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Being YouTube Famous?

February 6, 2013

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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.

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Being YouTube Famous?

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  1. My college roommate is leaving to teach in Korea in August and we’re both huge fans. Hopefully we’ll run into you when I come visit!

    3 years ago
  2. I’m a Nasty since 2009 and I’ve seen 3 apartments, 3 different colors on Spudgy, 1 new cat, 1 new studio, 184775452 different earrings from Martina and 122980480 different T-shirt from Simon :P Seriously guise, I’m so happy to see what happen to you and I’m really really impressed by what’s happening. I really hope to see you one day and tell you how much I respect you and how I feel happy watching your videos. You are awesome and we, the Nasties, we’ll always support you!

    3 years ago
  3. i hv the question for TLDR… i just wonder y idols stay at dorm even they already sunbaenim, famous, wealthy enough to hv they own house. even they hv their own family. sometimes they already bought a home for their family. why they still living in dorm?

    3 years ago
  4. Been a Nasty for 16 months! Can I talk about it months…as if it were a baby? I’m a baby Nasty I guess. I absolutely died laughing when Simon was like “Simon and Meeeeehhhhhhhhhhhh” hahha That’s the kind of thing, when you’re editing your video, you have to have laughed at every time!

    3 years ago
  5. HI! I have a question for TL:DR. I was wondering how are all the kpop stars ,,goings-on” in Korea? Do they have this typical ,,celebrities” like Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan with all this weird stuff they do? Yeah, with all this nasty(in a bad way) things like drugs, alkohol etc.

    PS. Pozdrowienia z Polski dla Simona i Martiny ;))

    3 years ago
  6. I have a question that’s been bugging me for so long! What are your thoughts about celebrities and people in general in Korea having so much plastic surgery? I know it is a sensitive topic but every time I see a kpop video I see the influence of plastic surgery on sometimes all members of a group. Its mind blowing the amount of people that goes under this procedure! Did you already made a video talking specifically about plastic surgery in Korea? Then please point me out on where to watch it as I still don’t find anything about your thoughts on this matter. Thanks and keep doing the amazing work your doing. Love you guys! Hugs from Puerto Rico! xo

    3 years ago
  7. Can I just say I had real goosebumps hearing their screams O.O I’ve been a fan ever since you were still in your first hostel (?) was that even the word anyway my English sucks maybe Martina can teach me. And I’ve kind of stopped watching your Music Mondays videos because I was so busy with college :)) but wow, how was it even possible to see so much videos! Martina and Simon, you’ve come a long way and even though I don’t watch your videos anymore and as one of the old Nasties, I’M SO PROUD OF YOU ;A;

    3 years ago
  8. i’ve been a nasty since…..you posted the KMM for SHINee’s Japanese MV!!!
    hehehe and i’m so glad i watched it and discovered you guys!!!

    actually though i remember before i even knew you guys, every time i watched MBLAQ’s cry, i saw a suggested video on the side of a guy who was underwater with tissue or something up his nose……yes…that was you Simon!!!
    i never actually watched it ^^;;, i just thought in my head ‘what on earth?’
    but yeah after i realised it was you guys i watched it and thought to myself why didn’t i click on this before? haha!!

    3 years ago
  9. simon and martini! simon and mama mia! simon and malibu! simon and mario!

    3 years ago
  10. I agree that fame is freakin subjective. I’ve been watching your videos for over a year, but about, for example, Smosh I found out just a month ago:D Before I didn’t even know they exist!

    3 years ago
  11. Yeah totally agree with you guys. You guys are celebs to me but in a total kind and approachable way. OMG I have been watching since who knows when and loved your blog posts so much cause I can get little snippets of Korea before I finally get to come over MID THIS YEAR FOR EXCHANGE……and one of the things on my to do list is to VISIT THE EYK STUDIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 years ago
  12. that last paragraph really sums it up

    we, who have seen many.. possibly hundreds of your videos, or been with you since your beginning
    feel a connection with you guys
    and we want to be your friends!
    you both seem SUPER COOL and INTERESTING, talking with you would be amazing
    you aren’t behind that sparkly and ever perfect wall that is “Idol” which is what I mostly see
    you guys are like.. extended family~ quirky and creative, gosh i love you guizz xD

    3 years ago
  13. I’m just a casual viewer but I’m going to be in Korea in April. I promise if I see you I will say hello and remember your names but I have poor name recollection.

    3 years ago
  14. You have no idea how I wish I could AYY GURL you one day! It’s great how accessible you two are, it really means a lot to fans.

    3 years ago
  15. How do you use your washing machines in Miami? Pretty much how everyone else in the United States and world uses them.
    Sparingly because bills are expeeeeeensiiiiive. No seriously, I don’t think there’s anything special about washing machines in Miami. Ergh.

    On another note, I never miss the opportunity to tell you guys how awesome you are in your life goals, your careers and your relationship as a married couple. EYK hwaiting! I have always been and will always be in love with your adaptibility, and I hope you guys never lose sight of that. <3

    3 years ago
  16. Nasty since 2009/2010 here :D I’ve watched “how to dance kpop style 2009” and stayed :) I miss WTF a little. I love what you are doing now, but WTF was amusing. I wish I could “roll my sexy window” to you one day :)

    3 years ago
    • Yeah, we miss the WTF segment as well. We’ve deeply been considering bringing them back!

      3 years ago
      • Yess please bring them back! The WTF videos was how I discovered you guys long ago and what made me stay :)

        3 years ago
      • What about K-Krunch Cocktail? I liked how you picked random videos and dramas to review :D

        3 years ago
      • Maybe you can bring it back not as a regular but as something that happens when you find something really cool/odd that needs to be shared. But I really do miss the WTF segment

        3 years ago
      • WTF once in a while would be absolutely fantastic :)

        *side note on* OMG OMG you replied *fangirling*, my friend will be extra jelly when I text her :D *side note off*

        “cześć dzień dobry” from Poland :)

        3 years ago
    • I miss WTF too! It reminded me of when I used to live in Asia. The amazingly random and wonderful things you can find!

      3 years ago
  17. Kind of funny that Martina is worried about being caught pulling wedgies out of her butt :P And Simon’s comment about picking his nose reminds me of Sophia Petrillo (from Golden Girls).

    3 years ago
  18. I first discovered Simon & Martina through a Running Man episode and from then I just kept watching your videos. I find all the information videos very informative and your opinions hilarious at times.

    3 years ago
  19. Hey, don’t say that your teaching degrees / experience has left you with completely nontransferable skills! So much creativity, organizational and planning skills, and charisma (especially in terms of being aware of whether your “audience” is responding in the way you want them to) , quick thinking on your feet, etc., goes into teaching. It’s no small accomplishment to have completed a teaching degree and have a few successful years of teaching experience. While you guys are awesome and would have created awesome videos even if you had no teaching background, I’m sure that it has positively impacted how you do your blogging in ways that are difficult to quantify.

    I started working at a hagwon in Seoul this past December. All I do at my job is regurgitate a pre-planned curriculum I HAVE to adhere closely to (or else! O_o). Given that, it should be an easy job, but I lack in so many of the skills I’ve mentioned above that I’m having a hard time and I now have mad respect for people who are, like, ACTUAL teachers. So mad props to you two for being actual teachers!

    And yes, I understand the loans for all those degrees suck. :/

    P.S. It’s on my Korea bucket list to run into you two in the street. (Hopefully when you’re with Spudgy!)

    3 years ago
  20. I consider myself a hardcore Nasty! *ooh I’m sooo nasty* lol. I remember when Simon used to make lesson plan videos and I was waiting for Martina to make one too, but she never did. :P I’ve seen every video you’ve ever made and I always get the KMM jokes! Ok, just bragging. But it is awesome what you guys have achieved these past few years. :)

    3 years ago
    • Yeah, I really planned on making a video but I was worried about my students because I was at an all girls high school and I just thought about all the creepers leaving dirty comments about my Korean students, and then I’d go into a motherly teacher rage and murder someone and be banned from the internet. So I decided it was best not to do it in the end. But oh man, my lesson plans were SOOOoOOooOOo long and detailed and always with huge media heavy Keynote presentations. We wanted to upload them to the website but we didn’t have enough server space (at the time)! I totally forgot about all my sweat and tears that went into my lesson plans! WOW!

      3 years ago
      • Ahh yeah, I guess creeper could leave weird comments, eww. :( I bet you were a good teacher! I was thinking of becoming an English teacher for awhile but with my husband being a non-native English speaker, he would just go crazy with boredom! It’s ok though but I really want to visit Korea at some point and hopefully meet you guys! :D

        3 years ago
  21. Hey! OK, I have couple of questions for which I am kinda sure they won’t be in TL;DR section, however I’ll try, who knows.
    Have you ever been intimidated with an occasional outburst of hostile intentions from the North? Do you know anyone who maybe knows anyone who defected and what is the general view of Koreans regarding the North? Is it a tabu subject to talk about?
    Tnx. :-)

    3 years ago
  22. i actually know u guys through the AYYYY GURLLLL JYJ video. LOL. I’m glad how u guys made it into a even more famous thing now that every nasty knows the Ayy Girl move… Love u guys, u guys r such inspiration to people <3

    3 years ago
  23. I worked for 4 years as a guide in AK, and was once asked how we do laundry in Alaska… “We take it out back and beat it with a rock”…..I found EYK in the process of looking into ex pat life in Korea, and started off with the instructional videos…now I’m hooked and I watch everything…-_- But I still reference back to your more informational videos, like how to pay your bills in Korea…I like that one…And although I will be coming to Korea sometime within the next two years, I promise not to photograph you Martina if you are not wearing makeup or in Pjs….actually, I won’t take a pic unless I have your permission..,….*daydreams about Korea*

    3 years ago
  24. Been watching you since last may. Discovered your videos in the middle of my exams :P They provided much needed relief for my poor brain in between going over organic chemistry :P One question, me and the bf are planning a trip to korea, if I promise to buy you a drink can we meet you please????? You would make my trip :D

    3 years ago
  25. this is so heartwarming. Thank you, Simon and Martina, for being the people that you are and sharing that with the world. That’s really all there is to it, because you two are being yourselves. yay! (:

    3 years ago
  26. i cried from happiness!!! Humility will take you very far~ ♥
    I’ve felt your joy of having to meet your ‘extended family’ on a daily basis~~~♥♥♥♥

    3 years ago
  27. favorite part of the bog post “”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.” YUP! we all can totally relate to that..

    3 years ago
  28. Student loans will be the death of me! Seriously why so expensive (ㅠ.ㅠ) oh well! Its all worth it in the end~
    I love that Nasties yell “Ayy Gurl, can I buy you a drank?” at you! hahaha and the description in your blog post about trying to explain to friends who/what EYK is! So true! Last week I had to explain to my parents why I was sitting on the computer laughing uncontrollably… I tried to explain, but it got really awkward xD

    3 years ago
  29. You guys came a long long way. So proud of you guys. :3

    3 years ago
  30. I was seriously grinning while you guys talked about the Nasty extended family. I’ve been a fan since . . . I don’t know, but KMM was in the very first apartment, and watching you grow and grow and be successful just makes me happy. Like you’re my kid kids going from third grade dance recitals to the. Superbowl of ballets. I don’t know much about ballet. The point is, go team. This didn’t come off arrogant in the slightest.

    3 years ago
  31. HIPSTER NASTY watched your videos before it was cool.

    3 years ago
  32. <3

    This made me feel so happy that the Nasties you meet are usually nice and awesome.

    Lols. Martina, I feel your pain. For some strange reason people randomly always call me Nicole. As you know my name is not Nicole, but I must look like a Nicole since they keep insisting that it must be my name. Latest was my own Doctor who started writing my name as Nicole on the prescription. oi vey!

    3 years ago
  33. I think I started watching you guys when Simon left his daytime job and Martina was the one bringing the bread home :P It’s been awesome watching EYK evolve to what it is today and makes me really happy to see you guys succeed. Also you lifted my spirit a lot because I had just moved to the UK and the culture shock was hitting me bad because I also jumped into moving to a different continent all by my lonesome, but hey I’m still here and going strong :) Thanks!

    3 years ago
  34. I found you guys when I was looking into teaching English in Japan, oddly enough. One of your videos came up as related on YouTube. I had no idea that bringing in foreigners to teach English was common practice in Korea as well. Since I was then a high school teacher and I am Canadian, I kinda felt a connection with you guys. So of course I watched all of your other videos and was thus properly introduced to k-pop. A couple years later, I’m sitting here, wishing I could ~buy you a drank~ One day, when I have enough saved for my dream holiday to Japan and Korea, I plan on including the EYK studio on my list of tour destinations.
    ヾ(^∇^)

    3 years ago
  35. Your videos cheer me up sooo much. You guys are so honest, positive, funny and down to earth so the fact that you have done so well with your youtube videos just seems obvious and unsurprising to me. Thanks so much for bringing the happy.

    3 years ago
  36. Quote – “We don’t wear underwear anymore”, the main downside of being Youtube Famous :)

    3 years ago
  37. Oh no, now I will forever plan how to approach you, just in CASE I will meet you one day. At least you made me sure to actually do so when seeing you!

    Aaaw! Nasties love you too!

    3 years ago
  38. sasaeng fans scares me, like literally..

    3 years ago
    • Leo

      when I first saw the photo of Junsu I thought the sasaengs looked like zombies..

      the way they crowd at the window is just so scary

      3 years ago
    • That photo of Junsu in the restaurant gives me the chills whenever I happen on it.

      3 years ago
    • They both scare me, and make me physically uncomfortable when I think about them…

      3 years ago
      • Do you guys have saesang fans?

        3 years ago
        • Nope! Or maybe we have NINJA saesang fans that are really good at hiding. 0_____o

          3 years ago
        • Incoming rant (not directed at any comment here, just on the general topic) I have a theory, it’s armchair psychology mind you, that half of the problem is referring to them as saesang fans. It created an identification out of a collection of mentally unbalanced, attention obsessed people. It gave them a name, made them a tribe. They can pride themselves on their irrational behavior because they are “saesang” and, according to the media, that’s what “saesang” are supposed to do. People are shocked at their attention getting antics, but when the media talks about them, they’ve succeeded in their goal, which was getting attention. I’ve seen people on forums say that if they were real fans, they wouldn’t behave this way. Well…of course they wouldn’t. It’s not about the artist, it’s about the behavior. It’s the behavior they enjoy, it’s the behavior that’s getting them the attention they want. The more attention the behavior gets, the more successful it was. The best way to stop (or at least reduce) the behavior is to stop referring to them like some special club, and to stop giving the behavior so much attention.

          3 years ago
        • I agree… the attention is probably a really bad influence on those fans… it’s like many things, if you give people attention, that can sometimes just fuel the extreme behaviours more. They essentially just wanted to be seen and noticed by their idol, and the goal seems to be being remembered, good or bad. Like I once heard an idol (I forgot who) say that a fan came up and slapped them on the face, saying “Now you won’t forget me!”, or something… It’s just a competition now, its sick.

          On the other hand though, I think giving it attention is also pretty essential, in the sense of highlighting it as a serious issue, and showing what kind of stuff idols real have to deal with. Stalking is stalking, assault is assault, threats are threats, whether the subject is a celebrity or not. I would also suggest that South Korea needs some sort of campaign against them, for example not allowing fans from giving sooo many presents to the idols (at the very least its totally wasteful!), giving them more secure places to live and actually having the courage to persecute those ‘fans’ that go too far, get restraining orders etc. there is way too much pandering to them currently, in my opinion.

          I’d love to hear a TLDR on the topic, but I wouldn’t want a saesang mob attacking EYK D8

          3 years ago
        • Saesanasties!!

          3 years ago
  39. Nasty since year 2 here, and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve loved seeing your journey. Even I feel all nostalgic and smiley when I see past videos.

    3 years ago
    • Actually, scratch that. I just found a reason to hate you. You guys introduced me to Reddit when you mentioned it a while back and it RUINED ME. So yeah, thanks getting me hooked on the greatest evil on the internet.

      3 years ago
  40. *holds hand up

    3 years ago
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