Going from simple Instagram reviews of squeezable toys to a YouTube channel with more than 22 million subscribers, Ria Ricis is one of Indonesia’s biggest self-made celebrities.
The 25-year-old, who moved from Riau province to the capital city of Jakarta with a dream of making it big, is Indonesia’s No 1 creator of gag videos, celebrity home visit videos, and reviews of soft foam toys – all while growing her popular brand of cutesy silliness.
Like the best of YouTube’s content creators, Ria Ricis knows how to play the game, creating a variety of different videos and powering on despite several controversies.
“The key to my popularity is that I’m always sharing information and my experiences with fellow creators,” she says. “For instance, if another YouTuber comes for a shoot at my house, we always ask them, ‘Do you want to also shoot videos for your own content?’ Or, ‘Do you want to do any collaborations?’ It’s symbiotic mutualism.”
She started posting videos on YouTube in 2016. Her early ones were basic vlogs featuring her and her friends goofing around in public places like malls and gaming arcades.
“I would edit videos until 3 or 5 in the morning,” she recalls. These days, she runs a lean team of five people who conceptualise, shoot and edit five to eight videos a day.
As with many others who found fame through YouTube, her output has included content that some viewers found offensive.
She was criticised for making a vlog at the grave of the late TV host Olga Syahputra to celebrate the anniversary of his death, and for another where she ate a Korean dish of live octopus. More recently, she angered viewers for shooting a video outdoors during quarantine.
After she was criticised for a post on Instagram featuring a screenshot of her ATM balance, she posted another showcasing her donating goods, including face masks, to Covid-19 health workers. That resulted in even more jeering by those who considered her actions as needless showboating.
“I like almost all of the videos
Her fame has also resulted in some odd encounters, such as strangers coming to her house unannounced, asking for donations.
To combat this, Ricis has hired security staff to guard her house, who she has shown in her videos multiple times.
“I began to take care of my privacy more, realising that people began to know more about my personal life. I started to think more about what [of my personal life] was content-worthy and what was not.”
She’s not too concerned about past mistakes, however.
“I regret nothing. I’m just not the type of person who wants to change anything in the past. If I have made a mistake in my content, then I’ll simply not make it again.”
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.