I first started getting into video games when I was super young all because of my older brother. He would play games and I would just watch. I’d sit through it all and once I was old enough, he’d let me play alongside him. I remember him playing a lot of horror games and even though I could barely feel my legs as I watched some of them, I’d stay anyway. It was our way of bonding and having fun together. We’d play games like Army of Two, Left 4 Dead, Obscure, and more. I remember the game that had me dying to get a console of my own was Assassins Creed: Revelations - I loved the multiplayer game modes; being stealthy scared me and excited me all at once and I have nothing but fond memories of it.
I first went from owning a GameBoy, multiple versions of the Nintendo DS, the PSP, and the Wii, to finally my own Xbox 360. I remember being around 15/16 when my parents finally gave in and bought me one for Christmas. They held off buying it for a while because, at the time, they thought games were strictly for boys and that me liking them was a “phase”.
Now that I had my VERY OWN CONSOLE, I just needed a gamer tag. I knew I wanted something that had to do with space. Space is scary, but it’s still the beautiful unknown. I decided Nova would be in the name (I didn’t know what Nova meant at the time, just knew it had to do with space) but I needed a prefix for Nova - so I used a gamer tag generator. After clicking ‘refresh’ dozens of times, “True Nova” was what I went with. The name was taken though, of course, so I just added an extra A to the end and voila, True Novaa was born. After maybe 1-2 years of playing, I changed my gamertag to Queen Novaa because I was tired of everyone thinking I was a 14-year-old boy going through puberty through the mic -_-
Overall, games have just always been a way for me to pause time and escape life.
So growing up, I had always wanted to play games on YouTube or something of the sort, I just never had the time or resources. I briefly gave it a shot at 18 but my camera confidence was at 0 and I didn’t really have a clue how or where to start. I always told myself I would start YouTube up again eventually but never got around to it.
Right before the pandemic changed our lives forever, I was a senior in college finishing my last semester. I was interning at a public relations agency and life was pretty great. I was going out a lot and just thriving in most aspects of my life. When I heard about the virus, I assumed it was something that wouldn’t reach New York and if it did, it would be dealt with in a month max. I welcomed the idea of having 2-3 weeks off of class and just relaxing. 2-3 weeks turned into over a year now and I couldn’t have been more wrong. During the first months of mass quarantine, I did my classes online and interned from home. I played video games, watched reality TV, and held video call parties with friends. It was different but fun. It was a very drastic change of life for me.
In May of 2020, a guy I followed on Twitter had been streaming on Twitch for a bit and so I created an account just to support him. I had zero idea how Twitch worked, I just showed up to support him but that was that.
Around June 2020, I picked up Resident Evil 2, the remake. I heard that it was terrifying and I didn’t have many games to play so I gave it a go. After running into Mr. X, the stalking force that follows you throughout a large chunk of the game, I decided I could NOT play it alone and that I needed a friend. But during a pandemic, I obviously couldn’t have people over so, I decided to stream the game on Mixer and ask an online pal of mine to watch and speak to me as I played (Mixer died soon after this). It made it so much easier. A few people would join in on the stream and I had a lot of fun playing and talking to them. I was nervous, but it was cool.
These two events, me joining Twitch to support someone and me streaming this game to feel less scared, led me to think it was worth it to give streaming a try. I had no idea how it would work but I had a lot of time on my hands since I had graduated college and there was a pandemic going on. Plus, my internship turned into a full-time job and I now work as a Public Relations and Influencer Coordinator in the gaming industry, so I thought I knew enough to at least get started on the journey. I started streaming July 21st, 2020.
My streams are really whatever I want them to be. I’m a variety streamer so sometimes I’ll play anything from horror games to dating sims to choose your own adventures. The other day we spent almost 4 hours watching anime trailers that the community submitted. I typically stream single-player games with great/unique stories. This makes it easier to talk to chat and discuss what’s going on. Sometimes I do “secret streams”, which are unannounced and random where I play games I normally wouldn’t play live, like shooters, fighting games, etc. I do a lot of Just Chatting too and plan community nights where we play together as well.
The community is literally a wonderful mess haha, there are so many different types of people that I can’t really pinpoint the kind of people we have. It’s super diverse. We have introverts, extroverts, athletes, creatives, women, men, and nonbinary folk; we have so many types of people. Most people who come by feel welcomed because there’s no feeling of exclusion. I love that so much about us, it just never gets old. We have viewers as young as 18 and viewers twice that age. People from all corners of the world with all types of interests. I’m over the moon that they can all be in my chat and get along despite being from drastically different paths of life. I love the community I’ve built and just wanna put them all in my pocket. Grateful for every single person who pulls up to the streams.
I’m not sure if I would say I have a brand, but I guess everyone does even if they don’t mean to. I guess I’m that cheeky, sarcastic but sweet streamer. I’m playful and love to joke around but I’m also known to be assertive. This is pretty much who I am in person, maybe not as amped but generally, that’s how I am.
Honestly, the growth I’ve had on Twitch has surprised me. After 3 weeks of streaming, I reached affiliate, and then after almost 8 months, I got partnered (streaming 3 nights a week). I didn’t know ANYTHING about Twitch before I started streaming. I even had a crappy camera and mic for most of the journey, and people still believed in me.
I don’t have an exact “method” to my success, but generally, I put myself in the shoes of someone watching me. First of all, most games I’ve played were not just a random game I picked up. I did research on them, made sure they were fun to watch AND play, looked up how many people follow/watch that game on Twitch, and made sure to mix the genres up. I didn’t want to eventually be boxed into one genre. I wanted to be a variety streamer and while that’s harder to pull off, you have more freedom in the end. Twitch recommends by game first, then the streamer (I think) - so it was more likely for people to find me on a well-known game rather than a niche one. Now that I’ve built a community, I can mostly play whatever I want but back then, I had to be picky. I wouldn’t pick something oversaturated but wouldn’t pick a wasteland either. This is important cause this is how people discover you! Everything I did was genuine and organic, and it worked for me. Oh and I always strive to make each stream better, even if it meant in baby steps.
The hardest thing for me at first was learning how to set boundaries. As a woman on Twitch, I would often get a lot of guys either intensely hitting on me or insulting my looks but then passing it off as a joke. I would just tolerate it at first, but I would end up getting off stream feeling terrible. I couldn’t pretend to play along anymore so I eventually set my boundaries. These boundaries definitely cut my community down but I rebuilt it with respectful and great people, and I’m really grateful for that.
I’m currently not a full-time streamer because I have a day job and streaming, unfortunately, doesn’t pay me enough to live, especially here in New York. I love streaming and I only plan for things to keep going up from here.
I stream 3 nights a week and possibly plan to add a 4th night if things keep moving forward. Typically I spend most of my days off relaxing or, on rare occasions, hanging out with friends or family. It’s getting warmer now and I plan to go out (safely and responsibly) on my days off soon. Picnics, beaches, outdoor dining, etc.
I’m a super social person so streaming has really filled my social meter during this whole pandemic, but I really do miss seeing and meeting people in person. At first, I was scared of the camera and it felt weird speaking and responding to just text, but over time, it’s become natural to speak to chat through that same camera.
I can’t lie though, streaming and working leaves very little time for other things. So it has affected my relationships with the people I know and love, but I’m lucky that they understand this is only for the moment, and hopefully, eventually, my growth continues and I can afford to take time away. My family didn’t have a real opinion on me streaming until I started to see success. Now they think it’s cool but are still mostly confused haha. My close friends support me and back me in it. Truth be told, I get sad thinking about how I rarely see them but it’s only for the moment, and they understand. I’m making a small dream come true and that takes time and a lot of energy.
I use the following:
Honestly I should use more stuff but I keep it super simple. Mostly because I don’t have a lot of time but I’m working on it.
Be yourself, have FUN (please focus on having fun and not just growing) and while you celebrate your wins, don’t just sulk in the losses. If a stream didn’t go so well - ask yourself why. Was it the game? Was it your mood? You should never drive yourself insane over bad stream days but if you want to push forward, you have to be critical of your work to a certain extent. Try to view your content through an unbiased lens and work from there. Ask for honest opinions from friends if you have to.
Once you build a base full of people who support and care for you, you can relax a bit and be less worried, but:
More BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and Women should be featured more. LGBTQ people should be featured more. Not during black history month or women’s history month or during pride, but YEAR ROUND. The standard is the same as it is everywhere else and I hope that creators like me can start to shake the table and make our marks on the site.