In Carol Fowler's Direct Realist account of speech perception, linguistically significant gestures of the vocal tract are a common currency for both speech perception and production. A straightforward prediction of this account is that listeners will produce what they perceive, leading to imitation or gestural drift. Many studies by Fowler and colleagues have established gestural imitation across acoustic, perceptual, and articulatory measures and provided a valuable framework for understanding phonetic form variation and imitation. As such, this framework's enduring legacy will continue to enrich an understanding of phonetic form variation in spoken communication. This article reviews Fowler's pioneering work on these issues and some of the work that it has inspired.