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Woman Watches Over 2,500 Private Home Videos

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Woman Watches Over 2,500 Private Home Videos

February 25
22:11 2022
Says Things Might Not Be As Sad and Bleak in America As They Seem

Since February 2021, Ashley Kenny has spent hours every single day peering into the private lives of thousands of Americans, mostly on the best days of their lives and occasionally on their absolute worst. Her job requires her to watch the first 20 seconds of every-day Americans’ home videos to ensure the video and audio play correctly. 

“Watching thousands of personal home videos offered me a unique glimpse into today’s American experience, and it might not be what you think,” said Kenny. 

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Earlier this year, Kenny co-founded a company called Heirloom. The business loads their customer’s home videos onto physical books that play when the cover is opened. It’s a unique gift to send to those you can’t be with, especially around the holidays. Additionally, the forced isolation we’ve endured during COVID has added to the interest in the product. Heirloom was recently featured on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America, and with that media attention came a large influx of orders, requiring Kenny to load thousands of books and double-check the playback on every single one.

“I caught a view into the American experience which isn’t colored by the media, or distorted by what people choose to share online. I gradually began to feel that, while there is great struggle in the world, there are also many more beautiful moments than I ever realized,” said Kenny.

According to Kenny, there is a lot of heartbreak out there. A tribute to a young child killed in a car crash. A mother in hospice left good-bye messages for her kids to watch after she passes. A holocaust survivor recorded the painful, horrific story of his brutalization and torture so his kids would “never forget.”  

“But there is just so much more joy,” she says. A couple who tried for four years surprises their parents with their ultrasound video. Surprise wedding proposals on beaches, sailboats and even a roller coaster. Surprise homecoming videos of military members. Siblings meeting for the very first time. 

“And so many of life’s most beautiful milestones,” says Kenny. Hundreds of groom’s “first looks” before wedding ceremonies. Cheering parents at school graduations. Vacation memories. Mom’s teaching a baking recipe to their children. Little league home runs.” 

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Kenny says the videos contain “lots of jokes and laughs, too.”  Hundreds of giggling babies and adorable puppies doing naughty things. And just everyday jokes and pranks and silly moments captured on film. People dress up, sing songs, even use Cameo videos to surprise their recipients with celebrity shout-outs. And loads of group birthday messages often from adoring students to their teachers and big families to their matriarchs and patriarchs turning 70, 80 even 100 this year.

“There are practical videos, too,” said Kenny. Real estate agents touring the homes they hope to sell. Brides asking their besties to stand up in their weddings.  Co-workers wishing their retiring friends the best wishes for their next chapters in life and friends giving mom advice to their expecting girlfriends. Grandparents reading books to their grandkids, student films, professional films and even a few job applications!”

Sometimes Kenny feels like a voyeur, peering into the lives of people she’ll never meet. There are even times she needs to take a break for fear her tears will land on the product.  

“One day my husband asked me if it felt odd to me that I need to watch such personal moments people are sending to people they love. I answered instantly, before he could finish his question, with an easy “No, absolutely not,” said Kenny.  

You see, Kenny spent the past 15 years as a documentary filmmaker, telling stories about people’s lives so this all feels so natural and real to her. As a documentarian, she was telling impactful stories, but for every moment of beauty or pain we can capture, Americans experience thousands or even millions more. “Seeing into real human lives as they wish to share them with their loved ones, even my brief glimpse, is a true privilege,” said Kenny. 

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So what did Kenny conclude? She said she believes many people are genuinely happy. “Their lives are filled with joy and moments of love and happiness and they want to share that joy with others. This opportunity has restored my faith that we’ll get through this chapter because every single day I witness the genuine love that exists in this world,” said Kenny. “Sure, I keep my Kleenex close by, but most days, what I find myself doing is laughing and singing along!”

(by James Darington)

Media Contact
Company Name: Heirloom
Contact Person: Ashley Kenny
Email: Send Email
Country: United States