Ex-Twitch streamer turned YouTube star Valkyrae continues to establish herself among the forefront of women thriving in the gaming world nowadays.
A full-time video game streamer, she has opened up to her audience about dealing with her internet fame and the challenges of being a girl in a male-dominated industry.
Despite the hardships, however, she has been successful in making a name for herself in gaming. It is a feat celebrated not only by her fellow ladies in the industry, but the rest of the girls around the world as well. Her success in gaming only inspired more gamer girls to take on the challenge of becoming a video game streamer— despite the odds.
Let’s get to know this gamer girl and full-time streamer better:
Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter was born on 8 January 1992 and later grew up in Washington before moving to Los Angeles, California. She holds an American nationality; with Spanish, German, Filipino descent.
Valkyrae began her career online and successfully garnered a huge name and global fame for herself. In 2014, she began posting to her YouTube channel. She was acknowledged by a YouTube executive for being the fastest-growing live streamer in the world in 2020. She also won Content Creator of the Year at the Game Awards that same year.
As of Dec 24 2020, she has garnered 124 million total views.
Gamer girl background
With all the skepticism surrounding Gamer Girls and plenty of people continuing to question their authenticity as a “real” gamer, Valkyrae’s past just proves that she is, indeed, a Gamer by heart.
While attending community college, she worked at a GameStop for a year and a half— a popular American retailer of consumer electronics, video games, and wireless services. After working in a gaming company, Valkyrae developed an interest to pursue a career in gaming.
It was at that point in her life where her love for gaming bloomed, as she began to stream full-time playing role-playing, story-focussed games and titles such as Bloodborne and The Walking Dead.
Previously, she was also known to upload on her Instagram gaming channel. In a way to share her gaming passion with others, she began posting gaming-related photos on Instagram as she started to build a community of like-minded gamers.
For instance, she shares upcoming game releases that she was looking forward to and snapshots of her retro consoles. She likes to post the games she’s currently playing. Her Instagram posts have also been sponsored by big brands such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Gymshark.
As her Instagram profile rose to popularity, she often stumbles upon a consistent suggestion from her followers: to venture onto Twitch streaming.
According to an interview with Business Insider, she didn’t really know what Twitch was at the time, but her response was: “People kept telling me that I should stream on Twitch, so I eventually was just like ‘Sure, why not?’?”
On Twitch, her streaming career took off as she began to make a name for herself in the industry and she started building a loyal fan following. She is also a known advocate for women in the male-dominated world of gaming and esports, sometimes even playing on all-female teams.
Valkyrae first established her following on Twitch, where she began collaborating with other popular streamers such as Cizzorz, Alexia Rae, Sonii, Myth and Pokimane.
Streaming full-time for five years now, Valkyrae has made enough money through paid subscriptions, fan donations, and sponsorship deals to help pay off her mother’s debt. Her earnings from streaming also helped fund her childcare business.
In January 2020, she had signed a multi-year deal to stream exclusively on YouTube— as the platform promised her financial stability and more creative freedom in comparison with Twitch.
“I just wanted the sense of security. Like financial security, continuing to stream and play games like I always have as a hobby and not having to worry about numbers. I just like the idea of having streams and videos all on one platform so I can just focus on one place.”
The platform allows its content creators to venture into other areas outside of gaming, giving Valkyrae the freedom to upload videos other than her gameplays.
“Now that I made the switch to YouTube, I feel like I can focus on not just gaming, but focus on other interests that I have as well,” she explained, “like beauty, fashion, fitness, health and wellness […] and just whatever it is.”
As of late, she often features Among Us games with Pokimane, Corpse, Sykunno, Toast, PewDiePie, etc. She also posts gameplay from Genshin Impact, Minecraft and Fortnite along with IRL vlogs to her YouTube channel, which has amassed over 2.8 million subscribers.
First female 100 Thieves member
She also made gaming and esports history in 2018, after being signed by the popular organizations 100Thieves. She took on the role of a content creator and gamer.
Then a known Fortnite streamer, Valkyrae was recognized as the organization’s first female content creator. Her addition to the group paved the way for more gamer girls to start leaving their mark in the industry.
In an official welcome tweet, the organization said:
“We’ve been fans of @Valkyrae for a long time. She brings a tremendous amount of energy and positivity to the gaming community. We’re beyond excited for her to be a part of 100 Thieves.”
Valkyrae was grateful for the opportunity, revealing that she has received 10 offers and weighed her decision for about six months before finally settling on 100 Thieves.
Valkyrae had been in a public relationship with fellow streamer Michael “SonyD” Sherman since 2016, before announcing their split around December of 2018. Citing the reason, she said it was a mutual decision based on the pair’s desire to work on their individual “personal improvement.”
The two remained friends, however, and eventually decided to give their romance another try as they got back together. Their rekindled reunion didn’t last long though, with Valkyrae stating:
“[T]he things that needed to be worked on and fulfilled and whatever never got fulfilled, because we got back together and stuff.”
The pair seem to remain on amicable terms after two splits, as they take this time to focus on their careers and self growth instead. It seems like Sherman has a special spot in Valkyrae’s heart, as she notes post break-up:
“I hope he’s doing okay. Still love and care about him a lot […] If you love someone, let them go, and if it’s meant to be in the future, it’s meant to be. Otherwise, right now, I’m going to focus on myself.”
Moving out of the 100T House
Just a little after a year of moving into the 100 Thieves content house in LA, which is shared together by a couple of 100 Thieves members where they can all easily collaborate and work with each other— Valkyrae made a decision to move out.
It didn’t mean she was cutting her ties with 100 Thieves completely, though. She continued to collaborate and create content under the organization’s name.
Citing the reason for the move, she explained:
“I wanted to separate my work life from my at-home life a bit… I’m starting to focus more on health and wellness and fitness, as well.”
Not long after, she also opened up about having a “rough” time and finding it difficult to stream on some days. The transition coincided with her recent move to YouTube (citing financial security and a more creative freedom) and the recent end of a four-year romantic relationship.
It has been a series of rough adjustment for the 100 Thieves content creator, opening up in a now-private, emotional YT vlog:
“I’m not playing games right now, I just really wanted to stream and open up a bit on all of this with you. I’ve already cried gallons and gallons of tears. I’ve lost so much weight, I’m just skinny; I’ve just been so low.”
With all the commotion that was happening in her life at the same time, she took a three-day social media hiatus before revealing that it felt “weird” to just put a stop to her online presence.
“I know I’ve been absent, and I’m sorry. I’m going to work on being better… the switch from YouTube has made me feel like I’m on an island, but I want to fix that now. I want to focus on being better now, and I will focus on myself for once.”
Fortunately, many of her fans were supportive in understanding Valkyrae’s inconsistent streaming schedule at the time. She was encouraged to take her time to heal and recover from all that’s happening in her life.
It’s refreshing to see female content creators and gamers enjoy success in such a male-dominated industry. Take for instance Valkyrae, who has worked hard to get where she is right now.
Her efforts don’t stop there, though. She even collaborates and features other gamer girls such as Pokimane, ChicaLive, KittyPlays, and AlexiaRaye on her channel.
At the end of the day, we can’t help but stan a queen who encourages cross-promoting in online communities and advocates better “gamer girl” representation in the community.