YouTube star enjoys life in the limelight

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YouTube star enjoys life in the limelight


Lime, left, and her father play together with a blue puppet, which frequently appears on Lime Tube, a YouTube channel starring Lime. Her father, Gil Gi-hong, plays the voice of the puppet in the videos. The channel is filled with over 700 videos of Lime playing in various situations. [KIM CHOON SIK, LIME TUBE SCREEN CAPTURE]

A six-year-old girl named Gil Lime carries around a stamp carved with her name instead of signing off autographs for her fans. The young girl already has over 370,000 fans subscribing to her YouTube channel, which she named “Lime Tube.”

The channel contains clips of Lime playing around, and videos routinely attract millions of views — her most popular video, which shows her playing in a plastic sandbox for 4 minutes and 23 seconds, has received over 12.7 million views. In others, she visits theme parks, goes swimming, rides horses and other activities.

“I’m happy when people in the street recognize me,” Lime said when the JoongAng Ilbo sat down with her on Oct. 25. More than 700 clips are now available on Lime Tube, which started in April of last year and has accumulated 450 million views.

When she held a fan meeting at an amusement park in June, roughly 50 families gathered to see her. Lime’s father, Gil Gi-hong, is the main creator and distributor of the clips. “Children of Lime’s age indirectly participate in activities while watching the videos of her playing and feel as if Lime is playing together with them,” Gil said. He says taking videos of Lime makes her happy while at the same time enhancing her ability to express herself.

Gil was the creator of the popular children’s character Pororo. After majoring in industrial design, he worked as a director of animation films for ten years. Among his works are “Pororo” and “Tayo the Little Bus.” He used to work busily day and night, but his life shifted when his wife fell ill due to acute kidney problems in 2014.

“While nursing my wife I promised myself that I would spend more time with my family,” Gil said. He left his job and looked for something to do at home, which turned out to be making YouTube videos. “In the beginning, the videos were simply clips to introduce toys, but Lime sometimes appeared in the videos for fun and I received good feedback,” he said. “From then, Lime became the main character of the videos.”

Now, the three members of Gil’s family rarely spend time apart except for when Lime is at kindergarten, and most of the videos are taken inside the house, unless they are going to a theme park or other outdoor place. As there is no television at Lime’s house, the three have often found more creative ways to pass the time, and those activities become source material for new episodes.

Gil’s wife recovered after a year of illness, and as Lime’s videos became popular online, the family’s financial worries eased. Gil is now the CEO of Limecast, a corporation he founded as part of CJ E&M’s Multi Channel Networks business, which invests in independent content creators with potential. The company manages Lime Tube and creates additional content for children.

Thanks to his new work, he is also able to spend far more time with his daughter, who formerly used to ask at night, “When will dad come?” but who now spends her nights sleeping in his arms after being read a children’s books.

“I want my daughter to grow in harmony with the world,” Gil said.

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