If you watch a live video hosted by TikTok creator PinkyDoll, it won’t be long before you hear her say, “Ice Cream so good.”
She will say those words over and over again, her tongue hanging out as she pretends out loud that she is licking a cone.
Every time you say the phrase, you get paid. This is her job.
PinkyDoll, whose real name is Fedha Sinon, became a social media celebrity this month thanks to her whimsical livestream in which she mimics video game characters.
In a typical performance, Ms. Senon, a 27-year-old who lives in Montreal, stares into the camera lens while delivering a set of canned phrases. During the broadcast, viewers send her digital gifts in the form of cartoon items such as roses, dinosaurs, and ice cream cones. Each item translates into a cash payment for Mrs. Sinon. Presents float across the screen and Mrs. Sinon reacts to each one with the same cartoonish mannerisms.
Her reaction to ice cream cones become a memewhere several people posted pictures of President Biden with his favorite snack with the words “very good ice cream.”
Mrs. Sinon speaks in a singing voice that might be described as a “hot kid”. Sometimes she pops corn kernels one by one with a hot curling iron. The effect is mesmerizing, set in the depths of an uncanny valley.
Ms. Sinon is what is known online as an NPC streamer. An NPC stands for Non-Player Character, a video game character that comes pre-programmed and cannot usually be manipulated by the person at the controls. As such, the NPC’s phrases and movements are often formulaic and repetitive. Ms. Sinon brings these mechanical characters to life.
Found herself playing the main character online when Screen recordings One of her streams went viral on Twitter last week. Producer and rapper Timbaland seems to be a fan lately Repost the video to his personal TikTok account about Mrs. Sinon’s character crashing during a livestream after noticing he was watching her. Popcrave, a pop culture news account on Twitter, reported that Timbaland was rated at top viewer From the PinkyDoll stream, based on gifts sent and time spent viewing. (A representative for Timbaland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
What Lady Sinon does is considered by some to be fetishistic. For some viewers, there is something sexual about being able to control her every word and gesture by sending her this or that gift. For other viewers, it’s great to watch.
Think of NPC broadcasting as an extension of cinematics — a pastime in which fans dress up as their favorite characters from books, TV shows, and movies — said Carly Kukorek, professor of game design and experimental media at Illinois Institute of Technology.
“People often consume media and then think of different ways to dress, act or imitate what that character is,” said Ms. Cukoric, 41. She added, “I don’t think this is unprecedented or unrelated to the ways people interact with media, especially games.”
Ms. Sinon, who previously worked as a stripper and owned a cleaning company, said she started livestreaming on TikTok at the beginning of the year as a way to make money.
“You were just being nice,” she said in a phone interview. “I remember someone saying, ‘Oh my God, you look like an NPC. And then they started sending me crazy money.’”
While watching others play the video game “Grand Theft Auto,” she said she zeroed in on a few characters to get ideas for her TikTok work.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to try and do it like them,'” she said. She added that she was “not really sure” what the NPC was.
Her TikTok account has since grown to over 400,000 followers. Tens of thousands of people regularly follow her live broadcasts.
It was fun, she said, coming up with reactions for each gift. “I could sit here all day,” she said, “but I couldn’t because I had a son and I had to eat.”
Ms. Sinon said she made between $2,000 and $3,000 per channel. Across all of her social media accounts, which include Instagram and OnlyFans, she puts that number at $7,000 per day.
Other creators capitalizing on the digital genre include Cherry Crush, who lives in Ohio and has more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube. YoutubeAnd Obaid Ali 727an NPC creator in Japan with over 2 million followers on TikTok.
“It’s very motivating, because it’s so fast and repetitive, so people sit back and watch to see what the next reaction is or if I’m going to break character or spoil in some way because of too many gifts,” Cherry Crush said in a direct message interview for this clause. (She didn’t give out her real name, which she didn’t reveal online, saying, “I have some stalkers.”)
Cherry Crush has said that it does not consider its live broadcasts as fetish content. “I’m not making my show sexually suggestive at all,” she said. “I always thought it was funny and interesting.”
Viewers may see content online in ways that content creators may not have thought of, Ms. Kokorek, a media researcher, said.
“There’s something here about how people consume media and how things are decontextualized and sexualized, whether that’s what the creator intended or not,” she said. “It doesn’t mean no one is going to consume it in a sexual way, but it could mean that that’s not what the creator was trying to do.”
However, Ms. Sinon said she was unfazed by the varied response.
She said, “I don’t really care what people say about me.” “If they want to believe that I am this or that, that’s fine.”
She added, “At the end of the day, I win.”