Tell us your history with video games
Everybody used to play on PS2 or so I remember back when I was in school. I remember getting Final Fantasy IX, a really old game, and played it for a whole day and that is when I realized I could escape my reality and dive into video games. Everybody living overseas and far from home has experienced a bit of homesickness but for me it was much worse because I left my entire childhood behind. Being born in the Philippines and raised in Italy where I didn’t know the language and not having any friends to play with or talk with took a big toll on my mental health. I became closer to video games and less to people and I became something dark, someone who wouldn't talk to anyone for fear of making an Italian grammar mistake. Suddenly I saw myself in the mirror as an outsider and being avoided by a lot of people due to my skin color. I hid behind RPG games like Suikoden, Final Fantasy, and others. I got bullied a lot at my school because I was getting perfect grades and I was known to be a book reader and an avid gamer. They called me Asian nerd.
I call them the dark days, playing alone hiding behind my books and not interacting with anybody because no one knew how I was feeling. The homesickness and sadness that I have my heart. But on October 17, 2014 a friend on social media invited me to play a game called Dota 2, a MOBA game. It's usually played in a party of 5 and they needed 1 player to start a game. I was still awake on wee hours of the morning and so I said yes. I can play since I can't sleep and honestly I was happy because someone needed me on a game even though I had literally no clue on how it was played. From then on I always anticipated those moments where they need a fifth player. I enjoyed playing with them and it was fun to be around people who are my comrades for even just 1 hour I had friends. For just 1 hour of gameplay we protected each other and fought against the “bad guys” as one.
Another reason why they invite me a lot is because I have this sweet voice and a laugh of a 5 year old girl whenever I make mistakes. It was so sweet to hear and they started to call me candy like the way my old friends in the Philippines used to. I told them my nickname was candy and that Grace was really my name. It became my gaming name ever since.
Unfortunately, life got in the way and we all stopped playing together. And so I was back being alone playing Dota 2 and going around internet trying to find more people to play with me. I believe I even posted good looking pictures of me showing that I am a girl and that I love playing Dota 2. But you know what happened? They told me that I was really a guy and that I was just trolling. It was so funny. Moving on.
What’s your backstory and how did you get into streaming?
I started streaming on August 22, 2017. It was a hot, shiny summer day and everybody was outside. Going to the beach. Living their life. Having fun in the sun and here I was going crazy inside these four walls and having no one to talk to since I was called a guy posing as a girl. I decided to set up my streaming career. Just to prove a point that I was really a girl. A bit immature decision that led me up to here.
My decision to stream was unexpected because I was a shy girl and I barely talk. I used to watch glocogaming or annbmateo. Two big streamers that I have mad respect up to this day because of their grind and passion. Seeing them on my screen made me happy everyday. In my lonely world they were my friends. Even though they had absolutely no clue who I was. In my heart I develop this desire to have a community where I can run to and play with or even just talk about life. I remember the moment I pressed start. I was alone and it was a huge leap of faith. Will I succeed on finding what I am looking for? Everybody says that a lot of people start at the bottom. I really did start at the bottom. I had a dollar and a dream.
Tell us about your channel and community
At first I had zero viewers. It went on like that for months because I didn't know how to market myself or even to engage with another human being. Always afraid, always hiding, and never brave. Fast forward to 3 years after. I managed to grow a community of 40 viewers everyday. Our community is a warm one. They are a bit like me and not. Some are shy and introverts. Some are overseas filipino workers and some of them suffer from homesickness, too. We have this chill vibe and whenever someone new comes to chat we welcome them and invite them to play.
Dota 2 has been my main game since. I played PUBG also but my heart belongs to Dota. Currently, I've streamed 7,000 hours on Twitch. I played Dota 2 alone for 3 years and if for some reason I didn't took at the path to streaming. I would still be playing of course.
From Tuesday to Saturday we play Dota, but on Sundays we play different games like Dota Underlords, GTA or raid. I take a day for myself every Monday to get on my reading and other hobbies like dancing and reading manga too. I'm an avid manga hoarder too and my community also loves anime and we talk about gaming and anime on Sundays.
I have nobody to play with before and I know the feeling of being alone so every time someone comes on our community I invite them to play.
Tell us about your brand and how you’ve been able to obtain success
No one is their true self when people are watching. We always conform to what society likes to see or so I did. Back when I started I was shy and I was myself in some ways. I didnt talk. I'd just nod or mumble. But I'm proud that I was hardworking and was really passionate playing 12 hours or even 24 hours of video games. After months of having few viewers and reaching out to a few people only, I decided to use Facebook's platform and posted outgoing pictures of myself. That is when I reached Partner but at the same time I was judged, called a lot of names, and was body shamed. I was bullied by other streamers. They even made a group chat where they insulted my clothing. I saw the group chat and it was full of hate. They claim to be good people but behind closed doors they mock and insult. It was such an eye opener for me. They were nice to my face but trashed my name when I wasn't around. I eventually ignored and banned them from my channel.
The biggest challenge I got was a couple years ago, when a viewer from my channel got a huge crush on me. Claiming I was his girlfriend when I haven't even met the person in real life. Funny how people get so obsessed over someone they haven't met. I turned him down even though he was one of my biggest supporters. I didn't care about the backlash because I thought people would see that I was being forced to say YES to something that I know I don't want.
I hated streaming then. I got so blinded by the fake faces and fake friends, so I stopped streaming for a month. I was so lonely and I started to cut myself again wishing the pain to end. How many suicides will there be until people realize that the stuff they say hurt? Being bullied by people I haven't done anything wrong was downright stupid. I was good to them, and all I did was turn down a guy, but the hate came from people who had no say in the matter.
A lot of streamers chipped in and gave their “piece” claiming what I did was wrong and that I have hurt them too. I was bewildered. My life choices didn't affect theirs.
I had so much hate in my heart again and I felt my world crumbling.
I wasn't eating but one day I woke up and said to myself I'm not gonna be like this anymore! I was bullied once and went into a dark place and I will never let that happen again. I won't let other people turn me into a sinister ghost of myself. I'm going to use the hate that I received, I'm going to use the stones they threw on me to build a steady community.
I cant leave the few REAL friends that I have. Those who really supported me are there! I saw the ones who has my back through thick and thin.
Fast forward to 2021 I am grateful that I didn't give up. I want Twitch to be my full-time job because I love it here. It's the place where I feel good. I don't want to go back and being alone again. I will try to be successful for the next decade, and I'll direct all my energy towards streaming. I know I will make it as long as I don't give up.
How do you balance streaming and life?
I wake up and play some Spotify music to get hyped up. Grab a coffee or coke and snacks. Then I just play. I do my hair in curls and of course choose an outfit that I like.
On my days off I just wear plain white t-shirt and pants. They say dressing up everyday is like cosplaying how you feel on that certain day. When I feel good I wear red and when not I let my hair straight.. But I am always on pajamas. I have huge sets of pajamas.
Every Monday I pick up a good book of fantasy, right now I am reading The Wheel of Time. I do household chores and catch up with family. My brother knows that I stream but he rarely watches because of what I wear. Hahaha. So far I have decided to stream for 10 years of my life. Whether I fail or whether I succeed. I know that I have tried and that I have enjoyed it. No regrets.
Tell us what tools you use for your stream
I use OBS Studio and Streamlabs software. I use Nightbot for my chat. My Discord is candy grace 0007. Im a secret agent! Haha. My overlays are from free sites. But my emotes are paid. Never changed them because I can't afford to change them right now.
I dont use analytics. I just stream when I feel like it. Which is bad I know. But isnt it worse to stream if you feel like you are being forced to? I live my life carefree and whenever I go live I just post on my discord and facebook.
What are your top 3 streaming tools?
- Coke. I can't function without drinking it.
- My hat! I get conscious of my hair, which always gets in the way. My wolf hat has been there for me.
- A picture of my family on my drawer where I look everyday and get strength hoping that one day I will be able to earn enough and stream in the Philippines.
What advice would you give to small channels trying to reach Partner?
It wont be easy. It will get harder. You might think that you aren't making progress but small steps are good. Keep pushing. Keep moving forward. Run, walk or crawl towards your dreams. People will degrade you and call you insane but if it's your passion, follow it. Sooner or later you will reach it and when you do always look back and remember the people that helped you and pushed you to the top. It might get lonely to reach the top but I was lonely at the bottom too. The important thing is to enjoy the journey.
If you could change one thing about Twitch, what would it be?
I wish Twitch would highlight small Partnered streamers like me too. To be on the front page has been one of my dreams.