How Xmiramira Disrupted 'The Sims' to Help Bring Diversity to Streaming

From modder to streamer to game changer

Amira Virgil is driven. That is her brand. Known predominately by her online moniker, Xmiramira, Virgil finds something, fixates on it, and solves it. Rinse and repeat.

A stream-capture of Amira Virgil.

Amira Virgil

The streamer has become a tour de force in the Simmer community, fans of the popular life simulator The Sims, and she has made no qualms about bending the gaming world to her inclusive vision. 

"I didn’t even know about the gaming space online. I discovered everybody when I started [streaming] and started Googling. I was wondering where are the Black creators? Where are the Black women," she said in a phone interview with Lifewire.

"When I really become interested in something, I tend to fixate on it, and I tend to try to become the best I can at it."

Her success has been prolific, to say the least. In a few short years, she has accomplished Twitch Partner status, a position as one of a few dozen Twtich Ambassadors, a spot on a reality TV series, and status as one of gaming-giant EA’s go-to Sims experts—and if you don’t know her name by now, you will soon enough.  

Quick Facts

  • Name: Amira Virgil 
  • Age: 27 years old
  • From: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Random delight: Changing faces! While known for her gaming content, Amira is hoping to delve into the world of beauty with GRWM-style makeup streams, complete with interview subjects, drinking, and revelry.   
  • Key quote or motto to live by: "Be the change you want to see."

Build Mode

As a child, she recalls an early love for video games. She got introduced to the hobby at the age of 4, and it wasn’t long before she found herself immersed within the fantasm of virtual reality. Her preferred stomping ground? The digital dollhouse appropriately titled The Sims

The franchise, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last February, became a quick favorite for the Twitch streamer. It combined her favorite gaming components: time management, tycoon-style gameplay, and customization. 

Little did the young girl from Brooklyn know, that fixation would become more than a hobby, and the developers behind her favorite series would be calling her soon enough. Around 2015 she decided to try her hand at content creation. 

"It’s important in these processes that these companies do right by the marginalized communities that they try to include by actually including them,"

After some initial failure on the streaming front, she found success on YouTube with a series of Let’s Play videos. Her humorous style and critiques of the game’s lack of diverse content brought a new, dedicated audience with similar concerns. This success would eventually lead her back down the road of streaming.

"I went to YouTube and put out videos consistently for a year. Then, I started streaming over there. I started off with 60 people," the streamer told Lifewire. "Then one day it turned into 200. Then 700 and some days it would go up to 1,300 [concurrent viewers]." 

At this point, she quit her part-time job at Walmart to become a full-time content creator. She had bigger dreams, but wasn't sure if she'd made the right decision. Now, she knows.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Virgil’s cache reached a fever pitch when an interview she did with AJ+ about the lack of diversity on The Sims 4 went viral on Twitter. It reached developers at EA. Before she knew it, she was swept away to Los Angeles to participate in EA Game Changers, a program that connects developers to content creators for playtesting and feedback.

"When I started making Let’s Play content on YouTube, I noticed, even after all this time, the game was lacking in cultural foods, better makeup, hairstyles, music. I was just like, 'I’m going to open the discussion and simultaneously try to encourage EA to step their game up and figure out what they should do on their end.'"

It worked. Being a disruptor in the community and shining a good-faith spotlight on the failures of the developers resulted in an update to the game’s skin tones, makeup options, and a slew of other, more-inclusive changes in a massive December 2020 patch. And Virgil was the de facto captain of the ship.

In 2019, the gaming giant tapped her and 11 other prominent Simmers to star in the first season of the company’s new TBS reality competition show, The Sims Spark’d. The 12 contestants competed to win a grand prize of $100,000. Her team, Team Llama, won the four-episode competition series, cementing Virgil as a permanent fixture in the Simmer community. 

The Community Builder

She used the clout she garnered from her popular streaming and Let’s Play content to create community. Her streams provide a place of joy and laughter for people to get away from their troubles.

Amira Virgil in the "The Sims Spark'd", flanked by two others.

TBS/EA

She created a community space known as The Black Simmer, which has become her brand and a calling card for underserved gamers in the community. The community boasts over 165,000 members, in addition to 20,000 in a related Facebook group

"It’s important in these processes that these companies do right by the marginalized communities that they try to include by actually including them," she said. "They put so much focus on diversity, but a lot of them are not doing the work." 

Virgil is here to make sure these platforms and companies do the work. Not only by providing appropriate content, but also supporting underserved voices. Her newest venture is Noir, a group for Black women in gaming to come together, support one another, and commiserate about the business side of content creation.

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