ShelbyRenae: Building a Streaming Empire With Authenticity

Stream queen with spunk and a heart

Queen of the "girls and gays," ShelbyRenae is a tour de force in shaping a community of nontraditional gamers with her own personal brand of TikTok finesse and witty rapport.  

Twitch streamer ShelbyRenae


"Anyone can be a creator; we aren't special," she said in an email interview with Lifewire. "I had always aspired to be a YouTuber, but I think like many people I just saw it as something that was unrealistic…"

"[H]owever with the idea of streaming, I was like, I can basically just sit there and play a game, and if one person comes and says hello, we can be friends... Within just a few streams I had a handful of people and ended up falling in love with it."

While she fell in love with streaming, audiences fell in love with her. She’s cultivated a huge, dedicated following across social media platforms. She has amassed 1.2 million followers on her TikTok alone, and over 550,000 subscribers between her Twitch and YouTube presence. 

Quick Facts

  • Name: ShelbyRenae
  • Age: 24 years old
  • From: Born in California but primarily raised in Idaho after her family decided to move out of the Golden State to settle in a more modest Midwest community. 
  • Random delight: Party central! ShelbyRenae loves a good party-style video game. Growing up, some of her favorites included Mario Kart and Rock Band. She started PC gaming with the juggernaut MMORPG, World of Warcraft.  
  • Key quote or motto to live by: "You can never win or lose if you won’t run the race."

Gaming for Life

Influencers and budding social media personalities were an integral part of Renae’s young life growing up in the quiet suburbia of Idaho’s natural haven of the unspoiled, rugged landscape. Originally a Californian, it was here in the sunny hills where her love for gaming was born.

Gaming became a fascination pretty early on for both Renae and her sister. Her parents consented, buying the duo a pair of matching Game Boy Colors for Christmas when she was only 5 years old. 

"We also had a family computer my dad used for work, and we had some old CD games my sister and I would fight over playing," she recalled. 

Her father was a computer tech with his own repair business, so technology was an integral part of their life growing up.

Her mother, a banker, would set up an entire room dedicated to their "gaming addiction" during Renae’s early adolescence, where she and her sister could get lost in the fantastical worlds of their favorite games. 

Only a few years later, she was saving up to buy her old games, consoles, and computers, eventually picking up streaming as nothing more than a hobby. Little did she know, she would become one of those content creators she grew up adoring, like now-defunct comedy gamer and self-proclaimed troll MsHeartAttack

"I remember thoroughly enjoying her content, and it's kind of similar to the content I make today," she said, detailing her connection to gaming content creators. "She definitely inspired me. It was my first time seeing a woman being in the space of owning voice chats, and successfully so."

Creating Comfort 

Her streaming career officially started on Oct. 17, 2014, after she worked up the nerves to press the "Go Live!" button and start her first Twitch stream. It was a slow start, but she earned the coveted Twitch Partner status in less than a year. 

Streaming was not always easy for the Fortnite firebrand. Finding her footing was difficult. Renae recalls an initial unsteady streaming schedule between intermittent breaks and a fair-weather audience with high highs and low lows.

"I have taken quite a few breaks and even switched between streaming platforms before including paid deals or just exploring my options, but I always end up back on Twitch," she said. At the lowest, a year-long break would result in her returning to the figurative graveyard. "Everyone [in my audience] was pretty much gone."

Her saving grace was not a well-known gaming site. It was TikTok. Her girlfriend introduced her to the app and now it’s her largest platform. In less than a year she has amassed a huge following on the short-form video app.

Twitch Streamer ShelbyRenae


A bit earlier, back in 2018, she also started churning out YouTube videos with content stripped from her hours-long streams. This new crop of followers prompted the streamer to rededicate her life to full-time content creation. 

"I love being their comfort creator," the streamer said. "Whether that's throwing my videos on or lurking in my streams, it absolutely feeds my soul to be that for even one person." 

Renae took a leap of faith, and after 6 1/2 years it has become more than worth it, she said. With a flexible schedule and a career centered around her favorite hobby. A slew of viral videos will do that.

Her TikTok has accumulated 30 million likes, with her top video singularly receiving 19.2 million views, all thanks to her quintessential style of dripping sarcasm and vibrant humor.

Her journey to digital stardom has been a rocky one, and she’s the first to admit it, but she’s comfortable where’s she’s at and has no plans of slowing down. 

"It is important to keep working at it when no one is clapping. [I]t's also important to not put all your eggs in one basket and try out different platforms as some are easier to grow on than others," she ended.

Her most encouraging word of advice for upcoming content creators? "Be authentic!" After all, that’s how she captured the hearts of millions and hopes to capture a million more.

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