Meet WhisperSparkles, one of the first ASMR artists on YouTube

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityAmanda McDonnell is a mother of four children and has a diploma in Medical Sciences from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

She is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland and is currently living in Glasgow, Scotland.

Amanda is also known as the ASMR artist, WhisperSparkles.

The first whisper channel on YouTube appeared in 2009 (see the History of ASMR for more details).  Amanda created her channel soon after in 2010, making her one of the first dedicated whisperers on the internet.

In my interview with Amanda she shares why she created a whisper channel is 2010, how ASMR videos have changed over time, how her interest in ASMR helped her to meet her fiancé, and more.

Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and a link to her YouTube channel so you can enjoy her early videos from 2010, as well as, her most recent videos.

When did you first learn about ASMR?

Amanda, “I learnt about it when it didn’t exist technically.  I first experienced it at a young age, listening to my aunt read me stories.  

When I discovered the community, it only contained a handful of people and was termed ‘the whisper community’.”

How would you describe the sensations you feel during ASMR?

Amanda, “It feels like pins and needles with euphoria in place of pain.  The sensation is very pleasant and induces a sleepiness much like that of sleep aid drugs.”

What are your ASMR triggers?

Amanda, “My main trigger is whispers.  I also like it when people switch from whispering to soft speaking and back again simultaneously.  Another trigger is soft hand movements.  Tracing a page or object.  

I am also triggered by mouth sounds or lip smacking but only if these are done accidentally as opposed to repetitively.”

What motivated you to create a YouTube ASMR channel in 2010?

Amanda, “As I became friends with the people who had channels back then, I wanted to return the favour they had done me and help them out.  There weren’t many of us around and therefore content was hard to come by.”

How many other ASMR channels did you know about at that time?

Amanda, “I knew of a few – though most no longer make videos.  

I remember my first subscriber was MissVindicat, and I was and still am a big fan of TheWhisperingVoice.  

DanishVlog was another and WhisperingLife was the first person I subscribed to.  Also I remember OmniWhisper, and SoothingWhisper.  I watched their videos for some time before deciding to start my own channel.”

How would you describe the change that has occurred between then and now with the growth of ASMR channels on YouTube?

Amanda, “The change has been significant.  It began as a small area of YouTube, where we created videos for each other that were exclusively whispered and not at all professional.  

This has progressed to people from all around the world creating videos of an incredibly professional quality and different levels of creativity.”

Are the videos you create today any different from the videos you created several years ago?

Amanda, “Slightly.  I have a much better camera and microphone which allows me to create much better quality videos, but my content is largely the same.  

I’m not triggered by videos that aren’t close to real life ASMR experiences and often the ‘poorer’ quality videos are what trigger me most, so I keep my videos simplistic and natural.

I don’t ask for donations or use Patreon.  I respect those who do, but I enjoy helping people with my hobby for what they get from it alone.”

What advice or tips would you give to new ASMR artists?

Amanda, “I would encourage them to do whatever they like.  As I said before, I often seek out new ASMRtists as they possess a very natural quality to their videos because they are amateur and therefore very close to real life asmr experiences.”

Why do you think viewers specifically enjoy your videos?

Amanda, “I think they enjoy my unique accent and I try to use my soothing mothering voice which I use with my children and I feel they enjoy the maternal warmness and closeness that brings.”

Do you think your videos are helpful to your viewers?

Amanda, “I like to think so!  I receive lots of positive feedback and that encourages me to still make content.  I feel so happy when someone contacts me to tell me I have gotten them through a difficult time.  

Through Facebook, I like to become friends with my viewers and help them further with advice and friendship if they are particularly struggling.”

How has your understanding of ASMR changed over time?

Amanda, “It hasn’t at all really.  I still use it for the same reasons and make it for the same reasons.  I have severe mental health issues but this is only a coincidence as I use ASMR solely for the pleasant tingly feelings and sleep induction alone.”

I believe that you met your fiance because of a shared interest in ASMR?

Amanda, “Yes indeed.  We met in London when filming for the Braingasm ASMR documentary in 2013.  We were invited by Ilse (TheWaterWhispers). Initially I couldn’t attend but then I made time and was able to go.  

I literally fell in love with his amazing smile as soon as I saw him.  We became instantly close and when we again met later that year to film some more, we had a close friendship that developed into love after he saw me through one of the hardest times of my life.  

I now live in Scotland with him and we have a ten month old son together, who we can confirm appears to receive ASMR!  We are soul mates and could never have come together if it wasn’t for our shared passion in ASMR.”

If you could create any experiment to discover or prove one thing about ASMR, what would it be?

Amanda, “I would like to create an experiment to see how rare it is for people to actually receive tingles.  A lot of people in the community are confused and think we create videos for relaxation.  They don’t get tingles but use the videos for their own reasons.  

Some ASMR content creators don’t get tingles themselves and I would love to know what percentage of us actually do get the tingles depicted by the words in the term ASMR.”

Given the opportunity, what would you say to a room full of researchers and clinicians whom are trying to decide if putting the time and funding into ASMR research is worth the investment?

Amanda, “I would say that it is a phenomenon that needs to be researched.  As a human function it needs to be explored for the good of science.  I am proud and glad to be one of the first to bring it to light.  

All aspects of the human body need to be researched in order to bring science further in the 21st century.  Who knows what we could obtain by using this bodily response positively?”

Click HERE to enjoy Amanda’s ASMR videos

Click HERE to visit Amanda’s Facebook page

Click HERE to enjoy ASMR videos by Amanda’s fiancé, Darren (AKA Scottish Whisper)

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

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