Some love her, others hate her. When you have people divided in such a way, it's usually because you're doing something right. When you hold that love-hate status in the streaming community for half a decade, you are Pokimane, who is the subject of our influencer bio series this week.
You can find as many YouTube videos about how Pokimane is boring and undeserving of her Twitch fame, as you'll find about how she's awesome and has a charming personality. Before you get the masses to adore or despise you, you must make a name for yourself. So, how did Pokimane come to be?
- READ MORE: Valkyrae: From GameStop to Queen of YouTube
Pokimane: The Early Years
Pokimane was born on May 14, 1996 in Canada. Real name Imane Anys, she is of Moroccan descent. Young Imane's fate was sealed pretty early on through her older brother, who introduced her to gaming. As she grew up into her teens and streaming grew in popularity, this young Canadian girl knew where her future lies.
How Did Pokimane Go into Streaming?
The Anys family planned for their daughter to become a chemical engineer, but allowed her to stream at the same time, as long as she kept with her studies. Young Poki first started recording League of Legends footage as early as 2012 and began streaming more regularly in 2013, still aged just 17.
- READ MORE: The Life & Times of James Charles
A solid growth in popularity convinced Imane that becoming a full-time streamer is the way to go, so she went all in on that dream and dropped out of university after a year. Making that decision would turn out alright for her.
Pokimane: Immediate Success
The effort put into streaming during her late teens would pay off as soon as Pokimane went full time in 2016. By the end of 2017, she would crack the top 100 most followed people on the platform, regardless of gender. A fantastic year for Imane was capped off by a Best Twitch Streamer of the Year award at the Shorties. What this 21-year-old girl hardly knew at the time, is that this would be just the beginning.
Pokimane: The Ultimate Female Twitch Streamer
Since 2017, Pokimane has far eclipsed that top 100 standing. She is currently the sixth most followed channel on Twitch, far outdoing any other female streamer on the platform. Her title of the most popular woman on Twitch is practically undisputed since Valkyrae's secession to YouTube. The latter did break the Pokimane monopoly in early 2021 by becoming the most viewed female streamer all around, but as far as Twitch goes, Imane Anys remains the queen.
Why Do People Hate Pokimane?
Every famous person has a legion of followers and a legion of haters. It's not any different for Poki. Her content has been often criticized as being boring and lacking any original input (her reacting to other content, for example), but one: what's boring to some, may be peak entertainment for others, and two: what about all the reaction channels that gained such massive following in the last couple of years?
- READ MORE: The Life & Times of Ludwig
You could always find a reason to hate on someone, but especially in the era of the hot tub meta, Pokimane being boring or being slightly favored by Twitch isn't the end of the world.
Yes, she accidentally showed porn on stream and did not get banned. Yes, she tried to mess with a YouTuber's sponsors (which isn't ok at all, if we're being totally honest here). There was the Fedmyster drama and there was the Keemstar tweet exchange. Is that really worse than what some of these other influencers have been caught doing? Hardly. It's just a matter of big fish and many unsuccessful fishermen.