IN OCTOBER 2006, THE NEW YORKER FEATURED A STORY ABOUT A MOVIE STAR who won an Oscar. It was not someone particularly famous—not Helen Mirren or Judi Dench or Meryl Streep, not Cate Blanchett. In fact, this Oscar winner is well-known only to those who spend a lot of time on YouTube. Her name is Stevie Ryan.
Stevie received her first “Oscar” when she was twenty-two. Like many people, she grew up dreaming of Hollywood stardom. Rather than succeeding in the way that her parents’ generation might have, Stevie has become a star without the help of powerful, big-name movie producers. Stevie struck out on her own in Hollywood in the classic fashion, but it was in cyberspace that she found an audience. She created a character named Cynthia, ...