Surrounded by a large, colourful cascade of plushies — largely Nintendo-themed — and a formidable retro sport assortment, Ash goes reside on Twitch 5 days per week. She’s performed all the things 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 mates Ash mentioned hello!”
When Ash, who goes by AshSaidHi on-line, first envisioned her Twitch channel, she began with the title. “I knew I needed to have a tagline or a name to motion,” she informed Polygon. “That’s the place the title AshSaidHi comes from, as a result of I wished it to be like, Oh, that buddy, they informed me to inform you hello. It sticks in your mind a bit bit.”
Through the years since Ash began her Twitch channel in 2019, she’s labored to construct a group and a enterprise that matches her values — a spot the place she may have a work-life stability that her earlier profession didn’t permit for, and a group of assist Twitch can present.
“Individuals go to Twitch to attach in regards to the issues they love and discover different individuals which can be into the issues they love,” Ash mentioned. “That’s how I constructed an interesting group.”
Forward of TwitchCon 2023 in Las Vegas, Polygon spoke to Ash about how she’s carved out her personal house on Twitch.
[Ed. note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
Polygon: First, I simply wish to let you already know I really like the gathering within the background.
AshSaidHi: Thanks! That’s years and years of labor. My mother and father acquired 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 a giant 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 start out streaming?
I used to be working in an business the place I didn’t have a work-life stability. And after I left it, I used to be like, Oh, I wish to get into content material creation. And I acquired into a distinct business. It allowed me time to create content material. So I used to be like, I believe 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 title AshSaidHi comes from, as a result of I wished it to be like, Oh, that buddy, they informed me to inform you hello. It sticks in your mind a bit bit. And so it’s like, “Oh, don’t overlook to inform your mates Ash mentioned hello.” That’s how I all the time wished to finish my movies.
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 moving into retro video games? And that’s the way it it actually snowballed. I acquired right into a retro video games, and the group was great. They taught me the ropes, I met quite a lot of buddies — buddies that I nonetheless should at the present time. It modified my life for the higher in so many various methods.
I actually, actually love being a creator on Twitch. The magic is within the sense of group that you just get if 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 per week. However I believe it implies that I put all my give attention to it. I do quite a lot of sponsorship work and quite a lot 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 acquired 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 an interesting group, 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 individual with a test and I clicked it. I utilized and talked about all the abilities that I had discovered. And I talked about why I used to be passionate for what I do. They referred to as me again a number of months later and had been like, “We wish to invite you into this system.”
I used to be introduced March 2021, and on the time, in addition they had a billboard in Instances Sq.. I’m initially from New York, however I not reside 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 actually necessary for me. I flew up from the place I reside 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 critically.
If you happen to would have informed me 2 years in the past on at the present time after I had my VERY FIRST broadcast that simply 24 months later I might be on a @Twitch billboard in Instances Sq., one of the crucial iconic locations on the planet & my house, I might have informed you “NO WAY” but right here we’re. Ceaselessly grateful pic.twitter.com/BSq5fiaa0X
— AshSaidHi (@ashsaidhi) March 9, 2021
One of many issues that I try 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 attempting to construct good bonds with builders or advertising and marketing individuals. I make it possible for I do my due diligence, to be on time and to be aware within the second and be skilled. At any time when I’m referred to as upon for a job, I put quite a lot of pleasure into what I’m doing. I knew issues had been getting critical 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 calm down, like I can have that work-life stability and never should request this day off or issues like that. And my mother is actually happy with me. Once I discuss it to my members of the family, they’re all the time so comfortable for the issues that I’m doing.
It’s cool to listen to you discuss that work-life stability, as a result of I believe typically if 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.
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 reside 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 start out writing a bit bit, or I’m going to start out making brief video that I can publish on social media so individuals can get a way of who I’m. Even after I’m not broadcasting, individuals can discover AshSaidHi. Once I’m not reside, these issues helped me bridge the gaps.
What have you ever discovered because you began streaming about carving out that participating group 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 acquired me into video video games. I really feel like I’m sharing the very best components of myself — what I grew up with.
I discuss meals on a regular basis on my channel. If you happen to 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 believe that’s key — with the ability to share the issues about you’d that you can join with individuals.
I believe 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 can be into the issues they love. That’s how I constructed an interesting group.
What ought to individuals learn about your profession as a streamer, or about Twitch itself?
I might like to share the facility of group on Twitch. There may be the Twitch Girls’s Guild, which is unbelievable, as a result of not solely does it join ladies and empower ladies to be who they’re on Twitch, but it surely’s a spot the place we cheer one another on. It’s a protected house for us to sort of discuss in regards to the issues that impression us in our day by day lives as broadcasters.
I did a Creator Camp with a number of the ladies which can be in that group and it was unbelievable. And I additionally did a present referred to as Streamer Methods. I attempt to do a present as soon as a month the place we discuss totally different methods that you just is likely to be fascinated about for streaming. The primary one I did was artistic monetization. However the subsequent one I did was collaboration. I really feel like quite a lot of actually great alternatives come from with the ability to join with different individuals like that. And it’s such an important program. It’s among the best issues that Twitch created as a result of it provides us an area to be taught. And it provides us an area to discuss our experiences. Additionally they give quite a lot of instruments to us to assist us prolong our expertise.
Particularly for girls, Black individuals, individuals of colour, issues like that solidify the truth that we belong on this house. And I believe that it’s so necessary 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 wish to make it possible for individuals understand how superior these sorts of instruments and sources 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 acquired 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 house for us.