ASMR is a term that stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” which describes a feeling of “tingling” in one’s head, spine, arms, and legs, that directly leads to feelings of extreme relaxation. Not everyone can feel ASMR, but those who can report being “triggered” by sounds such as whispering, tapping, or crinkling as well as visuals such as deliberate hand movements and colors. The phrase “ASMR” was coined in 2010 after a growing number of YouTubers started creating videos of themselves softly whispering while conducting simple tasks like flipping through magazines or reading children’s books. The calming and relaxing nature of the videos drew viewers to the “whisper community” and, by this point in 2017, hundreds of such channels exist.
Gibi is an ASMRist who started creating content in June of 2016. A long-time viewer and subscriber of the ASMR community and an active cosplayer, Gibi decided to combine her love of costumes, entertainment, and ASMR to begin her own channel. She established the first “Name Trigger” series through her Patreon and has since produced many videos — and garnered over 230,000 subscribers — via her portrayals of both well-known television characters and original characters. Gibi recently discussed her experiences in the ASMR community and her plans for the future of her channel:
Meagan Meehan (MM): You are famous for being an “ASMR Artist” on YouTube. Can you explain a bit about what ASMR is and what it means to you?
Gibi: ASMR is a phenomenon describing a tingling or relaxing sensation triggered by certain sounds or visuals. Videos made to trigger ASMR often times double as a sleep aid or to calm anxiety and assist with loneliness and depression. Because ASMR is used as a tool for so many things, it means quite a lot to me to be making these videos to help people, whether it’s as simple as just relaxing someone after a long day. I personally have used ASMR for a myriad of things, and I thank so many ASMRtists for providing that to me.
MM: What prompted you to start you channel? Did you ever expect to get as popular as you now are?
Gibi: I have always loved YouTube and entertainment, and ASMR was something that I’d watched for years and years. It was a very doable goal for me, to make a channel, because you don’t have to have a huge budget or a big team to create these videos. Some of my favorite videos are filmed on an old phone with no professional equipment whatsoever. And that’s what’s great about ASMR! You can put content out there for free, people can watch it for free, and it’s just a positive community overall. I happened to have bought a camera I planned on using for cosplay, and had an unexpected window of free time… so I just set it up and started! I had a few ideas that I wanted to see be made in the community, and no one had created them yet, so I thought, why not do it myself? I don’t think anyone expects to “blow up” so quickly, when I started making videos, the thought of a thousand subscribers sounded insane to me. So now, over 230,000 is just shocking, in a good way!
MM: Not everyone experiences ASMR. When did you first become aware of the “tingles” and how did you find the ASMR community?
Gibi: I always got “tingles,” even when I was a little kid playing pretend or having friends “draw” on your back. I used to watch a lot of very random videos quite often and I didn’t know why I kept going back to these particular videos (such as a crafting tutorial for a tool I never owned) except for the fact that they made me feel relaxed. I stumbled upon some massage videos, then whisper videos, and then ASMR formed! I was there for its beginnings, I always thought that was cool!
MM: What are your main relaxation “triggers” and which triggers are the most fun to record on camera for your viewers? For instance, if you make a tapping video for your viewers do you sometimes relax yourself in the process?
Gibi: I quite prefer videos with talking in it, roleplays, trigger compilations. I love tapping, lid sounds, and visual triggers such as eyelash curlers or hand movements. Because of that, I totally have been triggered by my own videos! Only when watching them back though, never when actually creating them. I find that I need to be completely still to experience ASMR. My favorite is to do tapping, when I have my headphones plugged into the microphone so I can hear what I’m doing! I find it really satisfying, and I don’t have to worry too much about what I’m saying like I do during a roleplay.
MM: You’ve made a lot of videos. Do you have a personal favorite? If so, which one and why?
Gibi: My personal favorite is my “Korra – Healing You Roleplay.” It’s the first time I did two different “scenes” and setups, and used sound effects etc. to sort of create a soundscape and immersive cinematic experience. It really made me feel proud, and creative, and Korra is just an awesome character to be even just for half an hour.
MM: You are a big fan of cos play and you have some really cool outfits. You sometimes film videos playing the “role” of characters. Have you ever had any experience with acting?
Gibi: I have! I did quite a lot of theater, and used to have my own YouTube channel where my brother and I made comedy sketches (this was 10 years ago, granted)! I love performing, writing skits, creating films. I wanted to go to school for acting, but I decided on a more “practical” major instead!
MM: What characters have you most enjoyed playing? Do you have any spoilers about possible future videos that you can share?
Gibi: Azula was my favorite performance, although it was actually the hardest! I have a “Team Rocket Roleplay” coming up that I’m SO excited about, but it’s going to be something I’ve never done before! I also can let it slip that I plan on doing a Bowser roleplay, and something nobody knows, a “Daenerys Roleplay”!
MM: You have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Has anyone ever recognized you in public?
Gibi: Yes! I had one person recognize me (or at least come up to me). I was taken aback and accidentally yelled “Holy s***! Hi!” which was so funny but so embarrassing! I have to work on that…
MM: ASMR is intended only to be relaxing but some people incorrectly believe it’s somehow sexual. Why do you think this misconception exists? What do you think can be done to tamper these erroneous ideas?
Gibi: I think people have a problem separating feeling intimate with feeling sexual. My videos are 100 percent appropriate for children, but some people definitely choose to take them into a context that they want. Some ASMRtists choose to add a sexual aspect to their videos, but ASMR in itself is not inherently sexual. I think anyone who educates themselves on what ASMR is, rather than being confused about “why is this lady trying to whisper in my ear?” would understand that to be true.
MM: What are your plans for your channel—and ASMR career in general—over the next ten years?
Gibi: I think that the digital age, YouTube, etc. all changes so much every few years. It’s impossible to predict where it will go, but as for myself personally, I would love to incorporate more cosplay, characters, series, into my channel, as well as figuring out the possibility of ASMR conventions, etc.! I would also love to start a new channel focused around casual gaming, cosplay, etc. As well as voice acting, which I adore!
MM: What’s the most rewarding thing about being an ASMR artist?
Gibi: It’s definitely knowing how it feels to be on the other side. I watched ASMR for so long and was so appreciative toward the ASMR content creators, that when people tell me that they appreciate what I do, I know that it’s real. I truly just want to make a positive impact in people’s lives, even if it’s something as small as helping them chill.
MM: If you could work on any kind of video, what would be your “dream project”?
Gibi: I would love to do a more cinematic, long, “episode” of a character or a few characters, not unlike Ally’s (ASMR Requests) “Departure Series”! I think I’ve watched the beginning of Episode 2 a hundred times!
MM: What advice can you give to someone who is aspiring to become an ASMR artist?
Gibi: My biggest advice is to do something you want to see, but haven’t yet! The more traditional videos (cranial nerve exams, tapping compilations, etc.) will always be popular, and I’ll watch 200 different CNEs, but there are so many triggers and roleplays that haven’t been explored yet!
[Featured Image by Gibi]