A Canadian woman has made millions and lives in luxury thanks to her YouTube channel where she chews food.
Naomi MacRae (27) is an ASMR star known on YouTube as HunniBee. She has more than 7,5 million subscribers and earns a mind-boggling $1 million (R15m) every month.
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response – the tingling sensation that can come from hearing or seeing particular accents, sounds, whispers or movement.
The term was coined in 2010 by Jennifer Allen, who wanted to create a Facebook group after meeting others who’d also experienced the sensation but couldn’t find a name for it.
ASMR has become an online phenomenon, with millions of people making ASMR videos that range from Mukbang videos (eating on camera) and whispering to scratching and just about anything else you can think of.
At 16, Naomi’s introduction to ASMR was a popular ASMR star, Maria Viktorovna, whose YouTube channel is called Gentle Whispering ASMR. Naomi started watching ASMR videos to help her fall sleep but decided to try it for herself at the encouragement of a friend.
“I was only doing classic ASMR at the beginning. This included tapping, close whispering, inaudible whispering and random ASMR triggers,” she says.
After a few months, she noticed that certain content was getting high views and she decided to focus on eating. “I decided I wanted to make this a Mukbang channel. It only took three months after that for me to hit my first 1 million subscribers.”
In 2019 Naomi gave up her career as a fitness model and bodybuilder to focus on her newfound fame as an ASMR content creator, and she has no regrets.
“I absolutely love my work. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Naomi uses her earnings to travel with her husband, Matthew Macausland, but she does admit that her job has brought strange requests from some subscribers.
“I’ve had lots of requests for photos and video of my feet, for as much as $5 000 [R75 000]. And someone wanted to pay for me to go on Skype and show them my feet but with all different shoes on,” she recalls.
While the neurological science behind the working of ASMR is still being studied, its popularity continues to skyrocket.
Other popular ASMR artists include Gibi ASMR, who has 4,6 million subscribers, and Taylor Darling with just under 2,6 million.