Lauren O'Brien was looking for a way to pass the time in Los Angeles' notorious traffic. She found it in posting quick impressions of celebrities on social media. You can check out her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
HLN : How do you come up with an impression? Where do you start?
Lauren O'Brien : Usually people that have unique tonal qualities or accents are of course the easiest to impersonate because there is something that tickles my ear and my funny bone. So I always start with the voice. I'll practice that first then sit in front of a mirror manipulating my facial expressions while I watch YouTube videos of the celebrity trying to get a match.
Since I started putting these videos on Instagram, people began requesting impressions that I had never thought to try before. That has been the most challenging and the most fun.
HLN : Who is your favorite one to do?
O'Brien : Sofia Vergara has to be my favorite because her character Gloria on "Modern Family" is a) hilarious and b) has two different sides to her. You get the soft spoken Gloria and the Colombian-tempered Gloria. And her facial expressions are amazing.
HLN : Who was the hardest one?
O'Brien : Angelina Jolie was the hardest because I just couldn't quite match her tone and there is nothing that unusual about her speech patterns. So for her I had to really focus on her mannerisms and facial expression. Ellen was pretty tough, too, so I sort of danced my way out of that one!
HLN : What do you think of the response to the videos?
O'Brien : I am kind of blown away. I started doing the short snippets on Instagram out of boredom. My mom lives in New Jersey and doesn't have an Instagram account, but she's really active on Facebook with her friends and co-workers. She asked me if I could create a link that she could share so I just compiled them on YouTube mainly for her. I had no idea so many other people outside of my mom's social network would take notice!
HLN : How did you come up with the idea for “In Traffic”?
O'Brien : I was on my way to an audition where I was asked to do celebrity impressions. I was literally stuck "in traffic" practicing my impressions by commentating on traffic in the celebrity voice. I thought, "If anyone could see me right now they would think I'm insane." So I decided to test the theory on my Instagram followers.
HLN : What do your friends/family say about your impressions?
O'Brien : They love them, but I've been doing them my whole life. I started by impersonating friends and family, and when I got the reaction I wanted I was hooked. I'm a middle child. I need attention the way others need oxygen.
HLN : What’s next for you?
O'Brien : Waiting patiently by the phone for my call from Lorne Michaels. Wink-wink.