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Ellen Feiss (born circa 1987) is an American who became an Internet phenomenon after her 2002 Errol Morris-directed television commercial for Apple Computer's Switch campaign grew into a cult hit. In the commercial, the then-14-year-old high school student complained that while using a Windows PC to author a paper, the computer experienced a glitch causing half of the paper to become unexpectedly deleted. Subsequently, she was forced to retype the deleted portions.
Fueling the popularity of the advertisement was the speculation that Feiss was under the influence of illicit drugs during the filming of the commercial, due to her slurred speech and disoriented eyes. Feiss denied these claims in an interview with The Brown Daily Herald and noted that she was only taking Benadryl, an allergy medication with sedative properties. She ascribed the "drugged" behavior to a combination of the effect of the Benadryl, together with exhaustion (she said that her ad was filmed at ten o'clock in the evening). She also explained how she had come to appear in the commercial:
|“||I'm friends with the son of the director, Errol Morris. I'm friends with his son Hamilton. I went with him after school, him and two of my friends. We didn't think we were going to make ads; we were just going to get the free set food. So we go there, and they're like, "We need a couple more people, so I guess the three of you can make ads." So we all made ads, and me and Hamilton's got picked. I had no idea I was going to do it until I got there.||”|
In September 2005, Feiss made her movie acting debut in the French short film Bed and Breakfast. The directors, Martin Beilby and Loïc Moreau, had seen Feiss's Apple commercial and decided to approach Feiss herself, who accepted the role despite having no formal acting experience. Feiss graduated from The Cambridge School of Weston in 2005. As of January 2007[update], she was in college, and planning to major in either photography and video or women's studies.
- Schwartz, John (2002-08-19). "Out-of-It Eyebrow Lift Gives Apple a Superstar". The New York Times.
- Interview with Ellen Feiss on The Flux (mp3)
- Kahney, Leander (August 10, 2002). "Apple 'Switch' Star Flies High". Wired News.
- Copy of Brown Daily Herald interview from Ellen Feiss Soundbytes (original is no longer available) (PDF)
- Unreleased Powerbook commercial on Google Video
- "Bed and Breakfast website (archived)" (in French and English). Archived from the original on March 29, 2007.
- Where are they now? Interview with "Switcher Girl" Ellen Feiss
- Ellen Feiss at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with Feiss on Macenstein from January 2007
- Extracts from Ellen Feiss's movie Bed and Breakfast