Don’t Trust the Rabbit is a popular YouTube channel featuring funny, educational and thoughtful videos by a young German woman who goes by the name, “Trixi.” Her most popular video, How to do a GERMAN ACCENT? has over 1.6 million views alone. She started her channel in 2014, and just a little over a year later, she had over 11 million views and 100K+ subscribers. Jesus Christ, it took me three times as long to cross the 100K followers line, and mine are spread out across all the major social media outlets. The vast majority of hers come from one source — direct YouTube subscribers — which, in my opinion, is far more difficult to achieve. (And it’s also why I recently asked my wife, “Honey? Am I a lazy little bitch? Because some YouTube nerd up in Hamburg is absolutely stomping my ass.”)
In her videos, Trixi speaks to her viewers about all things German — from learning the language to explaining the culture — and a whole hell of a lot more as well. She’s tackled subjects like introversion, self-harm (cutting), relationships, pregnancy and how to deal with criticism — all while using her own face and voice, and no real attempt at anonymity. Trust me when I say this chick has balls — great big brass ones — and she swings those mothers around with such force they could dent the sun.
But the things you’ll probably notice first about Trixi are her humor, charm, honesty and self-deprecation. Her videos are also very tightly edited, with high production value and snappy transitions, which keep the viewer hooked — binge watching video after video when they should really be working so they can pay the rent and put food on the table oh shit oh shit oh shit…
So if you’re into YouTubing or video blogging of any kind, just sit back, watch and learn. (Or give up on your dreams of internet stardom entirely; both are viable options.)
Anyway, I wanted to reach out to Trixi before her YouTube career goes supernova — you know, before success blows her ego right out the back of her head and lands her in a jail cell with a bloody coke nose and conveniently released sex tape — so I went ahead and interviewed her. Here are the 10 questions I asked — loaded with as much bias and sarcasm as possible — followed by her answers:
Question 1.) Where does the name of your YouTube channel, Don’t Trust the Rabbit come from? It makes me think of Alice in Wonderland, Song of the South, or one of those other rabbit-oriented, emotionally scarring Disney classics.
The story behind my channel name is that I can make a certain movement with my nose and my mouth that looks like a sniffing rabbit. My friends kept telling me that it was very cute, so the rabbit stands for my cuteness and girliness (and for my jug ears, as assumed by many subscribers). However, I’m not only a cute girl with prominent ears, I also like action, taking running jumps into rain puddles and (very) dirty jokes. And that’s why you shouldn’t trust the rabbit. Don’t trust the cuteness – there is more to this girl than that!
Question 2.) What’s the deal with your logo? (It’s awesome, by the way.) And while I get the rabbit illustration itself, I have no idea what those tiny, black alien/ant head thingies are. They remind me of that album cover for Alien Ant Farm. (The one with the epic 2001 cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal.)
Thank you! The logo pretty much represents the channel name and my personality. Again, we have the rabbit as a symbol of cuteness, but with its eyes having different sizes and the big teeth it also looks a bit derpy and quirky – which I am as well. But life is not only sunshine. So since I have some dark sides to me, too, (e.g. my past experiences with self-harm) I added the flying skulls. They stand for the individual demons that I’m convinced everyone has to fight from time to time.
Question 3.) Why did you start making YouTube videos in the first place? Did you have a goal in mind or anything? For example, when I started this blog, I just wanted to share my German wife’s Denglish quotes with the world. Maybe write a few snarky observation pieces too. I had no idea other American expats might someday seek out my advice because they, too, lost their goddamn minds, fell in love with a German citizen and moved across the globe to be with them. (Alternating between panic attacks and soiled trousers all along the way.)
Since I encountered YouTube as a kid, I always dreamed about having a YouTube channel myself. It amazed me that there were people sharing their thoughts with the world, gathering communities that enjoyed watching what they did. I was never eager to become famous or make a living out of YouTube; it was more the community part that inspired me. People you can bring together to make them laugh and learn from you. Now that I have my “rabbits,” I am more than happy and still cannot believe we reached the 100k milestone in just a little more than a year.
Question 4.) Do you have a favorite YouTuber? Somebody you admire and look to for inspiration? Could be anybody: vlogger, comedian, product reviewer… anybody. And feel free to name more than one, you greedy little piglet.
This is really difficult to answer, because I know so many very awesome YouTubers that I look up to. I’ll just mention the first one that comes to my mind, which is of course Dana from WantedAdventure. Not only did we film very funny collaboration videos together, we also connected perfectly in an almost soulmate kind of style and became good friends since we first met. She is such a lovely person and I definitely look up to her. We talk about our video ideas together, try to help each other finding the best titles for our uploads, and I just feel we can share everything, be it related to our channels or personal.
Question 5.) How do you deal with internet trolls, hate mail or generally negative feedback to your videos? In my experience, YouTube commenters are some of the meanest, nastiest bunch of circus freaks on the internet. But there are also some very cool ones out there too. Your audience seems particularly cool, for example. But how do you deal with the occasional hate-spewing knuckle-dragger?
It is really stunning how much hate there is in YouTube comments, and you have to grow a thicker skin if you don’t want to let it drag you down. Criticism is a very crucial thing to help you improve your videos and I always appreciated it, but some people just write down something very ugly to hurt you. In the beginning, I struggled a lot with mean comments. Not so much with the obvious troll comments or stupid insults, but with people claiming I just didn’t have it in me or that they couldn’t stand me – the personality related things mostly. Sometimes these comments haunted me for days, but at some point it got better. My self confidence grew, I got more and more support from my community and the many amazing people giving positive and helpful feedback outweighed the few black sheep. I understood that ignoring the haters is the way to deal with them, or if you feel like you have to answer, kill them with kindness. It still happens that a mean statement gets to me, but then it is normally something really specific that simply catches me on the wrong foot.
Question 6.) Do you have any advice for aspiring YouTubers, video bloggers or other ambitious young video nerds? Like, if you could tell a young Trixi Rabbit one thing — right before she made her first video — what would it be?
There is one thing that took me so long to understand, even though it seems so simple. My advice is: be yourself! When I started making videos, I found myself pretending to be somebody else. I didn’t want others to notice my quirky behavior or my flaws. But that is exactly what makes you and your channel / blog / stream unique and gives it its recognition value. And more importantly: perfection is boring. You are way more authentic, relatable and also more relaxed if you show yourself the way you are. I don’t want people to get sad thinking “Oh, I wish I were like her!”, instead I prefer when they say: “You are totally nuts – just like me!”
Question 7.) Wait, you’re a mom now, right? Like, with a real, live baby and everything? Jesus’ tits! How the hell do you have any time at all, what with the demands of your job, social life and twice-weekly video blogging deadline? How do you keep from burning out and giving up? I’ve been meeting my weekly deadline with this blog since 2011, and I think about quitting basically every single week. And I don’t even have a kid or a real job! (What I’m saying here, Trixi, is you’re making me feel like a pussy, and I want it to stop.)
Yep, at least last time I checked it was a real baby. It looks, sounds and most notably smells like one. I still cannot believe it myself. She’s such a cutie and I’m so unbelievably grateful for her! However, having a baby has proven to make… well, basically everything way more complicated. With my daughter being my highest priority, keeping up with daily life things and my video schedule is a true challenge, and sometimes I do reach my limits and get quite upset. Then it’s time to lower the pace a bit. But since my channel and its community mean so much to me, I always manage to get up on my feet again and replenish my energy as a mother, partner, friend and video creator.
Question 8.) What do you think of American accents? Do you have a favorite or least-favorite based upon region? (East Coast, West Coast, Mid-West, Southern, etc.) See, I’m from Portland, Oregon, so as a West Coaster, I like to think we speak the English equivalent of “Hochdeutsch,” or High German, which is the clearest, most easily understood form of the language. Do you agree with this assessment, and if not, how dare you??
I love to study accents of all kinds because I find them fascinating. When it comes to American accents, I have to say that I enjoy listening to the Southern ones the most. They seem really smooth and charismatic to me. And if I were to mention an accent I don’t like so much, no offense, but it would be the New York accent. Sometimes it sounds too sassy or cheeky for my liking, but that also highly depends on the person speaking this accent.
Question 9.) Could you please explain to me why Germans have this strange, almost superstitious fear of all things cold? (Especially cold drafts of air and cold floors?) My wife honestly does not know from where she learned it (but she keeps right on believing it anyway). Is it something taught to little German kids by their kindergarten teachers? Or does it come directly from their parents, like, “Trixi, tuck the back of your shirt in right this instant! Even the slightest breeze will shut down your kidneys and shrivel them like dead little raisins.”
Well, not all Germans have this fear, but as for me, I was brainwashed by my mom mostly. She wouldn’t let me go out with wet hair – even in the burning summer heat when the last thing you want to use is a hairdryer. I believe it may be a cultural thing, because I’ve heard the same thing from subscribers from e.g. Sweden or Norway. If you come from a hot place, you value cool drafts, air conditioning and fans more, because they have been life savers in many occasions. But Germany… is not particularly a place of tropical heat. For this reason, I could imagine that the appreciation for things that make the air or our feet cold is just not part of our nature, and we like to blame all kinds of bad stuff on them. But that’s just a wild guess.
Question 10.) What are your future plans for Don’t Trust the Rabbit? Maybe a book or movie deal? Don’t be humble here, Trixi — your fans want the truth: What would be a dream come true for your YouTube channel?
Books, movies… sounds pretty amazing, but that’s going to stay a fantasy, I guess. Regarding the channel: as much as I love the language related videos, I also want to introduce some other topics in the near future. Since I studied psychology, I think it would be an innovative idea and lots of fun to address some psychological or sociological questions – maybe even give my viewers the opportunity to take part in some simple, interactive experiments.
My dream for DontTrustTheRabbit is to see the rabbit family grow further, to gather more awesome people and to learn more about languages and culture from viewers all over the world. However, I don’t aim for a million people or anything like that; I’m happy about every single person joining our community. The gold YouTube play button would make a fancy paper weight, though.
Okay folks, that’s a wrap! Thank you very much, Trixi, for taking the time to answer my obviously leading and frequently insulting questions. You’re awesome. And I think we can all agree your YouTube channel, Don’t Trust the Rabbit, deserves no less than 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:
Well done, T-Bone! I think you’ve set some kind of record here.
Thank you everyone for reading, and have an awesome day!