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Smoukahontas videos go viral - viewed over 8 million times

Sara Forsberg of Jakobstad uploaded a chance video blog she made of herself speaking gibberish in the style of several different languages to YouTube one night and went to bed. When she woke, over 100,000 people had already watched it, and the number grew to an astounding 8 million in the next two weeks.

Kuvakaappaus Saran kielivideosta Youtubesta
A still from Smoukahontas' second popular video: What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners #2 Image: Youtube

Known to the world by her video blog moniker of “Smoukahontas”, Sara Forsberg found herself propelled into the international world of YouTube celebrities recently and job offers are pouring in. Before the whirlwind of the last two weeks started, Forsberg was a graduate of Finnish high school who was taking a gap year, working as a cashier at her local retail store and updating her vlog whenever she had too much time on her hands.  

“I had no expectations regarding the video when I put it on YouTube. It was just a whim. I uploaded it and went to bed. In the morning when I woke up, it had already been viewed over 100,000 times – it was like something from another stratosphere. I’m still taking it all in,” she says.

The idea behind Forsberg’s first video was to make a funny rendition of how different languages sound to her ear.

“The idea was to show what language sound like to foreigners. I count myself as a foreigner because I don’t speak those languages.”

Some viewers took offense at her parodies, with especially irritated responses coming from Portugal and Japan. “They actually are the languages I don’t have a clue about,” says Forsberg.

Everyone's a critic

Viewers requested that Forsberg mimic German, a language missing from her first video. She gave it a go and was satisfied with the result, but soon there were comments that Germans don’t gesticulate when they speak like she does in the video. Although she has no background in the theatre, Forsberg says that acting the part was half the fun.

“I’ve decided to quit caring about what they say because there’s no way to please everyone. There’ll always be someone who is unhappy.”

After two multi-language videos, Forsberg compiled a similar video of herself singing 14 different music genres, ranging from rap to evergreens to opera to indie pop. She thought she would strike while the iron was hot, as singing is also one of her fortes.

A great deal of national and international attention has come Forsberg’s way in the last two weeks, including job offers and study tips. For example, the University of Helsinki contacted her to encourage her to apply to study linguistics.

“Half of all applicants are accepted on the basis of the entrance exam alone and based on what they saw in the videos, I would have a pretty strong chance. I’ve thought about giving it a try,” she says.

Weighing her future options

There have also been plenty of career opportunities extended her way, but she is interested in pursuing a degree of some kind first. “I’m in no rush to join the working world; I’m still so young…” In any case, Forsberg no longer has the problem of too much time on her hands.

“Of course that is not a problem anymore, after all of this attention. But maybe it was the right move to make those videos. All of this pandemonium has been a really fun experience.”  

Even though so many have already found her, Smoukahontas is now at work on an info video about how to hook up with her on social media.

“Even though I have already done a few videos, people don’t actually know who I am and what I really do. The videos have just been posted randomly,” she says.

She promises that she will continue posting videos on YouTube. “As long as I think it’s fun, I’m going do it!”

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