so all her work is still just Cree sitting there in front of the computer, the same background behind her, maybe a goofy hat on her head, talking to the Web cam.
No matter. Cree crams it all into that little YouTube screen. She is a Best of ... winner by virtue of the exquisite trainwreck quality of her work, the slippery voyeuristic element of those six-minute clips and the fact that she reports on her life almost before it even happens.
We talked to her one evening just before leaving work. By the time we'd had dinner and fired up the laptop at home, Cree had already shot and uploaded a new video about the interview:
"Stop the presses! Eugene Register-Guard story ...'
For an online archive of earlier Best of ... columns - without all the annoying video - go to www.registerguard.com/bestof.
BEST EUGENE YOUTUBER
What: A Eugene woman gazes into her Web cam and reflects on life, love and "American Idol"
Where: At www.YouTube.com /CreeIngles
More Cree: At www.CreeIngles.com
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|Title Annotation:||Entertainment; Cree Ingles gets busy with the Internet video site regularly, to the tune of 100 clips a month|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jun 15, 2007|
|Next Article:||Dads, grads have scads of options.|