Georgia Southern engineering student Hannah Walden at first thought a message she received through her and her father’s YouTube channel about being featured in a Netflix series might’ve been some kind of scam.
“It was kind of crazy,” she recalled.
Maybe. But it wasn’t a scam.
Instead, one thing led to another, including a seven-week stay in 2020 in Los Angeles for production. The result, Baking Impossible, premieres Wednesday on Netflix.
In the show, Walden, a 2018 Richmond Hill High School graduate, is one of a number of engineers teamed up with bakers to see who can create what out of food, such as an edible boat that floats, or an edible skyscraper or mini golf course, and one team is eliminated each episode.
There’s not much else Walden can say about the production or the show, the first six episodes of which are being released Wednesday. The rest of the first season will be available Oct. 13.
For Walden, the road to Baking Impossible started with her father, Chuck Walden, an IT professional who found himself with extra time on his hands about a decade ago.
Bored, he started designing stuff to build around the house, then building it -- and time in the workshop became a way for father and daughter to spend quality time together. Projects ranged from an anti-theft device for the television to a place to sort and shred mail to a secret door for the laundry room to a 12-foot-tall dinosaur, and more.
In 2019, Chuck and Hannah decided to create their own YouTube channel, Atomic Dairy, which now has about 10,000 followers and some 95 videos ranging from five minutes in length to 30 minutes, depending, Walden said, on the “complexity of the project.”
“It is the most fun in the world,” she added. “The best part is I get to hang out with my dad, largely because of these projects.”
Hannah, 22, is one of Chuck and Donna Walden’s three daughters. She has an older sister, Shannon, and a younger sister, Becca.
“We’re all really close in age,” Walden said. “But we have extremely different personalities and extremely different interests.”
And though Walden and her father do the building, the rest of the family helps with suggestions for designs, making it a “fun dynamic,” she said.
It also helped lead her into her chosen field as a mechanical engineer.
“I had been building things with Dad around a decade, and learning the engineering process the entire time, and as projects got more and more complex the next step was to become a mechanical engineer, which is kind of the jack of all trades within engineering. It also gives you room to innovate and figure out new things as I grow professionally.”
Her goal is to design rollercoasters, though not just for anyone.
“I’d like to design rollercoasters for Disney,” Walden said. “Because that is where Make a Wish kids always make wishes to go. I’d like to help people find some happiness. That’s been my goal since the eighth grade, to use my mechanical engineering talents to help people find joy.”
Not surprisingly, Walden has long been an academic standout. During her time at RHHS she was involved in Science Olympiad competitions and took college classes at Armstrong Atlantic State University as part of the move on when ready program.
She’s also relished her independence as a college student.
“I remember going to a movie in the middle of the day just because I could,” Walden said. “It’s that whole independence thing where you know you can make it on your own. It’s awesome I have parents who love me and are there to support me if I need it, but hey, I went to LA all by myself and met some incredibly amazing and talented people that I competed against.”
“If this is what I’m doing know, what am I going to be doing in the future,” she said.
MORE PHOTOS of Hannah and her DAD appear below: