You know what’s interesting? One of the off-putting parts of starting my own YouTube channel, probably for my partner Eunice as well, was seeing myself on the screen. Truth be told, while I was editing one of our latest videos, the K-Pop humming challenge with HelloEddi, I was initially surprised when I saw how I looked in the video, and this surprise turned quickly into dislike. To put it simply, I did not like how I looked on screen. However, after continuously working on and watching the project, I noted that I got used to how I looked and didn’t mind it later on, which then made me wonder, “Why was I so averse to it in the first place?” It’s similar to how everybody hates hearing his or her voice in audio because it sounds different from how his or her own ears perceive the sound, except in this case, there’s no way someone can really watch him or herself from outside the body except through video so there’s no means of comparison.
Based on my initial aversion to seeing myself on screen, because I hadn’t edited a video of myself in a while, I realized that this might come from a disparity in how I envision myself based on how I feel about myself and how I actually physically look; in other words, it’s perception versus reality. This must mean that I have a higher perception of myself, which isn’t a bad thing, but what is bad is how actually perceiving myself visually was a huge disappointment for me and, in turn, affected my mental perception of myself. In a world where superficiality is so rampant and self-confidence continues to dwindle (or mask its insecurity with an overcompensation in ego showcased by overt judgment of others and picking on details to assert intellectual superiority, but that’s another topic), there’s quite a critical eye when looking at your own appearance. Especially because you can’t help but compare yourself to the beauties you normally see in media, including YouTube. And it’s quite ironic, because you’re rarely as harsh when you see somebody else on screen.
However, it’s also ironic because I, for example, had not felt average in the least until I saw myself on screen. I never thought much about myself overall; I’d just felt fine with how I looked because I rarely looked at myself, and we all know selfies are mostly skewed to how we already perceive ourselves or want to perceive ourselves, so they don’t really count. And I always let my friends know:
Jokes aside, I felt relatively confident and self-assured, not to a cocky degree, but to a very unconcerned degree–but once I saw myself and automatically compared myself to others, I didn’t like what I saw and my self-confidence immediately plummeted. I did not feel like the person I saw on screen was me. There was a disconnect there, which might actually have been the most disconcerting factor. Even the behaviorisms seemed unfamiliar to me, even though I, myself, had been doing those behaviorisms. How I thought something felt when I did it, like playfully sticking out my tongue, looked entirely different when I saw it. It wasn’t cute, it was awkward and I did it too much.
Maybe this over-analyzation stems from society being too hard on others, which in turn makes us too hard on ourselves. We’re often exposed to people looking effortlessly beautiful and natural on screen, including YouTube. What we often forget or are completely unaware of is how much effort actually goes into appearing effortless. They’re often practicing how they look and behave on screen–being a beauty guru on YouTube is a full-time job. Even Korean idols often monitor themselves, continuously watching themselves on screen to study their facial expressions, actions, and behaviorisms so they can perfect how they come off to viewers, who are left oblivious to all the effort and attention and care put into the final result. Actors likewise do this, but, of course, to see how their acting is coming across, which makes more sense.
There’s also an interesting thing as “camera massage,” which is a term Koreans used, and it basically means “more exposure, more likability.” The more you see celebs on camera, the more they seem attractive to you because you get used to seeing them and familiarize yourself with how they look. And honestly, I think it’s also, or even mostly, to do with how you fall for their charms and get to know them as people. Another aspect might be how those celebs gradually feel more and more comfortable in front of the camera, resulting in more confidence. But still, even the most confident person on screen has his or her own insecurities, insecurities that everybody else says, “What? Nuh-uh.” But also insecurities that everybody else throws at them, tattooing them into their minds when that person had no problem with a physical attribute in the past.
As for me, I’d like to say I’m no beauty guru, so it shouldn’t really matter, but that’s no longer the case on YouTube. Back in the day, it would have been okay, but expectations and standards have greatly increased since the site’s founding. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because being put-together and caring about every detail from how you look to how you deliver lines are good attributes that lead to success. And in retrospect, perhaps the awkwardness I perceive from myself on screen is actually awkwardness I feel when being filmed. Having a camera trained right on my face can be off-putting, so there is a sense of self-consciousness. And that translates through the screen and to the viewers, although it might not hit them as hard as it hits myself.
These days I am playing around with the idea of feeling comfortable in my own skin. It’s something I always wanted to accomplish growing up, so, in a way, I am liking this discomfort, because this discomfort as well as the willingness to address it is a sign of development. It’s good to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. And although I may still be awkward and self-conscious on screen, bear with me, because eventually, I will come to accept who I am in real life and how I come off on screen. And then, I’ll be able to put you at ease when you watch me.
Acting is not my main purpose for creating a YouTube channel, nor am I particularly an on-screen personality of sorts. I’m not all bright and loud and cheery. People actually say I remind them of Daria. Maybe I should try embracing that in videos…
Rather than acting, writing and directing are my passions, but I am having fun with all of the aspects of singlehandedly creating my own content. It’s all educational and a great experience I am enjoying, so I hope you stay with me as I grow as an entertainer in all facets of video making. (Also, I do think it’d be fun to do actual acting with storylines rather than short skits, so maybe I’ll even expand and try those out sometime. Anything is possible!)
Thanks for reading and watching 🙂