It’s hard to deny that first-person shooters and battle royale games are the flavor of the month—okay, flavor of the year—for Twitch streamers. But during her five years as a streamer, Cahlaflour has followed a different path, specializing in horror titles such as Dead by Daylight to carve a unique space for herself in the Twitch zeitgeist. And though she’s a horror aficionado, Cahla is anything but horrific in conversation. She’s thoughtful, friendly, and quick on her feet—so it’s no surprise that she’s managed to accrue a fanbase of over 67,000 loyal Twitch followers.
Cahla’s horror-game specialty is rooted in her longtime interest in the genre. “My experience was a little weird, because I started it as a hobby,” said Cahla. “And I actually got some traction, because I was playing horror games when they first came out.”
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Indeed, Cahla has been an avid gamer ever since she was a kid. She blames her father for her video game obsession. “It was how we bonded when I was growing up,” said Cahla. “He and I would get together and play Battlefield and Rainbow Six.”
When she was six or seven years old, Cahla even joined her father’s gaming clan. “Yeah, I don’t know why they wanted this little girl on their team who probably sucked,” said Cahla with a chuckle. Cahla’s parents’ familiarity with the gaming scene helped them understand when she dove into her streaming career. To this day, they occasionally participate in her stream chat using the usernames Mamaflour and Papaflour.
Cahla’s love for video games persisted throughout her childhood, but she wasn’t introduced to the concept of streaming until her senior year of college, where she was studying towards a dual degree in psychology and communications. “I used to work at GameStop, and a coworker actually showed me DansGaming on a tablet while we were working, and he was like, ‘this is what he does for a living, you’d be good at this,’” said Cahla.
Cahla followed her coworker’s suggestion and began to stream, eventually hitting an average of 100 viewers during each stream. “I completely fell in love with the community aspect of it.”
Her streaming career hit a roadblock after she graduated from college and transitioned into a human resources job at a Fortune 500 company. “My streaming schedule just got completely obliterated,” said Cahla. As Cahla found herself focusing more and more on her day job, her viewership tanked, and she was forced to put streaming on the back burner for a year.
Eventually, Cahla found a more regular eight-to-five job that allowed her to stream consistently. Unfortunately, by that point, her average viewership had plummeted to 30 viewers per stream. She bounced back quickly, applying the lessons she learned in her first go-round to quickly regain momentum. Within a year and a half, she had replenished her fanbase enough that she felt confident quitting her job and streaming full-time.
One of the most important lessons that Cahla has learned during her time on Twitch is how to balance her personal life with her persona as a streamer. “I did have those situations where I would go through being single or being in a relationship and I would literally lose or gain viewers based on solely that,” said Cahla. Nowadays, she keeps her private life close to the chest, using a nickname for her boyfriend to keep his identity anonymous. “You’ll kind of see him pop in from time to time and like, bring me food, but he’s never actually on camera,” said Cahla.
Cahla has also learned to brush off haters who question her legitimacy as a gamer due to her gender—a disappointingly common occurrence for the horror-game streamer. “I play Dead by Daylight for a living, basically—like I almost play it exclusively. I work with the devs from time to time, and I know the game through and through,” said Cahla. “But I still have people coming in who are like, ‘well, how many hours do you actually have in this game?’”
The day before our interview, one of Cahla’s viewers DMed her on Twitter to send her a screenshot of a DbD developer confirming a fact that she had already stated on stream. “They were telling me to check my info… I don’t know how, but they managed to listen to me wrong.”
These issues are frustrating, but they don’t define the streaming experience for Cahla, who loves her career and is looking to expand her streams into new territory. “I’d like to focus on bringing some new stuff in, kind of to use my standing in [the horror genre] to try to swing into another one and bring in new people.” Another expansion that Cahla is eyeing at the moment—though she acknowledges that it would be pricey—is an overhaul of her virtual reality setup. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the streams where they do mixed reality, so you can see the streamers standing in the VR game.” said Cahla. “It requires a ton of green screens and a ton of space that I don’t have right now. But it looks really, really cool seeing the streamer in the space playing the game, so I want to do that.”
No matter what the future holds, Cahla is chock-full of streaming knowledge and impeccably prepared for whatever’s next. As our conversation came to an end, I asked if she had any additional advice for people getting into streaming for the first time; her answer reflected the good-natured personality that has allowed her to gain a dedicated following in a relatively small genre.
“Other people’s success doesn’t affect yours—we should want everybody on Twitch, or everybody on whichever streaming platform, to be successful, because it raises up the entire platform,” said Cahla. “I’ve seen a ton of people get so jealous that another person is doing really well, and then it starts to affect their content because they’re not as focused anymore, they’re worried about what everybody else is doing. Try to focus on you.”
It’s a simple trick, but for Cahlaflour, it’s the secret behind her streaming success.
This article was written by Alexander Lee, an esports journalist, lifelong Nintendo fan, and proud cat dad. Follow him on Twitter @alexleewastaken, and check out more of his work on his website www.alexlee.work.