Happy birthday, Bree! lonelygirl15 turns 5

Updated. Yes, it has really been five years since a teenage girl called Bree Avery uploaded her first video on YouTube. (s GOOG) Bree continued to upload videos almost daily in the following months, buddying up with the YouTube community and sharing everyday moments of teenage angst. Check out that very first video one more time:

Of course, Bree turned out to be a fictional character played by the Australian actress Jessica Lee Rose. Her YouTube moniker lonelygirl15 turned into the first major web series success story, amassing more than 257 million views on YouTube, when counted together with various spinoffs. Her identity was revealed by a journalist three months after that first video, and her story took a turn for the surreal, complete with crazy cults and mysterious disappearances, once the illusion of authenticity was off the table.

Bree was killed off her own show in August 2007, but the production studio EQAL continued the format without her, and with various spinoffs like LG15: The Resistance. EQAL eventually morphed from a pure content production company into an agency that helps brands and celebrities like Kraft and Paula Deen with distribution of their online video assets. EQAL recently raised $3.5 million to grow this new part of its business.

As for Rose, she’s been starring in other web series productions, as well as on the TV shows Greek and Sorority Forever. Check out her thoughts on lonelygirl15 five years later:

Ed.: According to LGPedia, Rose isn’t Australian, but was born in Maryland and grew up in New Zealand.