Tricia Wang officially goes by TriciaIsABirdy on Twitch, but she might be better known there as the “What the F is Twitch” Girl, after her appearance on Next Level Chef, which had Gordon Ramsay wondering what Twitch actually is, went viral in January. “If I had a nickel for every time someone has said that exact line to me,” Wang tells Refinery29 at TwitchCon. “People will ask me at a party sometimes, ‘Can you say your line?’ I'm just like, ‘Yes, I'll do it again.’”
Twitch is “a livestream platform, Chef,” as Wang says on the cooking competition, and while it’s primarily been the hub for viewers to watch their favorite creators game, or where they tune in for the grand finals of the most popular esports, Wang is part of the next generation of Twitch stars who have found huge success in streaming non-gaming content. She and others are proof that Twitch ain’t just for gamers.
Held this past weekend in San Diego, TwitchCon 2022 is Wang’s first, but her face is everywhere. On billboards hanging above the San Diego Convention Center’s halls, in the AT&T commercial playing in the lobby, and at her meet-and-greet which had fans line up for a pic with the creator. Wang says it’s overwhelming — and humbling. “I’m very honored that people even recognize me for anything, and I think that is a part of TwitchCon that is blowing my mind.”
Wang, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who took her dishes to Twitch during the pandemic, says she’s excited to see where content will go as Twitch continues to invest in expanding its IRL stream offerings. “Twitch is actually supporting creators thinking outside of the box and being more creative and coming up with content that people haven't done before or haven't done a lot of,” Wang says. That includes herself. Wang is preparing for her own food travel series called Tricia Travels, launching the first week of November, on Twitch. The destinations are all personal: Alaska, where she was born; Texas, where she grew up; and Japan, where she trained to become a chef. And along for the ride will be creators like AriaSaki and OfflineTV’s Scarra.
Twitch(Con) Is More Than Just Gaming
This year’s TwitchCon, which returned to in-person for the first time since the pandemic, felt like a culmination of the platform’s continued expansion beyond gaming content. There were the usual gaming brands at Twitch’s annual marquee event, but the sold-out weekend also included non-gaming programming like a live show of G4’s Name Your Price and a battle royale version of Foodbeast’s live cooking competition Kitchen League, in which Wang competed against other streamers like Quackity and Neeko.
Non-gaming companies, specifically beauty brands, are also getting into the arena. At the Expo Hall, a brilliant white NYX Professional Makeup booth had attendees of all genders lining up to have makeup artists “level up” their looks with Euphoria-esque liners and gems. Alongside Logitech For Creators’ latest products, like the Litra Beam light, was the Glow-Up Studio, created in partnership with Benefit Cosmetics, so attendees could have their professional headshots taken.
For Lisa Li, Benefit’s director of marketing and communication, it only makes sense for the cosmetic brand to be at TwitchCon. “We think laughter is the best cosmetic,” she says. “We want to give females a platform, a voice — and literally just play games, play with makeup, and have some fun.”
Twitch insists gaming will always be in the forefront of its content, but it’s clear the popularity of IRL streaming is paving the way for non-gaming creators and brands to get into the game. Just Chatting, the platform’s catchall category for any content that’s non-gaming, was the most streamed category on Twitch in 2021, far outpacing any game title, according to StreamCharts. And with features like Guest Star, which will allow creators to bring any Twitch user onto their stream, coming to every streamer in the next month, the possibilities of what Twitch content looks like and how it entertains are endless.
“I hope more people will bring other content other than gaming to the platform. That way, people realize you can livestream anything,” Wang says.