Surrounded by a large, colourful cascade of plushies — largely Nintendo-themed — and a formidable retro recreation assortment, Ash goes dwell on Twitch 5 days every week. She’s performed every thing from Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion to Sierra Leisure’s Quest for Glory, specializing in video games that evoke a way of nostalgia. The one factor that stays the identical every stream is the way in which Ash ends them, with a message to her viewers: “Don’t overlook to inform your pals Ash mentioned hello!”
When Ash, who goes by AshSaidHi on-line, first envisioned her Twitch channel, she began with the identify. “I knew I needed to have a tagline or a name to motion,” she informed Polygon. “That’s the place the identify AshSaidHi comes from, as a result of I wished it to be like, Oh, that pal, they informed me to let you know hello. It sticks in your mind a bit bit.”
Over time since Ash began her Twitch channel in 2019, she’s labored to construct a neighborhood and a enterprise that matches her values — a spot the place she may have a work-life stability that her earlier profession didn’t enable for, and a neighborhood of assist Twitch can present.
“Individuals go to Twitch to attach in regards to the issues they love and discover different individuals which are into the issues they love,” Ash mentioned. “That’s how I constructed a fascinating neighborhood.”
Forward of TwitchCon 2023 in Las Vegas, Polygon spoke to Ash about how she’s carved out her personal area on Twitch.
[Ed. note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
Polygon: First, I simply need to let you already know I really like the gathering within the background.
AshSaidHi: Thanks! That’s years and years of labor. My dad and mom bought me into video gaming after I was actually younger. Even my mother, she nonetheless performs video video games. I texted her the opposite day and was like, “Did you obtain Lies of P?” and she or he was like, “Yeah, however I actually like Lords of the Fallen.” And I used to be like, “What?”
She’s an enormous Soulsborne, like Elden Ring, participant. She simply purchased a PS5 and was like, “When are you getting a PS5?” I used to be like, “Mother, I play retro video games on Twitch. OK?”
I do know you began your Twitch channel in 2019. What prompted you to begin streaming?
I used to be working in an trade the place I didn’t have a work-life stability. And after I left it, I used to be like, Oh, I need to get into content material creation. And I bought into a distinct trade. It allowed me time to create content material. So I used to be like, I feel I’m gonna begin on Twitch. I’ve a level in promoting. The very first thing I wished to do was create an idea for my channel. And I knew I needed to have like a tagline or a name to motion. In order that’s the place the identify AshSaidHi comes from, as a result of I wished it to be like, Oh, that pal, they informed me to let you know hello. It sticks in your mind a bit bit. And so it’s like, “Oh, don’t overlook to inform your pals Ash mentioned hello.” That’s how I all the time wished to finish my movies.
“The magic is within the sense of neighborhood that you just get whenever you meet individuals they usually share the love of the identical issues”
I began on Tetris 99 and Breath of the Wild. These had been the primary video games I broadcast on Twitch. However I’ve this large backlog of video video games. Why don’t I begin stepping into retro video games? And that’s the way it it actually snowballed. I bought right into a retro video games, and the neighborhood was fantastic. They taught me the ropes, I met lots of pals — pals that I nonetheless need to today. It modified my life for the higher in so many alternative methods.
I actually, actually love being a creator on Twitch. The magic is within the sense of neighborhood that you just get whenever you meet individuals they usually share the love of the identical issues. I met like individuals who had been into Amiga 500 gaming, and Commodore and NES and Tremendous Nintendo and all that sort of stuff. I knew I discovered my individuals.
Do you stream full time?
It’s what I primarily spend my time doing. It’s all the time a humorous query as a result of when individuals say “stream full time on Twitch,” they think about it means eight hours a day, 5 days every week. However I feel it signifies that I put all my concentrate on it. I do lots of sponsorship work and lots of offline work for my channel. So technically, sure.
How lengthy did it take to get to the purpose the place you can spend that point on Twitch and the enterprise behind it?
I began in 2019 after which I bought Twitch Associate in November 2020. And I used to be like, OK, wait a minute, individuals actually like what I’m doing right here. I’ve a fascinating neighborhood, I attempt to by no means miss a message in chat — I actually have chat up on like three or 4 screens.
As soon as I hit Associate, I discovered in regards to the Twitch Ambassador program, as a result of I noticed any person with a examine and I clicked it. I utilized and talked about all the talents that I had discovered. And I talked about why I used to be passionate for what I do. They known as me again a couple of months later and had been like, “We need to invite you into this system.”
I used to be introduced March 2021, and on the time, additionally they had a billboard in Instances Sq.. I’m initially from New York, however I not dwell there. They put my image up on that billboard. And at that time, it sort of gave me a sort of sense that there’s credibility to what I’m doing, which is basically essential for me. I flew up from the place I dwell again as much as New York, and I informed my mother and she or he was freaking out. It was such a surreal second. For me, in my hometown — the crossroads of the world — here’s a image of me. Then it snowballed from there. I knew I wished to take it significantly.
For those who would have informed me 2 years in the past on today after I had my VERY FIRST broadcast that simply 24 months later I’d be on a @Twitch billboard in Instances Sq., some of the iconic locations on this planet & my dwelling, I’d have informed you “NO WAY” but right here we’re. Eternally grateful pic.twitter.com/BSq5fiaa0X
— AshSaidHi (@ashsaidhi) March 9, 2021
One of many issues that I do this helps me maintain my enterprise is sponsored broadcast. Due to my skilled background, and the way in which that I talk — I work on making an attempt to construct good bonds with builders or advertising individuals. I be sure that I do my due diligence, to be on time and to be aware within the second and be skilled. Each time I’m known as upon for a job, I put lots of satisfaction into what I’m doing. I knew issues had been getting severe when individuals began paying me to play video video games.
I really like that it permits me freedom to have the ability to journey to issues like TwitchCon. And it permits me to go spend time with my mother, or to only take time to loosen up, like I can have that work-life stability and never need to request this day without work or issues like that. And my mother is basically pleased with me. After I discuss it to my members of the family, they’re all the time so completely happy for the issues that I’m doing.
It’s cool to listen to you discuss that work-life stability, as a result of I feel typically whenever you hear about individuals doing Twitch, it may be grinding out streams for 12 hours straight. It’s good that you just’re capable of have a stability.
“I can’t do my greatest work if I’m not taking good care of myself”
That’s key, proper? I can’t do my greatest work if I’m not taking good care of myself. I perceive why that’s the mindset of regularly streaming, such as you’re not discoverable in the event you’re not dwell typically. That’s the conundrum. However I do really feel like in the event you put your effort and time into issues like, I’m going to begin writing a bit bit, or I’m going to begin making quick video that I can submit on social media so individuals can get a way of who I’m. Even after I’m not broadcasting, individuals can discover AshSaidHi. After I’m not dwell, these issues helped me bridge the gaps.
What have you ever discovered because you began streaming about carving out that partaking neighborhood you talked about earlier?
I discovered to be authentically myself — be current within the second. I all the time inform individuals this after they meet me in particular person, that you just’re assembly the Ash that you just see on digital camera. I’m all the time speaking about my mother and my dad and the way they bought me into video video games. I really feel like I’m sharing the perfect elements of myself — what I grew up with.
“I all the time inform individuals this after they meet me in particular person, that you just’re assembly the Ash that you just see on digital camera”
I discuss meals on a regular basis on my channel. For those who meet me, I do know all of the locations in New York the place you can get some good meals, you already know what I’m saying? Like, that is sort of a large a part of who I’m. I really like Star Trek, I really like Nintendo, I really like drawing, I really like all of these issues. And I really like sharing these issues with individuals. Being excited in regards to the issues that we love… I feel that’s key — having the ability to share the issues about you’d that you can join with individuals.
I feel that that’s additionally the magic of Twitch — connecting with individuals. It’s a individuals platform first to me. We go on there, we play video video games — whether or not it’s taking part in video video games or cooking, exercising, ASMR, chatting or no matter it’s on Twitch. Individuals go there to attach with individuals. Individuals go to Twitch to attach in regards to the issues they love and discover different individuals which are into the issues they love. That’s how I constructed a fascinating neighborhood.
What ought to individuals find out about your profession as a streamer, or about Twitch itself?
I’d like to share the facility of neighborhood on Twitch. There’s the Twitch Ladies’s Guild, which is unimaginable, as a result of not solely does it join girls and empower girls to be who they’re on Twitch, however it’s a spot the place we cheer one another on. It’s a secure area for us to sort of discuss in regards to the issues that impression us in our every day lives as broadcasters.
I did a Creator Camp with among the girls which are in that group and it was unimaginable. And I additionally did a present known as Streamer Methods. I attempt to do a present as soon as a month the place we discuss completely different methods that you just is likely to be fascinated about for streaming. The primary one I did was inventive monetization. However the subsequent one I did was collaboration. I really feel like lots of actually fantastic alternatives come from having the ability to join with different individuals like that. And it’s such a terrific program. It’s top-of-the-line issues that Twitch created as a result of it provides us an area to study. And it provides us an area to talk about our experiences. Additionally they give lots of instruments to us to assist us lengthen our abilities.
“I feel that it’s so essential to encourage individuals who really feel like they don’t know in the event that they belong”
Particularly for ladies, Black individuals, individuals of shade, issues like that solidify the truth that we belong on this area. And I feel that it’s so essential to encourage individuals who really feel like they don’t know in the event that they belong, proper? As a result of we see a lot of that. I’m actually grateful for all of these alternatives that I’ve been given. I simply need to be sure that individuals know the way superior these sorts of instruments and assets are, as a result of with out issues like that, you query whether or not or not you are able to do it.
What number of occasions have you ever labored on one thing and persons are like, “Oh, can you actually do it?” They’re questioning your intelligence, or they’re saying, “You simply bought by on, like, sure qualities.” However no — there’s so many hardworking people that get an area due to issues like that. I simply love that area for us.