The success of the AyChristene brand started in 2015 with a business plan Christene and her now-husband expertly executed. With over 1 million subscribers across her two channels, they've achieved a level of success that has allowed them to live out some of their most hard-fought dreams.AyChristene
"When we found gaming content on YouTube, we realized that there is growth and opportunity here," she told Ach5 in a phone interview. "My husband always said it was funny for him to watch me play video games, so maybe I should go into the business of content creation. He was saying what if we grow to a place where I can do these other things I wanted to do."
Both her channels, AyChristene and AyChristene Games, have become staples in the gamer diet as evolving channels that she has torpedoed into a streaming career with a thriving community of supportive fans and wandering misfits. Christene, who asked Ach5 to only refer to her by her screen name to protect her identity, sees her resilient streaming career as something she hopes others can look at and imitate.
Quick FactsName: ChristeneAge: 32From: Christene was born in the Bronx, New York, but her family moved around a lot, eventually settling around the Miami area in South Florida. Florida is where she spent her most formative years. Random delight: It's a family affair! She was brought into the world of gaming by her parents. Now, both Christene's brother and husband are instrumental to the success of her channels, working behind the scenes as a video editor and all-around producer, respectively. Key quote or motto to live by: "Be true to yourself."
A natural Jill-of-all-trades, Christene grew up as a creative with an interest in all things entertainment. Most notably, acting and singing: two passions she pursued through agencies like John Robert Powers and the John Casablancas Center in Tampa, Florida. Her online presence was born from this desire to break into the ever-elusive world of entertainment.
Around the early 2010s, she would produce infrequent song covers and vlog-style chats hoping to harness the democratizing powers of social media and put herself out there to would-be talent scouts. It didn't work. Still, Christene remained as committed to her dreams as ever. That channel has since been deleted, but it planted the seeds for what would later become the AyChristene brand.
"The mixture of having [a] community interacting with what we were doing, and how the editing and jokes made them want to come back, kept us going alongside the mindset that in some years we'd be able to open doors that we were not, at the time, able to open or have access to," she said.
"When we found gaming content on YouTube, we realized that there is growth and opportunity here."
Christene would upload highly edited gameplay content in the beginning. When YouTube eventually unveiled its streaming vertical, her husband suggested they jump on the bandwagon, recognizing streaming would be the best way to continue the vision of the channel they created together.
"We want to continue the growth. I had a lot of anxiety when we first started streaming because you can't edit it," she said about the switch in content.
With a few growing pains, she has become a natural. Her committed community tunes in every day to see her tackle everything from AAA titles and indie psychological horror simulators to trendy party games. Between both channels, she has garnered over 300 million views since 2015.
Christene has gone through several reinventions via her streaming content, while uniquely capturing different demographics. Starting with Call of Duty and Sniper Elite, she shifted into a kid-friendly era with a deep dive into the creative world of Roblox, a popular free-to-play game among young kids. But due to the toxicity of the community, she changed once again.
"I shifted gears in my content. In doing that, I was playing older games. [My] audience is a lot older, and plus some have grown over the past four years with me…I feel like we're in the Goldilocks zone now," she said.
Christene is among one of the most popular Black female gaming channels on YouTube. She noted there are no Black female gamers on the site who have over a million subscribers, so she's committed to fighting for representation in the industry with her platform.
"I try to, if I can, put more Black females out there," she said. "It's still funny to me now when people are like ‘I didn't know there were Black female gamers.' Did you look? Were you searching for it, because we're here."
Since the events of last year, there is a noted thirst for Black content from both consumers and companies. Christene is channeling that thirst into actionable change in the industry by leveraging her influence for what she calls "group growth."
"We want to continue the growth. I had a lot of anxiety when we first started streaming because you can't edit it."
"I have my daughter, and I want her to grow up and not feel ignored. It's not about getting praised or [receiving] trophies; it's just acknowledgment for the work you do and the person you are," she said. "I want to make sure that when she grows up this is less of a problem."
Mounted atop her gaming chair complete with her signature yellow buddy beanie, Christene is leaving her mark and showing more than just her daughter that the future is female.