The top Twitch streamer chats with TV writer and amateur gamer Jordan Vazcones about gaming, living in Southern California, and taking the leap into the unknown.
A Conversation with Yvonne Ng and Jordan Vazcones
Before Canadian Twitch Streamer Yvonne Ng left her Calgary, Canada home four years ago for the sunny skies of Los Angeles, she’d already made a name streaming League of Legends on Twitch. A gaming legend herself, Yvonne is also the one-time house manager for the OfflineTV community.
“Yvonnie,” as she’s known, talked to another L.A.-based creative, writer Jordan Vazcones, about how her love of gaming first began, why she made the journey to California to turn gaming and social media into a profession, and why it’s so important to her to foster a supportive, positive space for herself and her fellow gamers.
Jordan Vazcones: Aright, Yvonne, let's just get into it. The theme of this issue is building, building, building, so I want to get to know you a little bit more. I've done some research, and I watched some of your YouTube videos. And I know that you're from Canada.
Yvonne Ng: Yes, I moved to L.A. in 2018.
Jordan:. How has that change been for you?
Yvonne: It's a pretty big change, actually, because not only did I move from Canada to the States; it was from Calgary to Los Angeles. Calgary's a smaller city in Canada where there's also way less people, and it’s super crazy busy … there's so much here, it's insane. It's weird. There's not a huge change culturally in terms of Canada and the States, but just the amount of things here is just so much more.
Jordan: In Calgary, were you living with your family?
Yvonne: Yeah, I was living with my mom. Actually, moving to L.A. was my first time living with other people.
Jordan: That's got to be so scary.
Yvonne: It is. A little daunting and intimidating at first, but I settled in quite quickly.
Jordan: So much respect for you, for leaving the comforts of home, and just getting straight to it in the big, crazy city. Did your mom and your family support you in your quest to become a world-renowned, world-dominating streamer?
Yvonne: A world-dominating streamer! My mom didn't really completely understand what I was doing. She just knew it was something gaming. She vaguely knew something streaming where I'm live streaming when I'm playing games, which was roughly what she knew. But she said, “Yeah, you can go and try it out for two years. If it doesn't work out, then you have to come back and find a real job.” So, yeah, she did let me go out and explore and try to make something work out of it.
Jordan: Did you start gaming first, or streaming first?
Yvonne: I started gaming first. I started playing 10 hours-plus of League of Legends, and then streaming was kind of starting. And I thought, “Well, if I'm already streaming 10 hours, I'm playing the game anyway, so I may as well stream it.”
Jordan: What was your gaming experience prior to League of Legends? What did you grow up on?
Yvonne: My parents didn't buy me any consoles, because I was an only child, and I think because … it might be possibly because I was a girl, too; they bought me a lot of dolls and stuff, but I had to beg my parents for my first PS1, and I told them it was because I would play Dance Dance Revolution on it and exercise. And that was what convinced them. It was so hard to get them to agree to that, but they actually did. And then my friends got me some games that I could play on it, so I played a tiny bit of Rampage along with DDR and some other stuff. And then Neopets, GunBound, and Maplestory.
Jordan: That is so awesome to hear. I think I'm the same age as you. I started with the Super Nintendo. And ever since then, I've just been hooked. I remember the PlayStation era fondly. It's just so funny that you convinced your parents with the promise of like, “Trust me, Mom. I'm being healthy. This is good for me.” I love that.
Yvonne: Yeah. When I played, she's like, “You're not really jumping!” I'm like, “Oh.”
Jordan: And how did you transition into PC gaming and League of Legends?
Yvonne: Computers came out. I sound so old when I say, “Wow, computers weren't a thing until later,” but, yeah, computers came out, and then I started playing games on them. It went from this super old pinball game with solitaire and other things, and then it evolved to …
Jordan: Oh, my god! I remember the pinball game! With the little spaceships ….
Yvonne: Yes, the space-themed one. And then Internet came out, so they started having games like Neopets. Neopets sort of counts as PC. So, it was Neopets, Gunbound, and Maplestory. Those are the base of PC gaming for me, I wasn't really playing other games until my friend introduced me to League.
Jordan: And what drew you to the experience? Was it playing with your friends?
Yvonne: It was playing with my friends, and also, it was way harder than other games that I played previously, and I just grew addicted to it.
Jordan: I've had relationships with games in the past where I basically dedicated all my free time to that. I remember being super into Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Call of Duty, being super heavy in the first-person gaming space. And I was drawn to playing with all these other kids all over the world. I'm a single child as well, so finding that community is very, very intoxicating, and appealing. It seems to me, from what I've seen from your content and what you just told me, that community is definitely a big part of your life. What do you do as an individual to build community?
Yvonne: I think I just try to build an environment that’s where I would like to be. I don't allow certain things that are extremely toxic or anything really misogynistic or racist or any stuff like that, because it's just not what I believe in or my morals. I have certain values, and I want to build my community around that.
I also want it to be a place where … I don't know, growing up, I was thinking about what I wanted to be in life. And one of the things that intrigued me a bit more was being a therapist, because I want to talk to and help people. A therapist, psychologist type of thing. I didn't end up going that route, because I wasn't smart enough in school, but I've always wanted to do something that could help people or that has a positive impact on people.
Jordan: Hey, just so you hear, you are smart. I mean, you figured out how to monetize hanging out and playing games, and that's smart in my opinion.
Yvonne: Thank you. That’s a good way to put it.
Jordan: You've helped define it, and I think that's pretty amazing. So, yes, communities online, how did you first meet the OfflineTV crew?
Yvonne: I had a friend that I played games with, and then she knew that Poki was looking for help. So, I started helping Poki initially, and then Poki said that there was an OfflineTV house manager position that they were looking for, and she referred me, and that's when I started working for OTV.
Jordan: You make it sound much easier than I assume it was.
Yvonne: Well, I don't know. It felt like a lot of interviewing, but not really. It was just, honestly, I had to be able to work with Poki initially, but I was streaming and then working with her at the same time. Back then I was part-time, and then later, when I moved down to L.A, that was when I really got into the midst of everything.
Jordan: What games did you all bond over?
Yvonne: A lot of us played League. That was the one common game I would say that everyone played, and then everyone played Valorant later when it came out.
Jordan: I know that you took a break from League for a while. What made you want to take a step back?
Yvonne: I think it was just that I was hanging out with friends more at that time. So that started becoming something I wanted to do more often. And League is kind of a game that you have to commit to if you want to be really good at it, I guess, or consistently good. So, I wouldn't be able to play a lot. I would just play every couple of days or every week, maybe even, so that was too sporadic for me to play at the level I want to be playing at. So, I just let it be, and I just took a break. There are also some other things that happened IRL with people who were involved with League that just made me distance from it.
Jordan: What would you say your ability is within your group, your special ability?
Yvonne: I don't even know if this is a special ability, but I've been told I'm just very, very chill, and I help take care of things, too, like a support. And just making sure everyone's feeling okay, and everyone's good.
Jordan: I love it. So, the OfflineTV crew … I know you guys have had a lot of ups and downs. What are some of your fondest memories of building community with them?
Yvonne: I would say that the OfflineTV community is really amazing and wholesome. They remember small details about you, things that you like, and make you really feel like you mean something to them. When you're in the group and you start appearing more and more, they also become more involved, most of the time, in a good way. And the support is amazing, especially when I have my vlogs or whatever, I try to put out different types of content, and they're always so supportive, and the comments are so sweet.
Jordan: As the house manager of OfflineTV, what does a normal day look like for you?
Yvonne: Things have actually evolved a bit now, since there's no longer the OfflineTV house. The things I manage have become a lot less, because we have more employees now who are doing an amazing job. So, they have taken a lot of the load off, and I can just focus more on streaming and content and stuff. We didn't plan for this, but I still feel I'm the semi-house manager/caretaker in our apartment. I live with Toast and Scarra right now, and I still am the one ordering things, trying to clean up a bit … I guess I really embody that.
Jordan: How does a day work out for you? How do you vary your content? Do you schedule different platforms on different days?
Yvonne: What is nice about streaming is oftentimes that content can be translated to other platforms. So, when I stream, I'm able to sometimes make a YouTube video, or TikTok, or have something maybe to post on Twitter. So, I don't really have a content plan. The only thing in terms of scheduling is if I ever have meetings for sponsors or if I have game plans with people, then I would have actual scheduling or sponsor streams, but otherwise it's usually I wake up, I see how I'm feeling, go on the computer, answer Discord messages, emails, and then get started with my day.
Jordan: How many days do you think you take off a week? Or are you working seven days a week?
Yvonne: It really depends on how addicted I am to a game, and where my mental energy is at. Because I definitely have had times where I was streaming 140 hours or 160 hours maybe in a month, because I was playing so much. But then I also have months where I stream maybe 70 hours. So, it's really inconsistent. But I would say I stream roughly four to five days a week.
Jordan: So, what is next? What is next for Yvonne Ng? What do you hope to build with your current platform?
Yvonne: I don’t know what I want to do one day. Hopefully something that can generate income for when we stop streaming. I don’t know what that is … could be a coffee shop, could be a random thing, I don’t know. But closer to the future, I would like to have merch. And I would like to put more effort towards YouTube, because I just really love YouTube a lot, so I want to put more specific content there.
Jordan: What kind of products are you looking into? Is it too early to tell, or is there some nugget you can give us?
Yvonne: It’s something very … I guess if you just know what I like wearing a lot, it’s something that I wear pretty often. So that’s something, maybe that is a hint.
Yvonne “Yvonnie” Ng is a League of Legends streamer.
Jordan Vazcones is a Los Angeles-based digital creator and scribe currently working as a writer’s assistant on the upcoming That ‘70s Show sequel That ‘90s Show for Netflix.