Pop Culture

‘Everybody can relate’: Meet the B.C. woman rating the world’s Skype setups

How good is your home Skype setup? Is it as good as Hilary Clinton’s?

Thanks to one B.C. woman’s now-viral social media project, there’s a yardstick to compare them.

Jessie Bahrey is the mind behind Room Rater, a Twitter account capitalizing on the fact that many newsmakers, celebrities and journalists have found themselves confined to their homes during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

That’s giving the public a new eye into many public figures’ homes that Bahrey, a resident of Port Moody, couldn’t resist.

She and her partner started rating the video rooms for fun together and moved the joke online about two weeks ago. Since then, they’ve accumulated more than 120,000 followers.

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I think that was actually part of the reason why this has been such a big hit is because everybody can relate to people who have laundry, have a cat photobomb, have kids run into the room, have, you know, photos that aren’t perfectly straight on the walls,” she told Dawna Friesen in an interview with Global News’ The New Reality.

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I think it makes it relatable. I think it makes it fun. And I think everybody just needs a little bit of laughter and levity these days.”

No personality is too big for Room Rater — the account has weighed in on both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s video setups.

Clinton scored a 9/10 for her “bright” and “charming” decor.

Trudeau got an 8/10 for his “good mix of well-read books, photos and objets d’art,” but Room Rater felt “a well placed succulent would add colour.”

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Several Global News personalities have also found themselves on Room Rater’s radar — some scoring points for their art collections, professional and amateur.

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Bahrey, who is a manager at a wholesale nursery, says she has no TV production background, though her partner, a photographer, has helped analyze angles and lighting.

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But as far as interior design, we’re just winging it,” she said.

We critique the flaws, anything that we can see. We try really, really hard to keep it light and fun. And you know what? For the most part, everybody has been having fun with it.”

Many of the targets of Room Rater’s good-natured barbs have taken it as motivation to up their game, Bahrey said — adjusting backgrounds, adding props and even tagging the Room Rater account to get their attention when they’ve made a change.

We actually had a wife that used our review to publicly ask her husband to if they could get wallpaper now,” she said.

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For anyone who finds themselves doing a video interview — or even just joining a video chat, Bahrey has some advice gleaned from her experience as the internet’s foremost room rater.

“The angle of the camera is really important because a lot of times you get too close or too far away and that wrecks the shot. Sometimes the lighting isn’t good,” she said.

I would say that the bright colours and plants add a lot to the room. I would say the bookshelves. It seems like everybody wants to be in front of a bookshelf.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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