The Woman Who Does Your Garmin GPS Voice Is Kinda Hot
The face behind the GPS voice finds fame
If youíve ever used a GPS device for directions, you might already be acquainted with Karen Jacobsen. As the voice of ďAustralian-English KarenĒ in Garmin GPS products, she calmly instructs harried drivers to turn left, go 1.8 miles or ďrecalculateĒ their trips every day.
Jacobsen recently spoke with the Chronicleís Kristin Finan about her sense of direction, being yelled at by strangers and how her virtual gig with Garmin has helped her achieve celebrity status in real life. Some excerpts, edited and condensed:
Q: You started as a singer and voice-over artist in Australia. How do you feel about being an American GPS icon?
A: Isnít it the funniest thing? Iím in millions of cars right now telling people where to go. I find it hysterical.
Q: When you were hired as the voice of Australian-English Karen, you didnít know your words were going to be used for GPS devices. What was your reaction?
A: It was such a thrill and became even more of a thrill when people from all over the world started to contact me. Iíve had so many fun, entertaining experiences because people find it so novel that Iím in their GPS system.
Q: Have you ever been in the car and listened to yourself give directions?
A: (Laughs). Yes. I was sitting in the backseat with some friends who have me in their GPS system, and I ó as in Australian Karen in the Garmin GPS ó was giving them directions they didnít really want. So they asked me in the backseat if I knew a different route. We really had a giggle about that, because it was really backseat driving.
Q: How is your sense of direction?
A: This is going to sound a little ironic, but I have an excellent sense of direction.
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