While some create a Twitch account to chat, some with the intention of streaming, and some to help mod, UmiNoKaiju’s purpose was purely competitive: to scope out other players in a League of Legends tournament she was participating in. Five years later, she’s built a career on streaming, an option she never realized was possible.

“Aspiring streamers now think so far ahead, but back then it was just about the experience and having fun. I was playing games all the time to take my mind off of nursing school, and since I was playing anyway, I decided to try streaming.”

At that point in time, she didn’t even have a presence on social media, and she was using a computer borrowed from her uncle to stream. It wasn’t long before she was regularly streaming over nine hours every day, not intentionally or on a schedule, but because she enjoyed it playing with her friends and connecting with the community so much.

“Streaming with friends is one of the most exciting parts, making the world a smaller place by creating friendships outside boundaries is amazing.”

After streaming consistently, UmiNoKaiju started seeing Twitch staff appear in her channel on a more regular basis. They gave her goals to grow, including upgrading microphone and growing her community. More seriously considering obtaining Partnerships, she took their advice, increase the quality of her streams, and was partnered a month after graduating from nursing school.

“My stream just didn’t blow up suddenly. It was a new viewer here and there. I was slowly and steadily getting bigger.”

It was during this time, she started becoming more involved with building her community offline. Collaborating with fellow Partners like Pokimane and xChocobars, they put a focus on communities and creators coming together at conventions and events on a more regular basis, a concept that’s been adapted by Partners today.

“It’s so important to actually connect to the people who are on the other side of the screen watching every day.”

Eventually, she came to a fork in the road and had to decide between pursuing her nursing license or becoming a full-time streamer. Though it’s taken a few years for her family to see the impact of streaming, they were able to see the solid community she’d built in 2017 when her community raised $10,000 to help rebuild her house after Hurricane Harvey - not only impacting her ability to continue streaming, but also the lives of her family members.

“My community is my family, and every new person is welcome to our family with open arms. It’s the thing I’m most proud of in my career. I didn’t realize when streaming that I could build a community. My thought was that I needed to be entertaining first, but seeing what we’ve built together, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Streaming has also allowed her the opportunity to pursue passions she previously had on hold. Having been a dancer since she was 13, UmiNoKaiju took a long break while pursuing nursing school and transition to streaming. With the support of her community, she’s gotten back into dancing, sharing her practices and routine on stream.

“Twitch is one of my love and passions, and so is dance. I never thought I could combine the two, but with the growth of IRL, I think now is the perfect time to do so.”

She’ll be competing in World of Dance this September, where some of her community will fly down to support her and her crew, who are also now becoming regulars on Twitch. Shortly after, she’ll be attending TwitchCon in San Jose, where engaging with her community will be what she looks forward to most.

“The Meet & Greets at TwitchCon have been my favorite part of the convention since 2015 because you never know what to expect. I’ve had people dressed as sharks in line, I’ve been serenaded. It’s so cute to see viewers with purple hair like mine or wearing my merch. Meeting the people in my community and other broadcasters is always a highlight.”

You’ll be able to shark, serenade, or just attend a normal Meet & Greet with UmiNoKaiju, along with hundreds of other Partners this year at TwitchCon. Get your tickets here!