Imane “Pokimane” Anys is one of the most recognizable faces on Twitch. The content creator got her start streaming on the platform in 2013, playing games like League of Legends. Over the past decade, she’s gone on to co-found OfflineTV, a premier content creation group, and has amassed a following of roughly 9.3 million on Twitch. The creator also appeared in the movie Free Guy and streamed Among Us alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in one of the most-viewed streams of all time. But recently, she’s has expanded her presence on platforms outside of Twitch — and I’ve never seen more of her.
Pokimane is at a crossroads in her career, as she branches out into completely new territory. In September, she said that she would be streaming on Twitch less. In a video, Pokimane talked about the “rat race” of Twitch, and said that chasing every trend wasn’t fulfilling anymore. Moving forward, she wanted to make more lifestyle content, and to expand the platforms she publishes on. Since then, she has been more active on TikTok and Instagram. In light of these changes, Polygon checked in with the creator about what it’s been like since making this career shift.
Pokimane’s current contract with Twitch hasn’t stopped her from building a presence on other platforms. Historically, she published other videos on her YouTube channel, like moving videos and travelogs. However, her presence online has historically been through Twitch streaming. Even when the creator went viral on TikTok, it would be because a particularly endearing or funny moment from her stream was clipped and then redistributed via a vast ecosystem of fan and news accounts.
But now, Pokimane has begun to post more content specifically for TikTok, and the focus of that content has shifted. Instead of streaming gameplay videos, Pokimane shares more of her day-to-day life. This could mean watching her try a side part in her hair for the first time, lip-syncing to Ice Spice and PinkPantheress’ new bop, or showing off her outfit for The Streamer Awards while participating in a TikTok trend. Since her first post in June 2019, she’s gone on to garner over 6.7 million TikTok followers.
Pokimane told Polygon that she approaches making content for TikTok based on her own preferences. “I tend to take a consumer-first approach, in the sense that I consume the type of content that I enjoy on a platform,” she said. “I see what types of formats tend to perform well, and then reverse engineer it to my liking/what I want to create.”
As she expands to other platforms, her audience has also shifted. TikTok has become a defining platform for young users. According to a 2021 survey from the Pew Research Center, 48% of U.S. Americans aged 18 to 29 report using the app. Another study from Pew published in 2022 showed that 67% of teenage Americans use TikTok, with 16% saying they use it “almost constantly.” Compare this to Twitch, which, according to Pew, was reported to be used by 20% of teens. According to the study, the platforms have key demographic differences, and teen boys are “more likely” to use platforms like Twitch and YouTube, whereas girls are more likely to use TikTok.
This is echoed in Pokimane’s work. Her publicist told Polygon that her audience skews toward women on TikTok when compared with her audience on Twitch. Given this, Polygon asked Pokimane if her focus on making content for TikTok was intentional — given that the creator has mentioned how much she likes making content for girls — or if the female audience simply came as a side effect of ramping up her presence on the newer platform. She told us that it was both and that she has “a diverse audience”: “It seems my audience varies more and more as I explore different interests and evolve as a creator and person.”
Moving into the lifestyle space on TikTok, in addition to games, also offers its own set of career opportunities. Pokimane told Polygon that she’s grown her team to include experts in fashion, lifestyle, and other spaces she wants to be a part of. In February, she did a paid partnership with the Italian luxury brand Moncler and documented her travel to London Fashion week. TikTok is the most valuable platform for direct-to-consumer brands, according to a study from Triple Whale, and features like its Talent Manager Portal and the TikTok Creator Marketplace allow brands to search for creators who might fit their target audience.
As her interests and opportunities change, so do the challenges. She said that it’s been fun to try something new, but that short-form content is “an entirely different beast” with its own trends and techniques. For her, each kind of content brings its own set of ups and downs.
“Streaming often takes more time and effort but helps build a very deep connection with your audience. Alternatively, short form content can take more planning but less time filming and can reach more people, but it is more difficult to establish that deep connection with your audience since they won’t be spending as much time interacting with you,” Pokimane said.
It’s not the biggest change in the world, but is notable at a time where more and more popular streamers have been leaving the platform for YouTube deals. Still, now, it seems like Pokimane has struck more of a balance, as she continues to stream with a lower number of hours and shares more lifestyle content on TikTok.
“I think it’s only natural for creators who have done something for numerous years to want to try something new at some point,” she said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a trend as opposed to a natural career progression. It’s like how some Youtubers or Tiktokers become streamers after years of being on their initial platform.”