About two years ago, I was watching make-up and hair tutorials on YouTube to relax. Watching hair being played with and make-up being carefully applied gave me lovely brain tingles that put me to sleep.
I then stumbled upon an ASMR video in which a lovely lady was brushing somebody’s very long hair on camera (watch it here). That lovely lady was Emma at WhispersRed. Since then I have watched her videos every week, which have helped me not only get to sleep but also feel better in particularly anxious moments.
I’ve been a big fan for a long while, watching her videos over and over again, and couldn’t believe when she agreed to do an interview with me!
To those who don’t know what ASMR means, how would you describe/define it?
ASMR is a physical sensation usually described as ‘Tingles’. Sometimes press call it a ‘Brain Orgasm’ but I’m not so sure about that! It is intensely relaxing and make you feel as though you’d like to go to sleep. The feeling is triggered by hearing soft sounds, soft voices and through light touch like hair play or back tracing/stroking.
What would you say are the benefits of watching ASMR videos?
Most people who feel this sensation have done so all of their lives, it’s been a part of my normal sensory experience since childhood. The videos (which are made to trigger it) have become hugely popular since 2009 when they started. The feedback I personally have had over the years is that watching a video before bed helps with falling asleep quickly and results in a deeper more satisfying rest. They also help people to concentrate when they are played in the background. It’s also nice to connect with like minded people around the world. It gives us a sense of oneness and freedom to be your lovely self.
Where did your love of ASMR come from?
I have always enjoyed feeling the tingles and noticed them from a very young age. I don’t have a ‘first experience’ to tell as it’s always been there. My family are great hair players/back ticklers and I experienced it most days at school especially when the teacher read a story. It was just a total revelation for me in 2012 to find out that it had a name and so many other people feel it too!
When did you realise you wanted to create ASMR videos?
Once I had found the community online I started a Facebook group called ASMR UK (now ASMR UK & Ireland) and got to know lots of people from all over! Most of them at the time had a channel which made it easier to connect. I started making videos to become more involved in the community. It was extremely nerve wracking because I didn’t think my voice would be very soothing or that I could make good videos.
What do you think is the toughest part about being a YouTuber?
Learning how to use recording equipment and reading comments! It’s important as a YouTuber to understand that the comments good and bad come from the life experience of the writer, from their own perspective. When you read a kind and generous comment it’s a fulfilling experience to know that there are some beautiful people out there willing to take the time to show kindness. I believe that what we put out there is a reflection of how we see ourselves or how we would like our lives to be. So when I read a negative comment I first look to see if there is any constructive criticism I can take from it. If there isn’t any then I understand that those words came from someone having a hard time or just taking a different road. What we comment on YouTube reveals more about where the content came from than where the content is intended to go. It’s the pure faceless essence of a person communicating and I love that about YouTube.
What hurdle(s) have you ever had to overcome in regards to creating your videos?
My hurdles have mostly been confidence and on the technical side. I’m still not 100% happy with any video so it’s definitely a process. Something always seems to go wrong, especially with the sound! Confidence wise it’s very tricky to put yourself out there especially when you’re a particularly sensitive person. I always think it’s important to turn up to the party and participate though, you never know who you may just be giving a smile to and how it might give them some much needed love.
How do you keep your YouTube channel and website organised?
I don’t! nothing is organised how I would like it to be. I have emails dating back months to reply to and a huge to do list. Then there are the things in the background like accounts. I just can’t keep up with it all how I’d like to but one thing at a time and a bit every day is usually the best way forward. There is never a finish line really and the channel of course is open 24/7 so I have to learn how to switch off and start again in the morning which can be very difficult sometimes. It’s all a lot of work for one person as I do absolutely everything on my own but I try to concentrate on the videos first.
Have you learnt any new skills from vlogging/ASMR? Do they come in handy for your day job?
Everything I now know about photography, sound recording, lighting, make up, running a website, setting up a channel, social media etc. I researched for myself and it’s very rewarding! I didn’t even know how to write a red heart shaped emoji on Facebook at first <3! I had to ask a friend about that.
What are your motivations when continuously creating ASMR content? What keeps you going?
I know that I am connecting with an amazing group of people from all over the world and that a smile will always land where it’s needed the most. Personally, being on YouTube and finding my purpose has allowed me to be the person I always was. However that person didn’t always fit everywhere and I had to adapt myself, just like we all have to. This is where I fit the most. What’s the most exciting upcoming video/project you have in store (that you’re allowed to share with us!)? LIVE ASMR!!! Live and in person group sessions have always been a dream of mine. Not so much to guarantee an ASMR reaction in the audience but to bring the community together for a relaxing experience. April 29th 2017, the Courtyard Theatre in London will be my second go at it and the most elaborate yet. I’m so nervous but way more excited to meet everyone attending. We sold out within a week and some of the audience are travelling from other countries to be there! It’s really mind blowing.
How would you describe a normal day?
I get up around 7am then help my two children get ready for school and feed my two dogs. Once they are both at school and the dogs have had a walk, I get to work. From then on every day is different. My children are massively busy with physical activities, homework and friends outside of school plus my home needs cleaning. I do the washing, shopping, cooking and tidying too. Then I still have my previous job which has now been reduced to one or two days per week. Once all of that is organised I plan, prepare, film and edit usually two videos per week and do all the other admin things that go on behind a channel. Some of the videos take a full few days some just one day depending on what type of video it is. Each day consists of lots of those things jumbled up together. I’m quite the juggler! It’s become a necessary skill but I have always done work that fits around my children so I can be there for them. Even if it means taking them to work with me or working from home.
Do you have a book that changed your life/favourite book you’d recommend to everyone and anyone?
I grew up without internet or mobile phones. My world was pretty small, modest and conservative until I moved out of my parents home at age 18. Music, books and film were my gateway to new worlds and I was desperate to get out and experience life. The first book I read which completely blew my mind was The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. No-one in my life so far had ever spoken about people exuding energy and auras but it told me everything I already knew to be true inside and I felt understood all of a sudden. After that I read The Road Less Travelled and particularly the section about Love changed my life completely. Once I was away from my family and able to learn all of these things I felt a sense of validation. I started to understand why I had often felt frustrated and different growing up. Now if I was to recommend a book to anyone just starting out with self realisation I would say The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He is a very gentle yet powerful teacher and is universal in his message. It is very simple and effective.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years (professionally and personally)?
In 5 years time I will still be a Mum but to older children which will be very interesting and lovely to witness how they are. I will definitely have advanced my Sound Therapy studies which has been fascinating to me so far and led to some wonderful experiences. I’d like to learn more about Aromatherapy and Massage too in the hopes I can bring that into my ASMR work. In 5 years time I will have had an ASMR channel for 9 years! So there will definitely be hundreds more videos to view. By then I hope I will have been able to return to my channel for Children too which has been just impossible to keep up so far. So much to do and so few hours in each day!!!
What advice would you give yourself when you started WhispersRed ASMR?
Well this is a bit like in Back to the future when Doc is really worried that Marty will change the course of future events. Everything that happens in life is a necessary process and gives us the tools we need for the present time. If I was Biff Tannen then I could go back and give myself the advice necessary to grow my channel fast and play the internet algorithm game. I could teach myself how to achieve good sound without having to go through the endless trial and error. I could write down all the new ideas for videos like when old Biff gave young Biff the Sports Almanac. However I’m nothing like Biff and couldn’t bear to be. So I’ll leave everything just the way it is.
Any favourite quotes that particularly motivate/inspire you?
My favourite quote of all time which is just as special to me now as it was years ago. ‘The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return’ Nature Boy by eden ahbez 1947.