In news we can’t quite believe: Refinery29’s Twitch channel is officially 1 year old! Right from the beginning, R29 Entertainment Director and Twitch host Melissah Yang wanted to use the popular platform to share her love of gaming (duh), but also to build an inclusive community where other women and non-binary folks could do the same. Over the past year — which has encompassed more than 50 live streams and guests — we’ve gotten to spend time with people who work on video games and in esports and streamers, all of whom are taking strides to improve the industry for the better.
To celebrate our anniversary, we brought it back to the beginning on this week’s stream. The first-ever guest we had on the show, self-proclaimed makeup athlete Melissa Croft (who is known for creating jaw-dropping full-body cosplay designs with makeup and body paint on her own Twitch channel), came back on the show. She walked Yang through a playful purple face paint tutorial inspired by Dance Dance Revolution. Then, Yang was joined by some of our Tuesday Takeover streamers — including ChelseaBytes, AshSaidHi, Achauie, SherrySnax, Knimbley, and OMJess — for a party game session.
In honor of our first year on Twitch, we’re looking back on some of the amazing guests and conversations we’ve had over on our channel. Read on to discover more — and get excited about another great year ahead.
Gaming and Twitch, of course, go hand and hand, and we’ve had the opportunity to highlight so many of the inspiring, groundbreaking and fun stories — and people — shaping the industry. There are those who work behind the scenes, like Bailey McCann, a project manager and product lead for Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League, who’s making moves to close the esports gender gap; as well as XDefiant’s live operations associate director CeeCee Smith, who’s on a mission to prove that first-person shooter games are for everyone — while building a lively community around the highly anticipated title. We’ve even welcomed artists like Takki Thammawan, who helped bring fan-fave Overwatch 2 character Lifeweaver alive, and had a one-on-one Minecraft gaming session with Mojang Studios’ chief storyteller Lydia Winters.
And as esports gets more and more popular, we’ve become obsessed with keeping track of the field’s game-changers. Take, for example, RTS’ VP of Talent Management, Sue Lee, who joined us to offer insider tips about how aspiring pros can land a talent manager of their own. We’ve also chatted with people who are determined to make esports and gaming culture more inclusive, like the*GameHERs cofounder and CEO Rebecca Dixon, whose organization seeks to amplify diverse voices in the industry; Erin Ashley Simon, whose community-driven organization XSET is aiming to create more professional esports opportunities for those who are underrepresented; and creators like Katie “PikaChulita” Robinson and Danielle “Ebonix” Udogaranya, who exemplify how Black women in gaming can shine despite having to face misogynoir.
Whether you’re a life-long gamer, prefer to keep things cozy and casual, or are relatively new to (but still passionate about) playing video games, chances are you’ve thought about how to get a job in the industry — or what a gaming job even looks like. We’ve got you covered on our Twitch channel thanks to practical, real-world insight and advice from industry professionals. This includes Tiffany Wat, associate production director on Diablo IV who compared her job wedding planning; and Call of Duty general manager Johanna Faries, a former NFL executive who made a huge career pivot and ended up becoming the first woman commissioner of any esports league. Meanwhile, women like Evil Geniuses global director of brand marketing Kayci Evans, League of Legends Esports global head Naz Aletaha, and Call of Duty analyst Alyssa Parker a.k.a. Allycxt) shared how they all ended up working in esports, and what a day on the job really looks like.
A common theme throughout all these career-focused conversations? The fact that it’s okay if you don’t have extensive experience in the industry — what’s more important is that you’re passionate, ready to learn, and know how to make use of you already developed transferable skills. After all, that’s exactly how LinkedIn creator Arin Goldsmith landed her dream job at Blizzard, and how Fullflower Studio founder Anne Shoemaker turned her self-taught love for coding into a career in game development.
Fashion & Beauty
You know we can’t get enough of all things fashion and beauty at R29 — and that obviously applies to our Twitch channel too. From holding a live shopping stream full of summer trends (with the help of celeb stylist Lauren Jeworski), to looking at how fashion psychology can help make your Black Friday shopping more successful, and chatting with model/entrepreneur Lauren Chan about how she’s striving to make the fashion industry a better place, we’ve gone deep into an array of stylish conversations. Also of interest? How our passion for fashion, beauty, and gaming all come together — something we explored with Twitch body painter Melissa Croft and Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova, the cofounders of digital fashion retailer DressX who sell digital-only pieces for your online identity.
Life is all about balance, which means taking care of yourself and making sure you make time for wellness and self-care. That’s why, live on camera, Yang has tried anxiety-easing breathing exercises with Brthwrk’s Davi Brown and brainspotting (a brain-based therapy model that address trauma and mental health by using different eye positions to access different areas of your brain) with licensed marriage and family therapist Hatty Lee — and, yes, even shed a few tears. But, we’ve also delved into the importance of financial wellness too. Zillennial money expert Haley Sacks (a.k.a. @MrsDowJones) showed us that setting financial goals can actually be cool, while Carmen Perez, the personal finance expert behind the Make Real Cents blog, taught us how to make the best budget (hint: it ends with $0).
At R29, we never shy away from the big issues — and that extends to everything we do and cover, including gaming. Cristina Amaya, cofounder of nonprofit Latinx in Gaming, joined us to emphasize the importance of Latine representation and the work the organization does to help get video game-loving Latines career opportunities in the industry, while Navy veteran Rocio Palmero discussed the life-changing work the Call of Duty Endowment is doing to connect vets to high-quality jobs. And when the new Hogwarts Legacy game came out, leaving long-time Harry Potter fans wondering if it was possible to separate their love for the franchise from J.K. Rowling’s long history of transphobia, variety streamer Veronica “Nikatine” Ripley came on to discuss why the answer is an emphatic “no.” And we just don’t get real about conversations related to gaming either; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (!!!) joined us on stream to speak out against the abortion pill ban, reminding us that “We’ve all got to keep at work because this fight is nowhere near over.”