Twitch Streamers Are The Influencers You Never Saw Coming
If the playful Twitter discourse surrounding the release of the PlayStation 5 as a marker of “relationship goals” revealed anything, it’s that men still dominate much of the gaming industry conversation. But when it comes to the popular Amazon-owned gaming platform Twitch, a broader group of content creators, viewers, and brands alike have found solace and community through raw and unfiltered livestreaming — the likes of which they haven’t found on YouTube or Instagram. While Twitch has solidified itself as the Next Big Thing in gaming, it's also flexed its rise across fashion, beauty, DIY, and more. And for viewers who could spend hours watching tutorials by their favorite fashion and beauty influencers and YouTubers, this new wave of Twitch streamers offers endless streaming opportunity.
When the pandemic put a halt to the fashion industry’s in-person event circuit, luxury powerhouses and indie labels alike have turned to livestreaming as an alternative. For the Spring/Summer 2021 season, heritage brand Burberry debuted its newest collection via a Twitch livestream. The brand streamed the event in “squad stream mode,” which allowed Twitch users to view from multiple perspectives, including those of Bella Hadid and Rosalía. The result? More than 42,000 concurrent views during the hour-long stream, according to Vogue Business. Other brands like Marc Jacobs and Valentino have also started to reap the benefits the gaming industry has to offer, experimenting with Animal Crossing as an interactive way to engage a largely untapped consumer base.
Popular makeup artists and gamers like Autumn Rhodes and Sandy Tang, who once reserved their involved tutorials and looks for YouTube or IGTV, are merging the two worlds on their Twitch livestreams and taking followers along with them. “Twitch is a unique place in that [everything] is live — which means there's almost no editing or staged content,” Erin Wayne, head of community and creator marketing at Twitch, says. “It's incredibly difficult to fake a persona or character day in and day out when you're streaming for hours at a time, so while we do have ‘character streamers,’ the majority of streamers show up to stream every day as their true, authentic selves.” As a result, influencers of all types are trading in highly-curated feeds and polished edits for Twitch’s more laid-back, intimate approach, with some streamers using the platform as a way to connect with communities in real time and talk about issues beyond gaming or beauty. (AOC now infamously used Among Us to get out the vote ahead of the 2020 election.) “Even considering gamers as our primary users, [they] are multifaceted people, with unique hobbies,” Wayne says, adding, “They want to be able to share any and all of their hobbies with their community, and we're happy to build a service that allows them not only to do so, but to thrive doing it.”
Twitch streamer Christina C. (Seekaysee) confirms this, telling Elite Daily, “There are [times] where I just talk with my community,” adding, “I really enjoy getting to know people and having discussions.”
To get a better understanding as to why influencers are making the switch, Elite Daily spoke with four makeup artists and special effects content creators-turned-Twitch streamers about how a platform once solely reserved for gaming is making way for a different type of player.
Autumn Rhodes (@Autumn on Twitch)
Content specialty: Special effects beauty
A makeup look she loved creating: Dead Alice in Wonderland
Proudest streaming moment: Hitting 100K followers on Twitch
Her favorite game to stream: She’s currently loving the new Apex Legends season, though she usually streams competitive first-person shooter games.
Livestreaming special effects (SFX) makeup isn’t as easy as it looks for her.
I was definitely nervous people would view me as "not a gamer," but after showing people that I really enjoy doing SFX makeup, I think they appreciated the passion I have behind it. It also adds a uniqueness to my channel that people can admire and learn from. The support during October with my SFX makeup was insane. I definitely wasn't expecting people to enjoy it so much, but I was so grateful they did.
Twitch gave her the community other platforms hadn’t.
Twitch's interface makes it so easy for streamers to engage with their audiences. It's very seamless, and I think, because of this, more people are coming to Twitch.
She’s not afraid to use her platform to talk about real-world issues.
I know many streamers try to stay away from serious topics, but I really enjoy having open conversations with my community. I feel that, because I have a platform, it is my duty to educate people as much as I can and learn from others as well. My stream is a safe place where people can come and connect with others while learning a thing or two. I really pride myself on having an amazing community that respects one another when we have those conversations, I rarely have to ban people or tell people to be nice — it brings me so much joy.
Sandy Tang (@SandyTang on Twitch)
Content specialty: Cosplay makeup and body paint
A makeup look she loved creating: Sylvanas from World of Warcraft
Proudest streaming moment: Anytime she has the courage to try and achieve a look outside of her comfort zone.
Livestreaming saves her tons of time spent editing.
I have always loved makeup, and I would watch tons of YouTube. I always wanted to start a channel to share my makeup creations. Filming and editing the videos are very time consuming, so someone mentioned that I should try Twitch. I gave it a shot, and it was a lot of fun. It is so much better painting for an audience and having people to talk to and interact [with]. It beats painting for four to six hours alone all by yourself.
The most awkward part about livestreaming is often just being yourself.
People like to see quirky things about you, because it makes you relatable. But it's OK to laugh at yourself and be vulnerable because you’re human. The nice thing about having your own platform is that you make the rules. You can be as laid-back as you want or as professional as you want.
Makeup looks aren’t the only art she creates.
I do like to stream traditional art and watercolor painting. As a makeup artist, I believe honing your skill in other forms of art will help shape your technique. Sometimes, you don’t feel like putting on makeup, and drawing is a great exercise to help with body painting.
But bringing game characters to life is her bread and butter.
The more dominant it is, the more fun it is to try and bring that character to life. When there is a huge fandom for a game, it makes it exciting for people to see their favorite character transform into a live-action version.
Christina C. (@SeeKaySee on Twitch)
Content specialty: Cruelty-free makeup looks
A makeup look she loved creating: A GKID-sponsored look for the anime movie Weathering With You
How her Twitch career started: After being a professional graphic designer for 10-plus years, she wanted to flex her creative muscles, and livestreaming was a great way to do it.
Favorite thing to livestream: Body-painting makeup. “I don’t stream gaming at all unless as a ‘reward’ for reaching a community goal.”
At first, talking to yourself is as awkward as you think it is.
I started from scratch as a streamer, I didn’t have a community to bring over from different platforms, so I started streaming to zero people. It was really awkward talking to an “empty room.”
Teamwork makes the dream work.
I am so proud of the community that surrounds my stream content. They’re a group of individuals who value creativity, have a progressive mindset, are kind, understanding, and incredibly supportive. The internet can be such a toxic place, but my community feels like a safe space for healthy and fair discussions about sensitive topics, such as mental health, gender identity, sexuality, and even politics and religion.
Melissa Croft (@MCroft07 on Twitch)
Content specialty: Special effects makeup
A makeup look she loved creating: DC Universe’s supervillain, Punchline, is one of her all-time favorites.
Favorite game to stream: “Silly indie games,” like the Untitled Goose Game. “Often when I play these, I will turn myself into a goose with prosthetic makeup and a green screen.”
The most awkward part of streaming: Not realizing half of her false lashes have popped off her eye.
Her comic-inspired looks have received praise from the creators themselves.
When I painted Lady Mechanika, the creator of the comic actually joined the stream. He was super impressed and glad that I had chosen his character to cospaint that he invited me to do a live demonstration at his table at London ComicCon as a VIP artist.
If you like to talk, Twitch is the platform for you.
Initially, I found that creating these looks took so much time, and I was often quite quiet when doing them before streaming. I’m a very chatty person, and creating prerecorded videos for such a long process was growing to be incredibly tricky. I wanted to chat along with like-minded people and also teach what I had learned.