Performing Arts Student Reveals She Earns £60,000 Making Whispering Videos
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A performing arts student has revealed how she earns £60,000 ($77,800) a year by whispering in online videos.
And, if you started asking yourself 'wtf is ASMR?' Well, first of all it stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and secondly, it's the relaxing and sometimes sleep-inducing tingles running down the back of the neck and spine experienced when watching stimulating material.
Sophie is known as an 'ASMR artist', she said: "In 2015, my 24-year-old brother, James, who has recovered now, developed a brain tumour. The stress and anxiety made me search online for videos that would help me sleep.
"I came across the usual rain and ambient sounds on YouTube, but then I found ASMR as a suggested video.
"I fell in love with it and it helped me sleep so much easier. I started using it during the day as well just to calm down when I felt anxious and it really helped."
Then, In June 2017, after discussing the idea with her boyfriend, Matthew, 21, - who backed her 100 percent - she launched her own ASMR channel.
Describing the effect of ASMR videos - which celebrities like record-breaking rapper Cardi B are great fans of - she said: "I loved creating my channel because ASMR is something that can really help with anxiety and depression.
"ASMR is a tingly feeling that makes you feel a sense of peace, almost like a relaxing pins and needles that gives you a truly numb sensation."
Sophie has a collection of 199 videos where she whispers messages like 'Hello sweetheart' and makes stroking hand gestures with make-up brushes directly into a camera - sometimes role playing as a doctor and mermaid. They are amongst 13 million ASMR broadcasts on YouTube.
Whoever knew about this surprising little corner of the web, eh?
A study conducted by the University of Sheffield earlier this year found that people experiencing the classic 'tingles' had a reduced heart rate when watching the videos and showed significant increases in positive emotions, including relaxation and feelings of social connection.
And while the experiment found that only half those taking part experienced the ASMR tingles, the videos had a considerable impact on those who did.
Sophie, who is using her income from her ASMR channel's success to fund her degree in theatre, TV and performing arts in North Wales, continued: "It's amazing that I'm able to help people with their depression and anxiety. My fans online are so lovely and constantly grateful for my videos.
"Even though I knew the impact ASMR had, I never expected my channel to become popular. I was only on 30,000 subscribers last Christmas and was close to giving up, because I wasn't getting anywhere.
"But in the January after it completely blew up after one of my videos about hypnosis got 2.5 million views - I was so shocked that so many people loved it. Now my subscribers have grown to over 200,000 "
Although her ASMR videos are strictly non-sexual, some online viewers, who do not understand them, have accused Sophie of creating fetish content.
Sophie, who makes her money from advertisements, continued: "A very small percentage of people online may use these kind of videos for sexual reasons, but I think those people may have a personal issue if that's the case.
"It makes me uncomfortable to think that someone is using it for sexual purposes, because that is never my intention. Some of my friends make comments about it being sexual, but most of them love ASMR and even watched me on YouTube before they met me at university!"
While Sophie refers to her ASMR channel as her 'career', she says that could change in the future.
But, for now, her enterprise has made her mum, Michelle, 50, and dad, Simon, 54, extremely proud of their go-getting daughter.
She said: "Making my parents proud is hugely important to me. As an ASMR artist, I really want to help people to deal with stress and anxiety.
"And with celebrities like Cardi B speaking out about it, it helps ordinary people to be open about what helps them to relax and to discuss their mental health issues without being embarrassed. Watching ASMR isn't something to be ashamed of if it helps you get to sleep or calms your anxiety.