I came across this amazing ASMRtist whose commune role plays (though unconventional) really work for me. I reached out and asked her to tell us a little about her work and ASMR experience. I hope you will find her as delightful as I do!
1. Do you go by Jelly Bean Green or do you go by another name as well? I go by Jellybean or JB.
2. According to your “Draw My Life Video” you were born in the Northeast but eventually moved to the southern portion of the country, is that where the “y’all” comes from or is that merely a catchphrase you wanted to use for ASMR purposes? It took about a year of living down south before I started saying “y’all” non-ironically. I remember it just slipped out in conversation one day and it felt completely natural. As a northerner, I had used “you guys” my whole life, but now I alternate back and forth. When I started my channel, I knew from the beginning that I wanted a signature greeting. “Hey y’all,” seemed sweet, simple, gender neutral, and wasn’t being used by anyone else that I was watching at the time.
3. You mention that you have experienced ASMR (or whatever you called it) all your life. How old were you for the first experience you remember? What was that initial trigger? My earliest memories of ASMR involved my older sister, who also experiences ASMR. When we were very young, she and I used to pretend to give each other medical exams. I was sick or injured often as a child, so medical exam personal attention has always been a huge trigger for me. As one viewer, Kevin T., pointed out to me, the sterile environment of a medical setting creates a sort of sensory deprivation situation that can really magnify ASMR triggers.
4. How did you describe ASMR back then? Like a lot of people, I totally took ASMR for granted—it seemed such a natural and fundamental aspect of my life experience that it didn’t occur to me to examine it or evaluate it at the time. It was just a feeling I felt, no more unusual than hunger or anticipation. Looking back, though, the two most significant responses that ASMR induced in me were sensations of feeling safe and special, like I was being actively and deeply valued.
5. In the same video, you talk about having serious struggles with school. Were you ever diagnosed with any LDs? If yes, would you care to elaborate on them? I have no learning disabilities that I’m aware of. As a young student, my only major academic challenge was a lousy attitude when it came to learning subjects that I wasn’t interested in. My struggles in school were almost entirely to do with social anxiety, and I still struggle with that today. I distinctly remember sitting in class, day after day, and being overwhelmed by this pervasive sense of wrong-ness, like I just didn’t belong there, and I felt like it must be obvious to everyone. Social anxiety, for me, translates to a very palpable sense of physical awkwardness and displacement. In groups of people, I tend to feel like a too-small shoe that’s been forced onto the wrong foot, or a corner piece that’s been jammed into the middle of the puzzle.
6. Do you know if your son experiences ASMR? I’m not certain, but my guess is that he does not. While my son (he’s three) enjoys a good cuddle from time to time, I’ve never seen him be “blissed out” by any of the typical ASMR stimuli. He gets irritated if I spend too much time washing his hair, and it always makes me laugh, because I think to myself that there are at least a few thousand people out there who would love to let me wash their hair and he’s just barely tolerating it.
7. What caused you to make the jump from merely being an ASMR viewer to being an ASMRtist? I was going through a very challenging and transformative time in my life, and I was eager to explore creative outlets that might reconnect me to parts of myself that I’d been out of touch with for a long time. As a longtime ASMR video viewer, I had considered the possibility of becoming a content creator almost from the beginning, but I had always rejected the idea because of a long list of fears and anxieties that popped up when I thought about it (What if I’m not good at it? What if no one likes my work?). Ultimately, though, when I looked at my reasons for not doing it, I realized that I didn’t feel good about reasons like that governing my life choices.
8. What was it like to make that first video? Were you nervous? Who are some of your ASMR mentors? I was definitely nervous. I was a newly single mom going through an extraordinarily difficult financial period, and I had decided to invest a significant amount of money (for me) on a $100 microphone. I knew that investment would be worth every penny if my new channel was successful, but spending that money would be a huge sore spot on my conscience if the channel tanked. I was quite literally gambling on myself, and it was both very exciting and frightening.
As for mentors, I owe a huge debt to Heather Feather, Lauren Ostrowski Fenton, and Emma from Whispers Red. All three women responded very thoughtfully to questions I sent them before launching my channel, and all three dropped in with messages of support when my first videos were being published. I also have a very special place in my heart for a friend and viewer named Melanie. In the two years I had been watching ASMR videos, I kept seeing Melanie’s feedback pop up in the comment sections of my very favorite content creators, so her presence became sort of a barometer for me—if Melanie was there, I knew I’d probably love the video. I remember being so thrilled when Melanie commented on one of my videos for the first time; it was a real marker of success for me, and it told me that I was achieving the aesthetic that I was aiming for.
9. What are your primary ASMR triggers today? My biggest video triggers are face touching, lights, and all things personal attention. My biggest “real life” trigger is eye exams.
10. Are you still pursuing a nurse’s degree? I am pursuing a nurse’s degree, though I’m currently on a bit of a break. I recently completed all my prerequisite courses and I’m preparing for the exam that will determine my position on the waitlist for the program I’m applying to. All the programs in my area are extremely competitive, so I’ve got a fairly long and challenging (and very exciting!) road ahead of me.
11. Do you apply ASMR techniques in your “bedside manner” with patients? I’m not working directly with patients yet, but I am very curious to see if any of the ASMR stuff translates. I’m definitely interested in the potential for the practical application of ASMR in therapeutic settings, and I’m excited to see where we are with exploring things like that in a few years when I’m entering the medical field as a professional.
12. How has your theater experience helped your ASMR career? In almost every way possible. Acting training has obvious benefits, and my writing and directing experience has been a big help in creating scenarios that feel structured and logical. I also have a background in improv, and that’s been really useful in helping me maintain a natural flow on camera despite most of my videos being just broadly outlined before I shoot them. There are a lot more benefits to my theater background that have less to do with education and more to do with simple experience. Off camera, years of rejection and harsh feedback gave me some preparation to deal rationally with some of the more unkind things that people say about my videos in public forums. Similarly, years of ego-stroking from friends and contemporaries in the theater world have helped me to keep a reasonably level head about all the positive comments I get on my videos.
I feel very lucky in that I’m definitely in a minority—a relatively small percentage of people with degrees in acting (I have a B.A. in Performance) can say that they are actively using their degree to earn any part of their income. I do feel proud that I found an innovative, non-traditional and satisfying way to make that a reality for myself.
13. What advice would you give a new ASMRtist? Develop a clear idea of why you want to make videos and remind yourself regularly. There are a seemingly endless number of ways to get overwhelmed, distracted, or lost in the woods, and a reminder of why you started could just be the light you need to get your bearings.
14. Can you share with us some three things most people may not know about you?
a.) what is your all time favorite book?
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
b.) Favorite band?
My tastes have evolved a lot over the years, but I think the two artists who will never stop being magical for me are Tori Amos and Ani Difranco.
c.) Favorite comfort food?
15. Anything new on your channel my readers should look for that you would like to share? I have a pretty long batting list of both traditional and unexpected videos planned. I’m also collaborating with another channel, Classy Dog Films, on an upcoming role play, so viewers can expect some very cool VFX with that one.
16. Do you really spend time thinking about the character in order to develop it properly? I remember reading some advice on writing a while back, where the author said that writers shouldn’t get too bogged down in describing their characters—much better to choose a few unique, signature details (a bulbous nose; wide set eyes; mouth breathing; a hobbling gait; etc.) and let the reader’s imagination fill in the rest. Along the same lines, Scott McCloud, in Understanding Comics, wonderfully illustrates the ways in which characters become more relatable or universal the more simply they’re drawn.
When creating a character for a video, I usually apply those same concepts and just adopt a few signature quirks or mannerisms (like the Commune woman’s “right on”), then let the viewer fill in the rest.
17. You and I are very similar in the fact that Ilse was your first ASMRtist. What is it about her that appeals to you so much? what other ASMRtists do you like to watch/listen to? We were very lucky; she’s an awesome first ASMRtist to be exposed to! She has such a natural, sincere way about her, and that’s so comforting. When I first started watching ASMR videos, I was very self-conscious about this “weird” new thing that I was getting so much enjoyment out of, so the gentle sincerity of certain artists like Ilse and Maria was especially assuring. Interestingly, that same self-consciousness made me totally intolerant to humor in ASMR videos at first. Any little jokes (like Heather Feather’s wonderful “Easter eggs”) made me self aware in a way that felt very embarrassing until I became more comfortable with ASMR. Now I can barely remember what it was like to be embarrassed by my love of ASMR and I am a huge fan of innovation and humor in ASMR videos.
My YouTube subscription list is about forty artists deep right now, so I’ll just share a few of the content creators I’ve been listening to most this past week: Kiki of Hermetic Kitten, Dmitri of MassageASMR, Laura Lemurex, and Olivia Kissper.
18. Anything else you would like to add? I’d like to give a mention to one of my very favorite non-profits: The American Widow Foundation (http://americanwidowproject.org). And, on a separate note, I’d also like to remind everyone that buying used clothes is a great way to save money, limit waste, and help minimize the amount of money that funds sweatshop industries.
If anyone would like to visit my YouTube channel, they may do so at https://www.youtube.com/user/JellybeanGreenASMR.