I started gaming around the age of 5 years old. My older brother is the one who got me into gaming. I always tell this story, but the first game I remember playing was Street Fighter 2. I used to make him put in the code so I could get the pink Chun Li outfit, and he used to play me so that he could beat me and practice. I still have no idea what I am doing on fighting games, and I'm still a self-proclaimed "button mashing master."
From there, I discovered that I absolutely love RPGs and JRPGs, specifically the Final Fantasy series. I became enamored with these games' stories, and the characters were all so vibrant and interesting. My favorite Final Fantasy game is 6, closely followed by 8 and 10. I also loved Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross (really hoping for a remaster), Legend of Mana, and Breath of Fire 4. Those games stuck with me and hold a special place in my heart. I also can't forget the Mass Effect and Dragon Age trilogies.
I don't play video games as much with my brother anymore, but we often talk about video game news and events. I owe a lot of what I do today to him. Honestly, my parents too. We're all nerds.
I always knew deep down inside that I wanted to be a creative. I got into content creation casually in high school. I used to make Sims machinima music videos. That content is still floating around on YouTube somewhere.
I started streaming and content creation around three years ago. I was going through a divorce at the time and was looking for a way to distract myself and ended up discovering the gaming side of YouTube.
The first year of my journey started on YouTube, again, making gameplay/let's play videos. It was cool while for a while, but I felt it was missing something. This was also around the time that I found out about Twitch, so I decided to look into the platform to see what it was all about. It took me about six months before I mustered up the courage to stream on Twitch, but during that six months, I researched everything I could, i.e., the do's and don'ts, the culture, how everything operated.
My first stream was pretty fun, from what I remember. I believe I played Mass Effect, and some people who came to my first stream are still around to this day. When I was in my research period, I met a few people and got involved with a couple of gaming communities, so some came by during my first stream.
My community is a hot mess (in a good way), because I too, am a hot mess (in a good way).
In all seriousness, my community is fun-loving, energetic, wild, and mischievous, but they're also welcoming, warm, and get along so well with newcomers. We call ourselves the Wilderness Community, based on me saying one day on stream that I would like to make a community out in the middle of nowhere where we all contribute by using our collective skills. Then I quickly realized how culty that sounded, so I added the tagline "we're totally not a cult."
I play games with viewers often, with Fridays and Saturdays being dedicated Dead by Daylight days. That game is the reason how a lot of them found me, from posting DbD content on TikTok. I love playing DbD on stream and with viewers, but I also have to tell people I'm not a DbD streamer and that I'm variety due to me not wanting to be pigeonholed. But I love DbD and play it off-stream too, whenever I have free time. When I'm not playing DbD, I like playing horror games. Playing scary games on stream gives me the courage to finish them, and chat loves to watch and be scared along with me.
My stream is very interactive. I give my chat the option to use numerous sound effects. For example, they can boo me if they want (in which they most certainly do...a lot), but they also cheer me on. I also have commands where if a specific sound goes off, that means it's time to take a tequila shot or any drink they prefer. I also assign one viewer per stream to make our “punch” of the day. We just had a poetry slam night not too long ago where members of the community had to read original poems on stream and chat got to pick who was the winner. I just really pride myself on cultivating a very interactive and involved community.
My brand is based on me being my most authentic self, which was extremely important to me as I was trying to make a way into gaming/content creation spaces. I didn't want to base my brand off of a persona whatsoever. Part of the reason is that I feel like when you make up a persona, people expect you to be constantly "on". Also, another reason would be that I didn't want anyone to end up putting me on a pedestal, and I feel like that's another repercussion of putting on the mask of a persona. And to be fair, that comes with being a content creator in general, but I tend to remind people often that I am human, I can be moody, make a ton of mistakes, and I'm out here winging it just like everybody else. I feel like that message is well received, especially in my community, because when it comes to me, what you see is what you get.
I've grown my reach by diversifying my content and becoming more visible on other social media platforms outside of Twitch. I started posting my content on TikTok because I've seen a couple of creators that I followed have major success over there, and my content blew up randomly as well. Most of my popular content on TikTok comes from my Dead by Daylight clips, but people are pretty receptive to other videos that I put on there. I recently had a Resident Evil Village clip go viral, which boosted my following and all-time views.
Posting content on TikTok showed me the importance of ensuring that people have access to your content on multiple platforms. So now I make sure to post content on my Twitter and Instagram at least a couple of times a week; I also started back posting on Youtube and upload videos weekly. I've just been trying my best to make sure my socials are up-to-date because people and brands may gravitate to one social media site over the others, so it's best to make sure that your content is fresh everywhere.
Another method I attribute to my success is reaching out and finding communities in the gaming space. It was essential to me to find other Black women and WOC on YouTube and Twitch. Before I started creating anything, one of the first things was to google search "black women in gaming" and was blessed to come across Black Girl Gamers.
My biggest accomplishment so far was making partner on Twitch just last month. I've also been a part of the Black History Month and Women's History Month programs on Twitch, which had me be on the front page carousel for two months straight.
A challenge that I have to overcome is learning how to organize and optimize my workflow. I've started taking streaming seriously and moving into making content creation a full-time gig, so I am learning how to do everything I need to do without burning out or getting too overwhelmed. Another challenge I have is trying to overcome imposter syndrome and self-sabotage, which can also result from being overwhelmed. Many of the successes that I see thus far may seem like they're coming fast, but I have to remind myself that I worked very hard constantly, and I'm deserving of all my success.
The best feedback that I receive from viewers is when they tell me they've been having a hard time or have been dealing with some personal issues, but watching my streams brightens up their day.
Makes me feel like I’m doing something right and chokes me up every time.
Thus far, the most interesting thing that's happened to me is people I looked up to when I first started content creation, knowing who I am and asking to collaborate. Also, whenever people hop into the stream and are like, "oh, you're that lady from TikTok," or whenever I raid someone new after the stream, and they already know who I am. Another one is when I'm playing DbD specifically, and the random people I'm playing with know who I am. I'll probably never get used to the recognition, but it tickles me so much.
I'm still in the process of learning how to balance streaming and day-to-day life. I've been more diligent about being organized by making a weekly schedule to improve my workflow. Most of the time, I edit videos and clips in the mornings and stream at night. I stream about 4-5 days out of the week. Two days out of the week, I answer emails and pitch to brands. I give myself one day to completely do nothing and reset, which is pivotal. I have to often remind myself to rest because it's easy to get caught up in the grind™, especially when you're gaining some traction.
My family still finds it weird that I'm transitioning into content creation full time, but they're supportive for the most part. My daughter said I was a cool mom, and honestly, that's all the validation that I need in my life. My partner is also highly supportive and helps me out before and during streams. I'm blessed to have such an encouraging family unit. They are the foundation of my accomplishments.
I use OBS to stream and Streamlabs for my bot, alerts, sound effects, and other miscellaneous elements.
Once or twice a month, I use Dixper, a program where viewers can interact with stream and mess with me while I play Dead by Daylight by using crates with actions where they can mute my mic or take over my controls.
I also use Discord to connect with my community off stream.
Consistency, forming genuine connections, finding and/or building a community, and RESEARCH are fundamental. Cultivate your community early on to build a solid foundation that aligns with your character and upholds your values. Also, I love saying the phrase "you got to know when to hold, know when to fold, know when to walk away, know when to run." It doesn't mean to quit your dream of becoming partner, but if something is not necessarily working for you, it's ok to switch some things up and move in another direction.
More diversity in featuring BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ content creators. They've been doing better in that regard, but there's always room for improvement. Then there's the whole issue with DMCA and copyright strikes. I never understood the whole "3 strikes and you're out" rule no matter how long you've been on the platform. I wish they would work something out that would greatly benefit creators. Also, moderation could use a touch-up. They have several systems to help creators with harassment, but I feel they could use better strategies to aid streamers, especially streamers from marginalized communities, on the platform.
My goals for the next 5-10 years would be acquiring some brand deals and sustaining myself, and living a good, financially stable life as a content creator. The work I do is so fulfilling to me.
I would love to get into hosting and voice acting eventually. Maybe even start my own tequila company, who knows? The sky is the limit.