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Oh boy: is this ever an awkward topic for us. How can we talk about it without seeming arrogant, yet how can we answer the question somewhat accurately? The video’s already darn long with our rambling. I think the first thing we can say that we didn’t mention in the video is that, regardless of what is actually happening to us, we don’t FEEL like we’re famous. We feel like famous people/celebrities are super talented in some special way and that is was their GOAL to become famous, via sports, acting, music, whatever. I think if you enter the world never planning on being known by other people, it’s a bit of a shock and difficult to grasp in your mind.

Now when it comes to being YouTube famous, we know that we’re not anywhere close to Nigahiga or Smosh who have millions of subscribers. They’re the most famous of the YouTube famous. They’re A-listers. Whatever we are, we’re not top-tier, but we’ve experienced a small slice of fame from YouTube, and it has changed our lives quite a bit.

So, we’re going to try to talk as candidly as we can about what our lives are like now that we are where we are in our Eatyourkimchi careers, which – by the way – we had no intention of making careers out of originally, and we consider ourselves vastly fortunate for being able to do. It still surprises us. We always think to ourselves that, if we were to wake up, and realize that the internet shut down forever, or if people just stopped watching us overnight, we’d probably be like “yeah, that seems about right.”

Being able to work in a studio now with other people is also totally awesome for us. Before, it was just the two of us in our pyjamas at home all day, isolated from the world, living like crazy kpop hermits, filming and editing non-stop, with our business life and home life becoming intertwined endlessly. It seems like every time we hear about YouTube celebs, they’re often described as introverts as well, since they’re always stuck in their basements filming and editing. So, for us, having a studio now is so much more refreshing and invigorating. We walk into the office, see Leigh and Soo Zee, bounce ideas off each other, plan projects together, learn things from one another, and create things together. We feel rejuvenated in this environment, you know? Having that split between work and life is really important, even though we didn’t realize it before.

Ok, so that’s part of the first answer about how our lives have changed personally as a result of Eat Your Kimchi. We went from isolated teachers (haha, trust me, lesson planning is SO deeply consuming as other teacher reading will surely agree), to isolated video editing hermits, to slowly reintegrating with society now that we have other people helping us with the editing. We went from employees on a clear career path to small business owners. We went from people working in the public service sector to the bloggers in the creative industry.

As to how our lives have changed in society in relation to others, as opposed to just how things have changed ourselves, the biggest change for us is that we’re no longer anonymous. Unless we hide under umbrellas and take all of the smallest side streets, we are recognized everyday. Sometimes only once a day, other times once every ten minutes. It’s honestly something that shocks us, shocks others that are with us, and it’s something we have a lot of thoughts on.

1) Fame is extremely subjective: when we meet people who recognize us, there are many different reactions, ranging from “oh! I think I know you!” to “ERMAHGERRRRDDDD!!!” Whoever it is that we meet, we’re always interested in the people that they’re hanging out with at the time, because those are the ones that often look at us like “who the eff are these dirty hipsters?” and then they try to get their friends to hurry up, while the person who recognized us is like “OMG YOU DON’T REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!!” That’s why we can never have any sense of inflated ego about this. No matter how many people recognize us, there will be many more who will have no idea who the hell we are. And the most hilarious thing is watching a Nasty try to explain who we are to their unimpressed friend…”They make videos about Korea, and they go wanking, I mean, not like real wanking, it’s like, wonderful adventure now…okay never mind, but they have these kpop review segments with…oh right you hate kpop….well their fapfaps are so informational…no wait it’s not like that…it’s like their dog has blue hair…just…ahhh…never mind.”

The same thing happened for Martina’s Birthday, when we were at a hotel which happened to be having a party with “celebrities,” who would tell us in conversation that they’re famous celebrities…who we’ve never heard of. I don’t think anyone has the right to claim they’re famous unless they’re the president of the USA. That’s someone everyone knows! Everyone else varies in degrees of obscurity, the slightest hint of which should put them back in their place.

Being “famous” doesn’t mean anything. Everyone’s famous in one way or another. You’re famous in your family. You’re famous in your classroom. And oftentimes, you’re more famous in these settings than people who are supposedly “famous” elsewhere. G-Dragon is huge here: if he didn’t tell everyone in advance where he’s going, would he be famous in Pocatello, Idaho? Maybe if their are any VIPS there, but otherwise, he’ll just be a Korean dude in Idaho.

Which is why YouTube fame strikes me as so odd. I remember reading an interview from a famous YouTuber who has over a million subs (can’t remember who it was, though) and he said that he gets recognized in the streets around once every six months or so. To which we were freaking floored. How the eff is that?!?!?! That’s impossible. We get recognized daily, and his audience is many times larger than ours, but people don’t recognize him? DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! BRAIN ASPLODE!!!

But then we think, well, here in Korea, we do stick out more than regular looking folk. Martina has pink hair. I’m freaking tall as hell and have a red mohawk. In a country where we’re taller than most people, and the hair colour is predominantly black, we do stick out more, and thus have a higher chance of getting recognized, the way a purple man would be more recognizable in the USA. So, recognition does not equal fame, or celebrity, or whatever. But when we get recognized when we’re in other countries, especially on the streets of Toronto: that’s when we feel like barfing from mind-blowing explosions of whhhaatttt!???

2) Because we’re regularly recognized, we’re a lot more cautious: we can’t go out looking like crap, just in case someone asks for a picture. Well, I supposed we can, but then you feel like crap when that picture shows up. When we’re out filming in public, we’re in the zone, and we’re always REALLY surprised to see a tweet or message from someone who says that they saw us but didn’t want to say hi because we looked busy. COME SAY HI!!! Please! It’s always the most uplifting part of our day! Honestly, it’s amazing how meeting a Nasty can recharge our energy and drive us to be better.

We have to say that regardless of this little slice of fame we experience, we’re grateful for how awesome the Nasty’s are with us. We know real celebrities in Korea, and from what they tell us, random people in public treat them like subhumans. People run up to celebrities, take pictures and demand pictures, demand 10 autographs for their girlfriend, nephews, cousins, and friends, then leave after getting their fill. They don’t care if the person is in the rain, or in a rush, or hungry, it’s like, “HEY YOU! STOP YOUR LIFE AND GIVE STUFF TO ME!” People never treat us that way. People want to have conversations with us, hang out and talk, have some drinks, and just treat us like we’re friends. The celebrities that we know get fawned upon, but are never talked to like regular humans. Maybe they like it. Maybe they don’t. I know that, for us, you couldn’t pay us enough money to be in their position. It sounds terrible. To us, we’re happy to talk to people that talk to us like people, and it feels like, rather than being spotted like a celebrity, people greet us like a family does at an airport.

So, TL;DR: we love you guise.

ToFebruary
  1. Simon went through all those M words and I literally could no longer remember Martina’s name. I sat there like, “why do I wanna call her Martha??” Well played.

  2. What is the university/college life like in Korea? Is it similar to the US: Like living in the dorms, are classes constructed the same way(having classes at different timings) Or is it similar to school but in a university?

  3. Now that you guys are so crazy famous (k, maybe just a little crazy) have you ever been stocked or had a fan do something really creepy?

  4. A question for TL;DR :
    If you are sick or injured in South Korea, how do you find a doctor? Are the doctors traditional eastern medicine doctors or are there some western-type doctors? What is the quality of care and is it expensive? Do you need a special health plan?

    Cyber_3 – frankly, this is probably one of the most important questions when travelling, but it’s hard to find info on……

  5. What are your thoughts about shipping? And do you think there is a difference on how shipping is “lived/viewed” by korean fans as compered to international fans?

  6. query: with the KMAs happening soon, Is there any any awards ceremony that you watch annually or prefer, and do you agree with those artists who’ve been nominated?

  7. Oh its really nice how you love your fans so much its kind of sweet

  8. Okay, I’ve got 2 questions :]

    1. How are the restrooms in Korea? (Clean/dirty, fancy/squatters, etc) And where can someone find the clean and nice bathrooms if they are rare?

    2. Can you explain the concept of fan-service (e.g. boy-band members kissing) and why it’s so popular (if it’s as popular as it seems to be on YouTube)? And why don’t there seem to be videos of girl-band members doing the same? Is it because of gender-stigmas, or fans of girl groups not being as into it, or something else?

  9. Hi Simon and Martina! I’m Mackenzie from Australia and I’m 18 :D
    Here’s my question for TL:DR; How aware are South Koreans of North Korea and what are the general opinions of S.Koreans on the people and Government of N.Korea? How do they feel about there being two Korea’s and do S.Koreans feel any sort of connection with N.Koreans?
    I’ve been meaning to ask for a while and though it would be appropriate after the tremor on the 12th :) Hope no one you know was affected by the tremor and wishing you all the luck with the New Year!

  10. I really hope I can meet you guys someday. You’re amazing!
    As for my question… I was wondering, are there many boys that are fans of K-Dramas ? At least in Korea?

  11. Wooo, Windsor! That’s where I grew up!
    Though I don’t think I could move back ever – haha Love you guys! Every video reaffirms my desire to visit Korea. :)

  12. Man… I saw Martina on the streets of Myeongdong back in like 2009 and I so regret not stopping you and saying hello! I’ve been a fan of Eat Your Kimchi since then and it’s awesome to see how it’s developed and grown. Hwaiting!

  13. This is the first time I’m actually commenting on your videos (except for that one time for the Go Away KMM), but I wanted to let you guys know that I’ve been watching your videos almost from the beginning. I started when I found your How to Dance Kpop 2008, and haven’t stopped since. I love you guys so much and think you’re hilarious Also, I really look up to you two as amazing relationship role models. The fact that you guys have been married for five years and still act like goofballs, have fun, and are still so in love is really remarkable. Keep doing what your doing!!!!!!

  14. So, Simon & Martina, we love you guise!!

  15. Don’t feel bad Martina. My 5 year old niece recognizes you and knows your name and she calls Simon “the other one.” Every time i play one of your videos she says “look its Martina and the other one”

  16. You’re allowed to choke the paparazzi if you’re a Canadian prime minister…

  17. What do Koreans think about facial hair? Korean guys with beard seem to be very rare. Is it due to cultural reasons? I’ve got a nicely trimmed three-day beard and I’m curious about what people will think about it when I’m going to study in Seoul.

  18. What do Koreans think about facial hair? Korean guys with a beard seem to be very rare. Is it due to cultural reasons? I’ve got a nicely trimmed three-day beard and I’m curious about what people will think about it since I’m going to study in Seoul in two years.

  19. I watched some of your old videos and you look so much younger now. It seems like both of you aged backwards! Is it just because of your diet, or lighting and makeup? Please share your beauty tips!

  20. Aww ^^ This TL;DR made me feel all warm and fluffy inside. I’m so glad to be a Nasty.

    And, honestly, I would treat all celebrities like regular people first, because that’s what they are, people. Like, if I randomly saw Taeyang or GD in the streets, I’d say hi and give them a wave. I wouldn’t even ask for an autograph because I’d feel so awkward doing it…even though they’re celebrities and they do that sort of stuff. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

    And I think why you guys don’t have any sasaengs or any intensely crazy fans is because you guys can connect to all of us more than regular K-pop idols, which I think is totally awesome. I mean, most of them have twitters and me2days that they can connect to their general public of fans with, but you guys will reply to some of our tweets or our questions on tumblr, and I think that’s so cool of you guys. And it’s like you said in the video, we’re all just one big Nasty family ^^

    So, my little ramble coming to a close, I just want to say thank you for all of your hard work and I hope to see you guys in Korea one day when I get to go over :D

  21. I still don’t know how Meemers got his name. Mind explaining? (:

  22. Is it creepy if I say that I’ve been watching you guys for three years, and have seen all your videos? You’re famous in my eyes!

  23. (I’m exactly sure where to post questions for tl;dr’s OTL so is here okay? :3)

    TL;DR
    How does the school system work in Korea?

    I know about the age system/difference, so would kids start school earlier?

    I’ve seen idols graduate and attend ceremonies in the middle of January, so is the time for summer and vacations for students different in South Korea?

  24. i raised ny hand!! xD well i half raised it haha. i found you guys in 2009 soo–but i went back amd watched all the old videos haha! :0

    i really want to know what tiu guys were like in college/highschool! like i know martina was going through a gothy phase haha but what about simon? and did you guys belong to any clubs or sports?

  25. Simon and Nairobi lol my home city woot woot!! I always wonder if you sometimes meet celebrities who recognise you. I remember U-kiss recognizing you in the Backstage at Inkigayo video(which i kept screaming with each celeb).

  26. Will you do more Korean grocery store videos? or cooking Korean food videos?

  27. It would be cool for you guys to do a video on how widely practiced Martial Arts is in Korea, and if you have had any personal experiences in regards to it while in Korea.

  28. Even though I am coming in from the middle I’m still watching your videos from the start, lol. It’s been awesome for my husband and I!

  29. I really hope that when i finally visit korea, i will randomly run into you in the street so i can talk to you! lol.

    i would be one of those people who would probably be afraid to approach you though… but i’d buy you a drink for sure!! ^_-

  30. You guise could make it into the Youtube Rewind if all the nasties picked one vid of yours and shared it with the world. That would be pretty awesome :)

  31. hi,

    do you happen to know for how long you can store things in T-BOX or EZ-LOCKERs. I’m planing a trip to Korea with a couple of friends but we would like to visit more then just one area and it would be very uncomfortable to carry huuuuge suitcases around from town to town. we wanted to leave the bulk of it in storage and just take a backpack with what we need for the period that we are in that town. What i would like to know is if we can pay for 3 days in advance or do we have to pay an amount every 12/24 hours.
    if you guys can answer thi it would be a huuuge help.
    thank you.

  32. Watching for a little over half a year. It may not be for long, but you guys really helped me with easing the first shocks and later slump of being laid off. A little bit of cheer and education in a fascinating country goes a long way. Thank you guys so much! :)

  33. LoL OMG the last bit… the face Martina made, oh dear that was great.

    Aaaah I wish I could meet you guys @_@ That’d be so fun ~cough~ HOPEFULLY I’ll be able to visit Korea someday…

  34. I remember that I tweeted you guys a the KPOP concert, and Simon turned around and waved at me, and I was so surprised, Best feeling ever meeting you guys in person and taking a picture with Martina, (hopefully next time we can get a picture together Simon). When I come to Korea, I’ll most try my best to find my way to see the exterior of the studio and maybe when you have those “fans are welcome to EYK studio” days, I would love to go.

    My “simple” Question is:
    What kind of Korean dramas you can relate to the most to real life situations? :)

  35. I’m hoping to go to Korea to intern..If I ever see you two, I will definitely roll down the window ‘Ayyy girl’ you bothand buy you a draaaankkk! Lol

  36. When I think of the nasties as one big family, my tummy gets all warm and fuzzy :) I would go to Korea just to see you guise and the studio, to buy you a drink and play settlers the drinking game. Just like a family. YUS!

    I LURVE S&M!!!! <3 <3 <3 (that sounds so fittingly kinky.)

  37. Another advantage you have over the youtubers on being recognized is that you’ve actually been on Korean TV.

    You say you aren’t celebrities, and it probably true that you can go into many places in the world and not be swarmed, but I seem to remember a certain KCON conference that gave you a taste of fame.

  38. If i ever saw you i would like die in a side street trying not to bother you by freaking out….
    Im friends with about four other peole who are your mega fans and several others who know you and when you came to Irvine (i live really close) we all freaked out, one of teh mega fans had a sister who saw you guise and we got so mad at her for not saying hi adn taking pictures, we were like NOOOOOOOOOO SO CLOSE AND SO FAR cause we couldn’t go see you…..
    Yeah we annoy our other friends at lunch by talking about your videos and kpop…. anyone else annoy non kpop people?

  39. I will totally flip out when I see you guys.

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