Purpose Live streaming has become an increasingly popular media, which allows individuals to record and broadcast simultaneously on the internet. Streamers, individuals who conduct live streaming videos, create diverse media content on live streaming video platforms. Most streamers show up with their real-person appearances via live streaming. However, Virtual YouTubers, known as VTubers, use avatars to conduct live streaming. In recent years, Twitch has become one of the most well-known video live streaming services for VTubers. This study aims to explore attractiveness between the viewer and VTuber through parasocial interactions, and the influence that attractiveness might have on actual mediated interactions between viewers and the VTuber. Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire was conducted to study the attractiveness of VTubers’ live streaming and viewers’ engagement with VTubers. Findings Parasocial interactions can be a factor drawing viewers to watch VTubers’ live streaming. Physical attractiveness, social attractiveness, and task attractiveness play important roles in influencing viewers’ choices on specific VTuber’s live streaming and further social interactions with them. To be more specific, the interactions with VTubers, the content of live streaming, the personality of VTubers, and the visual design of the VTubers’ avatars are important factors that attract respondents to watch live streaming. Additionally, the findings show the pattern of viewers’ interactions with VTubers. Active viewers typically leave comments to be acknowledged by VTubers and further reactions. Passive viewers are influenced by time, language barrier, character, and emotional health. Practical implications VTubers and the platform are given suggestions on how to design and improve live streams and help VTubers to promote to attract viewers. Social implications It introduces VTubing as a subculture and shows how viewers consume VTubers’ live streaming. Originality/value This is the first study to explore the roles of attractiveness on viewers selecting and engaging with VTubers’ live streaming. It illustrates the importance of companionship, avatars, and the personality of VTubers in influencing viewers’ willingness to watch live streaming.