Being YouTube Famous?
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.