QTCinderella is just a little bit stressed. In the days leading up to the second Streamer Awards, the host and creator has found herself in a kind of great albeit taxing predicament: trying to figure out the seating chart. “I hate making people feel excluded,” QT, who declined to share her name citing privacy reasons, tells Refinery29. “It genuinely eats me up. And that has probably kept me up more than anything else is, having to say no to people.” Figuring out who to put in the balcony or if there’ll be enough room on the floor in the venue may be a predicament for QT, who had to tweet to her 500,000 Twitter followers that she wouldn’t be able to accommodate all plus ones, but also speaks to the person behind the event. “It's just little me. I don't have a big team behind me that is making these decisions,” QT says. “If I decide to paint the walls green, I decide to paint the walls green. And sometimes I feel like I'm not old enough to be doing this; but doing it anyway.”
In its second year, the Streamer Awards, which take place Saturday at the Wiltern in Los Angeles and will be streamed live on QT’s Twitch channel, doesn’t feel like a one-woman show. The streamer-first show highlights fan faves, industry vets, and newcomers across a variety of unique and wide-ranging categories, from Best League of Legends Streamers all the way to Best Music Streamer and Best Philanthropic Stream Event. Last year brought big names like hot tub streamer Amouranth, OfflineTV’s Sydeon, and 100 Thieves creator Kyedae. This year, there'll be Twitch ambassador Sweet Anita and political commentator HasanAbi. At its core, the awards, which will be co-hosted by 100 Thieves co-owner and YouTube creator Valkyrae, are about creating community, bringing talent together to celebrate each other — and themselves — and create connections in a community that can often be isolated behind computer screens, something QT has seen happen in person. “Last year, the amount of collaborations that the award show resulted in was amazing,” she says. “People that you've never seen in the same room before going into each other's houses and doing a cooking stream together. It's so much more than just one night in the same room. It literally squashed beefs."
It’s a personal project that makes the wins — and squashed beefs — all the more meaningful, and critiques all the more personal. When feedback from the inaugural awards told her there weren’t enough streamers included or that she only invited her friends, QT took it to heart. Since last year’s livestreamed event, she’s spent hundreds of hours on Twitch and YouTube finding and inviting streamers she's never met to the show. She’s also added “The Landscape of Streaming,” a video during the awards ceremony that dives into different corners of the internet as a way to highlight streamers, specifically smaller content streamers, along with diverse audience-chosen categories like Best Chess Streamer.
It's so much more than just one night in the same room. It literally squashed beefs.
QTCinderella On The Streamer Awards
The idea for the awards came to QTCinderella during another event she hosted: Shitcamp, a streaming series started in 2021 that features top streamers participating in challenges. It was popular, but limited with room for only 20 streamers. “There were so many people that wanted to come but couldn't. Because having more than 20 people in a scenario like that, how do you even give camera time to everybody?” she says. “I sat there for quite some time trying to think what can I do that could get, instead of 20 people in a room, 300 people in a room [and] give everyone an opportunity to be a part of something else.”
She thought of an Olympics-type event before having what she calls “an epiphany.” She looked at the Game Awards and the Esports Awards and realized there was a serious gap in who was being honored. “I'm sitting there looking at their categories, and I'm like, wait a second, these are the only award shows in [the streaming space], [and] none of these award shows are highlighting the individuals that are creating it. They're more focused on games and journalists so none of the streamers themselves are being highlighted individually.”
For QT, the takeaway from the awards show is pretty clear: “Maybe this sounds naive, but I just want it to be healing,” she says. “This industry can be so toxic. It's because farming drama gets views. But we all have audiences, and every time we do that, that's just spreading the message that that's how you get attention. And that's bad for everybody. So I just hope, at least with this award show, it puts a temporary pause on that. I'm not going to solve drama ... but I might be able to create some friendships.”
The idea of creating a community has always been at the center of QT’s content, since she first started streaming on Twitch five years ago. Initially gaming and streaming as a pastime outside her 9-5, the pandemic — which caused her management position to become obsolete — helped her make the jump to full time. Now she streams multiple times a week to her almost 850,000 Twitch followers, baking Super Mario 64-themed masterpieces that would rival any Cake Boss champ, cosplaying as Miss Fortune and an eerily good Taylor Swift, and playing League of Legends while chatting with her BFFs. When she’s not in front of the camera, she’s creating and hosting series for other streamers, like Shitcamp and Master Baker.
Of course, just because she’s a light on the internet doesn’t mean that fame like QT’s doesn’t come with any strings attached. For every internet troll who extolls that women on the internet talk too much about the harassment they face for being women on the internet, we have to say this: We’ll stop talking about it when something changes. And for QT, it hasn’t changed yet — in fact, if anything, the sexism online has only gotten worse, especially in the past year, she says. “It's almost resorted back to 2010, where it's [people saying]: ‘Go back in the kitchen. Women are stupid, they can't drive,” and you're like, ‘Oh my god, what is going on? How is this happening?’” QT chalks up some of this increased misogyny and sexism to the rise of personalities like Andrew Tate, and viewers and streamers latching onto that. “It’s been a rough year,” she says.
And the continued sexualization of women online doesn’t help. In late January, the gaming world was rocked after streamer Atrioc accidentally revealed during his livestream that he had paid for a subscription to a deepfake porn site that featured doctored images of several high-profile women streamers, QT included. In the aftermath, she went on stream to talk about the devastating impact these images had on her. “That was a massive blow to 30 women on the internet,” QT tells Refinery29. “It just feels like you're swimming upstream with weights tied to your feet.” She continues, “I will say this past year has been very, very defeating with what's been popularized and knowing that a vast majority of the audience is consuming this and nothing is being done to stop it.”
So, how does QT guard her mental health and continue to show up for her community when logging on feels a little like existential dread? For one, she engages only when she really needs to. “I do as much as I can to just keep my head down when I can,” she says. This is the first time in her life she’s been in therapy twice a week. “I've developed PTSD from being swatted, because of being live on the internet. I've never had lower self worth because thousands of people are able to call you names. It just adds up eventually, no matter how thick your skin is,” she says. “But when I go live, and I have a few thousand people excited, that's what keeps me going. So when I lose those people, that's when I'll just log off.”
Until then, QT is focused. She’s already thinking about next year’s Streamer Awards and what can be improved upon. Because despite how people may feel about awards shows, being recognized by your peers *does* mean something. It’s an acknowledgement of your hard work and talent. And for many of these creators, being recognized for their craft at all is still a rarity. “People will say people don't watch the Grammys, people don't watch the Oscars, and it's like, that's fine,” QT says. “Because there's still 300 people in the audience that feel a part of something. And that's what's more important to me than any of this.”