Everything You Need To Know About Faceless Celebrities

Artists like CORPSE HUSBAND, DaftPunk, and Sia are taking the world by storm but with one major twist.
Corpse Husband anonymous celebrity
Photo by Polygon

It’s almost impossible to frequently visit websites like Twitch and Twitter without knowing who CORPSE HUSBAND is. 

The twenty-three-year-old content creator began his career narrating horror videos on YouTube in 2015, but now, CORPSE HUSBAND (CORPSE for short) has grown his channel to 7.09 million subscribers, as of January 2021. Known for his uniquely deep voice, self-produced music, and gaming live streams, CORPSE grows more popular by the day. His Spotify has over three million monthly listeners and his most popular song, “EGIRLS ARE RUINING MY LIFE,” currently holds 91 million plays. 

Self-made success stories are nothing new, especially with the popularity of social media sites like YouTube and Instagram, which allow anyone to create and share content with the world. However, there is one major difference that sets CORPSE apart; none of his 7.09 million fans have ever seen his face.

What it means to be a Faceless Celebrity

“I’ve left that door closed for so long that there’s no gradual buildup…. Opening that door and having all the build-up from millions of people now….it would be a dramatic life change,” CORPSE tells Anthony Padilla in Padilla’s YouTube video, “I spent a day with FACELESS YOUTUBERS”. After so many years, it’s unlikely that the musician will ever show his face, choosing instead to use an iconic bunny face mask and artistic renditions of his appearance. 

 While his anonymity may seem bizarre, it is not as uncommon as one may believe. CORPSE, whose real name has not been made public is one of many ‘faceless celebrities’ or anonymous influencers who gain popularity in massive amounts without relying on their ‘real-life’ identity or appearance. 

In today’s media, anonymity is all but unheard of. Social media apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram make sharing, and oversharing, all too easy. Formats of temporary ‘stories’ offered by Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat and bite-sized thoughts offered by Twitter encourage nonstop communication between artists and their audiences. Vlogs on YouTube have also become popular, and vloggers like Zoella (Zoe Sugg) make a career out of showcasing their everyday life. This familiarity changes the relationship between audience and artist having a window into the everyday life of the famous makes them seem more human, in fact, in many cases, it feels like friendship. 

With such a nonstop stream of familiarity, it’s almost inevitable that artists like CORPSE hold such appeal. People love mystery almost as much as familiarity, and it can be seen throughout all forms of media entertainment. The rise of reality shows like The Masked Singer, which began its the United States run in 2019 and garners roughly 9 million views per week, features anonymous celebrities who complete in a talent-show style singing competition. The sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which ran from 2005-2014, spent nine seasons teasing the reveal of the ‘mother’ character, hinting at her identity with near-misses, flashes of legs leaving scenes, and the iconic yellow umbrella which eventually brings them together. 

masked singer
Photo by Fox4

With this in mind, it’s understandable why CORPSE has just as much demand to remain anonymous, to keep the bunny mask on, as he does people begging for a face reveal. 

There are many reasons that could lead to remaining anonymous; the sense of mystery that leads to speculation and the desire to distance oneself from the pressures of fame are just a few examples. For well-known musician Sia, the decision allows her more freedom in her everyday life; she could go to Target without being recognized, she mentioned in conversation with Chris Connelly, for Nightline. She too understood the need for mystery in today’s music industry and has spoken about the rarity of anonymity in music today. SwaggerSouls, an online gamer with 4.65 million subscribers on YouTube, is also looking to maintain his privacy; in conversation with Padilla, he states “There’s no turning that off, you know, there’s no escaping once your face is out there, once people know who you are”. He also mentions wanting to keep his content personality-based, instead of being fixated on his physical appearance. 

Another drawback that comes with fame especially in modern times, comes from the pressures of maintaining and pleasing a large audience of people. On the one hand, it is the attention of fans and followers that cause an artists’ success, and in many cases, wealth. Sites like Patreon even allow content creators to be paid directly by their fans, in exchange for gifts, content, and more direct interactions with the creators. However, with this unbalanced relationship, paired with the perceived closeness of fans and their idols, it’s all too easy to cross the line between admiration and entitlement. 

The Positives and Negatives of Fan Culture 

For most content creators, especially self-made, interacting with fans online is a substantial part of the job. Reposting fanart, answering questions, and providing updates are daily tasks for them, so naturally, these creators are all too aware of negativity and criticism. Everything is accessible through the internet, and with family details, relationship drama, and history all readily available, nothing is off-limits. In fact, reading hate comments has become a YouTube trend. Criticism comes from doing too much, not doing enough, interacting with the wrong people, and so much more. Physical appearance adds fuel to the fire, in almost every circumstance. 

However, this is not to discredit all the positive interaction fans bring to the table. In many cases, fans prove themselves to be nothing but supportive. Not only can they build up an artist’s fame and fortune, but they can also be an incredible force for good. Charities such as #TeamTrees, which allows people to sponsor tree planting for $1 per tree, gained attention and donations from content creators like TeamBeast and Jacksepticeye - real names Jimmy Donaldson and Seán William McLoughlin – which helped them reach a goal of 20 million trees in less than two months! In an Instagram post, #TeamTrees thanks both creators and the more general public: “Whether you donated, created content, or simply told your friends about #TeamTrees, this win is yours”. 

Sia anonymous celebrity
Photo by Billboard

Whatever the reason, whether it be personal or professional, anonymous artists can be found online and in traditional media everywhere. Sia, DaftPunk, and CORPSE. are just a few examples. In the future, there will surely be many more anonymous celebrities.

A twenty-something writer trying to find her place in the world. I love my dog, mugs of hot tea, and all things make-believe.

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