Sunday, April 21, 2024

Dominating as a streamer, breaking barriers

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In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, young streamer Anjali Atheya, aka The Bella, gets onboard, sharing her journey, breaking barriers, and more.
Tejal Sinha
We live in a generation where women have not been letting the male-dominated industries keep them away from their talents. Despite e-sports having traditionally been a male-dominated field, some very talented female streamers are starting to make a name for themselves. And just like countless others, Anjali Atheya, aka The Bella, fell in love with gaming at a young age. and have been gaming for over 8 years.
Little did the young Anjali know she could share this passion, connect with others through streaming, and build her own community until her friend Sonic OP introduced her to the world of live streaming.
Recalling her ‘THAT’ moment exclusively with The Pioneer, the younger streamer shares, “On May 8th, 2021, I nervously hit the “go live” button, embarking on my streaming journey. My first-ever broadcast featured Valorant, and the experience was exhilarating. From those humble beginnings, I’ve come a long way. Today, I find immense joy in connecting and interacting with a vibrant community every single day.”
Streaming opened a door she never knew existed. Suddenly, she found herself talking openly and comfortably with complete strangers, and to my surprise, they were just as eager to connect! This was a stark contrast to her real life, where social interactions often felt daunting. Here, in the digital world, she could be herself, share her passion for gaming, and build meaningful connections, all at the same time.
But the true magic wasn’t just the newfound confidence. “It was the realisation that I could turn my passion into a career. Streaming allowed me to do what I loved, and the best part? The amazing community that blossomed around it. Every day, these incredible people come together, not just to watch me play but to have genuine conversations and create a sense of belonging. They are the heart and soul of my channel and the reason I hit that “go live” button every single day.”
Transitioning from a successful makeup-focused Instagram page with over 10k followers, she embarked on a new streaming journey, where she has garnered 8.5k followers. “Makeup wasn’t just a hobby for me,” shares the budding streamer. “It was a passion. I pursued it with a professional goal in mind. I loved gaming, and I’ve been at it since I was around 10; hence, I feel it came naturally. I have spent countless hours honing my skills since childhood. So, when I decided to become a streamer, it felt like a natural evolution. I was already very comfortable with gaming, and adding interaction with viewers felt like a natural extension of my passion. Considering that, the transition from a make-up content creator to a game streamer was easy and seamless for me.”
Additionally, she’s found an interesting way to integrate it into my streams through cosplays. Be it Halloween classics or characters from popular games like Valorant and Hogwarts Legacy, the combination of playing a game while cosplaying a character offers an additional layer of enjoyment for viewers.
Looking back, it’s funny how things turned out for her, she says. “While I’ve always been the type to follow my heart, no matter what, gaming wasn’t even on my radar as a kid. But that all changed thanks to my two awesome brothers. Growing up, they never once made me feel like gaming was just for boys. It was a family activity, a shared passion that brought us together. Their support was, and still is, a huge reason I’m here today. It’s also why I’m passionate about fostering a welcoming community, especially for girls who might feel hesitant to enter the gaming world. Seeing how my brothers embraced me, regardless of gender, completely shattered the stereotype of gaming being solely male-dominated.”
It is definitely encouraging for her to see the growth of female gamers in India. In recent years, there has been a notable rise in the presence of women participating as gamers, content creators, and esports competitors within the country. “This trend signals a positive development for the gaming sector overall, fostering diversity and challenging gender stereotypes. Kudos to these women gamers or content creators who are leading the way forward in making the gaming industry more equitable and shattering the perception of gaming as a male-dominated space. As a female gaming creator, I feel these female game streamers are creating a distinct space for themselves in the industry by bringing diverse perspectives and experiences into their gameplay. Despite the challenges in the journey, female gamers have confidently excelled in the field, putting themselves out there and contributing valuable content to the audience.”
Further, to all the aspiring female streamers, “I have simple and direct advice to offer this ‘never give up’. I agree that the streaming landscape can be challenging, but remember, challenges are often accompanied by a positive silver lining. So, stay focused on enjoying your streams and fostering an environment where you can thrive. When you’re passionate and engaged, your enthusiasm naturally translates to your viewers. Their support, in turn, will fuel further motivation and growth. In order to witness an increased participation of females in e-sports, we will have to foster a gender diversity-inclusive environment in gaming. E-sports streaming platforms must prioritise creating a safe and inclusive environment. This involves implementing measures to prevent harassment and discrimination. Providing training resources and mentorship programs can empower women to excel in gaming. Additionally, hosting events and competitions specifically tailored for female gamers not only promotes visibility but also encourages more women to participate and feel valued in the gaming community.”  Streaming has become her full-time gig now, even as she juggles her college studies in her second year. She began to see the potential for a career if she poured her heart into it and stayed open to trying new things to keep my audience engaged. In this line of work, staying relevant is crucial.
On the internet, or better to quote, on an online live streaming gaming platform, we have a huge chunk of the audience. While a few will praise you, others will discourage you with their negative comments or conversations. The only way to deal with these unwarranted conversations or comments happening, she says, is to ignore them and maintain peace by focusing on your work. So the strategy remains simple and direct: to absorb the negativity and channel that energy into creating even better content for your audience.
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