Streamlabs is celebrating Pride by sitting down and chatting with a variety of LGBTQIA+ streamers from all over the globe! Today we’re here with Ysmeira (she/they), who will be running charity streams for the It Gets Better Project, the first of which is happening from June 17th through the 19th. Ysmeira is passionate about creating a safe space for viewers who want to ask questions and explore their identities. She’s got a lot to say and we highly recommend you settle in with a cup of tea or coffee and have a listen.
Streamlabs will be hosting Ysmeira on our Twitch channel from June 17th at 7 am PT. Stop by and say hi before heading to her stream or support the creator directly from her social media:
Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, Fanhouse, Ko-fi, and Patreon
Can you provide some background on your channel and how you got started. How long have you been streaming and what do you typically like to stream?
I've been streaming since 12 February 2020! I joined Twitter for the first time in a VERY long time in search of some witchy friends to connect with, and ended up falling into the ESO community, where I found Tea_The_Khajiit, whose streams inspired me to try it out! I usually say that I stream primarily Elder Scrolls Online with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and art (digital -- I stream what I'm drawing on my iPad via capture card) sprinkled in, but now ESO and ACNH are pretty even, if not tipped the other way, thanks to some RAM/CPU issues my computer's started having.... It's been behaving lately, though, so aside from some marathon loading screensI'm basically able to stream ESO again! I also often start my streams off with doing some makeup and chatting, and then we'll get into whatever we're going to be doing that day, whether it be Skyrim, Breath of the Wild, ACNH, ESO, or something else entirely!
What was it about streaming that initially interested you and inspired you to give it a try?
I was inspired to stream by Tea_The_Khajiit. I found her via ESO Twitter, and from my first message in chat, her community welcomed me with open arms. I love the easygoing nature of her streams (I have never heard someone sound so relaxed during PvP????), and she made streaming look so easy to someone who knew nothing about it! I just remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, she's just playing games and chatting with friends, this is amazing! I've gotta try it!" I've of course since learned that there's MUCH much more to streaming than just that, but there hasn't been a bit of work that I've put into streaming and not enjoyed doing. (That's not to say burnout never catches up to me, but just that it's never not been worth coming back to for me, which I'm so lucky for.)
What is the most important thing to you about being an LGBTQIA+ streamer?
For me, streaming and becoming a part of the ESO Twitter community has really opened up my mind to other identities out there (there were SO MANY that I didn't even know about before becoming a part of these communities!) and to my own identities. I've known I liked at least boys/men and girls/women all my life, and in middle school the word I knew for that was "bisexual," so I ran with it. Despite growing up in Los Angeles, I wasn't actually very immersed in the LGBTQIA2+ community until later in my 6-year active duty Navy career, and then even more so once I started streaming on Twitch. During that 4-ish year time frame from about 2017-2021 was when I really dug into what "pansexual" and "sapphic" meant, and in the past 3 or so years I've started to really think about my gender and my relationship with it, and while I'm not quite sure what that label would be, I think it's safe to say I'm at least genderqueer, if not leaning a little agender. As a streamer who is a member of the LGBTQIA2+ community, I want to provide a space where people can safely ask questions and learn like I was able to, because so much of the time (aside from the trolls, of course), when someone is asking questions, they're really trying to learn about themselves, and I think that the most important thing a human can do in this life is to learn about themself, and to help others do the same. (For those curious: I identify as bi/pan and genderqueer, and use she/they pronouns.)
Are there other LGBTQIA + streamers that you are inspired by?
So many of the LGBTQIA2+ streamers I know are SO inspiring to me, either because they're getting out there every day and fighting for the rights of themselves and others (like A_TypicalQueer, ShineyPenn, and RekitRaven, who got the #ADayOffTwitch movement rolling), they're running charity streams and a charity stream team and a community that is the most wholesome and chaotic community I've ever seen (Jambo and Cheebs, with them both being pretty avid charity streamers with absolute chaos gremlins -- in the best way -- for community members, and Jambo running Sidequest), or they're creating whole new spaces that didn't previously exist for marginalized creators (Ashlinaa creating Café Cultivar, a community and stream team for Hispanic and Lantine/x streamers)!
Do you have any tips for new streamers entering the space?
I'm the kind of person who is very shy about trying new things in spaces where people who know me can observe me, so I wanted to be able to try streaming out sort of secretly and anonymously, and Tea's VTubing showed me that it could be done that way! I started off streaming only ESO from my single laptop and a headset mic I borrowed from my partner, using a saved image of my Bitmoji as my PNGTuber avatar until I downloaded FaceRig and became a cat VTuber. (Literally just the fluffy cat head default avatar available in FaceRig. Didn't even use a camera for face tracking, just audio tracking and auto-blink!) If you're unsure about a cam, or absolutely can't get one or don't want to use one, VTubing or PNGTubing are so simple! (Note: I said simple, not easy! As with almost everything to do with streaming, "one" thing is very rarely ever "one" thing! But VTubing or PNGTubing can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it!) I use an extremely simple, free program that only requires 4 PNGs/images of your avatar: one with eyes open and mouth closed, another with eyes open and mouth open, eyes closed and mouth closed, and eyes closed and mouth open. (here: https://olmewe.itch.io/veadotube-mini) I still use my avatar here and there if I don't have the spoons to be on camera, or most recently, if my air conditioner is down and it's just too hot to be "put together"....
Probably the BIGGEST pieces of advice I could give any content creator, though, as cheesy and cliché as they may sound, are really just to be yourself, and to not just know your own limits, but to respect them. Always, always, always. I'm someone who is incredibly uncomfortable with inauthenticity, not just in others, but in my own behavior. If I feel fake, I know it shows, and if it shows, viewers/consumers of your content will 100% sense it and be uncomfortable with you. And as far as your limits? Anyone that cares about you -- and yes, your community does care about you -- does not want to see you wearing yourself out for the sake of "content." Nothing is worth grinding yourself into the dirt emotionally, mentally, or physically, for content. I have taken a couple of pretty big breaks, one announced and one unannounced, and my community has been there for me when I got back both times. They will be there for you, too.
In your opinion, what makes a good/engaging live stream for viewers?
Honestly, I feel "good" and "engaging" can be so hit or miss, and are definitely subjective. Ultimately, a viewer's going to like what a viewer's going to like, and no amount of pep, gimmicks, or forced "energy" is going to change that... and that's fine! Not everyone is going to vibe with every stream that's out there, that's the beauty of there being so many to choose from! I won't even go so far as to say that "dead air" will always make people leave the stream, because there's at least one stream out there (shoutout to tesoRPwalk!) that speaks very minimally, because their whole stream is just them walking around Nirn, and it's amazing! I think this goes back to my advice before of just making sure to be yourself, and to respect your own limits. Engaging streams -- of whatever variety they may be -- only happen when a streamer is doing those things! (The other thing I'd say advice-wise, too, is that sometimes streaming puts you in a better mood, so don't necessarily not stream because you're in a bad mood. I get not wanting to be bad company, but sometimes what you need to get out of your funk is friends to keep you company, and streaming has provided that for me many a time!)
What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy outside of streaming and creating content?
Outside of streaming I'm still a pretty creative person. I sing (LOVE me some karaoke and open mic nights!), play guitar, draw, bullet journal, crochet, do yoga (I'm actually a certified adaptive yoga instructor!), watch ALL of the Critical Role content I can get my hands on, and write... like, I write, as you can see by the length of my responses.... I mostly write backstories for my ESO and D&D characters, and occasionally fan fiction of the same (mostly ESO for that). I'm also a pretty huge science nerd. I'm getting my chemical technology associate's degree right now, and just being in a chemistry class and an anatomy and physiology class is making my brain so happy!! I'd like to work in a research lab or maybe a crime lab some day, maaaaybe even as a medical examiner or forensic pathologist? I love dissection. I was thinking about a way to adequately explain why I love science as much as I do earlier today, and basically it's that I would want to take the entire world apart and put it back together again if I somehow could. Like, just teach me or let me investigate how absolutely everything works, and I probably would still have so many questions and ideas it'd make peoples' heads spin, but my brain would be T H R I V I N G!!
How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated as a creator?
Avoiding burnout is still something of a challenge for me. There is so much I want to do and so many things I want to achieve as a streamer and as just a charitable person (I'd love to found my own foundation/charity and accompanying stream team, some day!), and I've always been the kind of person that has big goals and dreams, but hates the tedium of all the steps in between. Thankfully, streaming is the kind of thing you can 100% do at your own pace, so I try to hold onto that thought of, "there's no deadline, there's no rush, you're the only one imposing any kind of time crunch, let yourself breathe," but that can be challenging! The biggest thing I'm still fighting to train myself not to do is to not compare myself to others. Streaming and content creation are unique in that someone having achieved more success than you, doesn't mean they've taken away from your own success. I've run into so many "big" streamers that I think of as almost being celebrities/having made it, that probably have only ever heard of each other in passing, at most, and that's not just because they may not be as big as I think they are, but it's largely because THIS space that we're in, and the internet as a whole, is just H U G E. All of that to say: You can 100% swim at your own pace without drowning. What will make you drown, though, is burning yourself out. The trick is to remember that and to take steps away when you need to.
Anything else you want to share with Streamlabs readers?
I think I've probably "talked" everyone's metaphorical ears off at this point.... But I hope you enjoyed reading, and I hope if you're thinking about starting to stream, that you try it out some time!