VTube Streamer Cimrai Brings Virtual Authenticity to Twitch

Entertainment with anonymity

Villainous affectation echos from an animated, highly stylized avatar. It’s not a cartoon, nor is it AI—it’s a person. The era of the VTuber is upon us and Cimrai is the community’s latest promised child. 

The dominating mistress of the darkness is more than just a computerized enchantress, the person behind the persona is a thoughtful orator with introspective ideas on her community. For anonymity’s sake, she asked to simply be referred to by her VTube name, Cimrai. 

Cimrai's VTube profile on Twitch.
Cimrai.

Cimrai / Twitch

She hit the ground running on June 6. In the short span since, she’s cultivated a following 30,000 strong and secured the coveted Twitch Partner status, a milestone even the largest streamers can take years to meet. 

"I could never, ever have predicted this success. One month of streaming has paid back assets I thought would take a year," she said in a phone interview with Lifewire. "I think I just managed to bring something unique enough to the table that I filled in a spot that had remained vacant."

Quick Facts

  • Name: Cimrai
  • Age: 30s
  • Located: Ontario, Canada  
  • Random delight: Former literary YouTuber turned Vtube streaming superstar, Cimrai is no stranger to the world of social media and content creation. Her prior persona, which remains unknown, garnered her 70,000 subscribers on YouTube and a working relationship with MTV.
  • Motto/Quote: "Treat others how you like to be treated."

Forming an Identity

VTube is a growing subculture in videomaking and streaming where people don these often fantastical, anime-influenced animated avatars as a virtual identity. 

Anime, video games, and Disney helped with her creativity as the original trio of her affection. As one of six, her upbringing can best be described as the Canadian Brady Bunch: a blended family brought together through divorce but reinforced through mutual love. 

She opened up about how her undiagnosed ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and ASD (autism spectrum disorder) left her feeling misunderstood in her childhood. Nerd culture was her comfort through it all. "It offered me a world that was far kinder and, in a strange way, more predictable than the world I was living in... it was comforting," she said. 

Her stepfather is responsible for her techie predilections while her biological father imbued her with a love for film and fantasy. She’s a smorgasbord of these influences and they led her down the road to content creation in 2007 to an audience of 70,000 subscribers. The uneven relationship between creators and their audiences caused her to bow out. It became too much to bear for the up-and-coming commentariat. 

The parasocial paradox of being a front-facing content creator fizzled her spark, but not completely. Content creation was her life’s calling and a desire for entrepreneurship lulled the now-streamer back into the entertainment sphere five years later.

"While our masks are animated, we’re still flesh and blood behind the computer screen."

Lightning doesn’t usually strike the same place twice, but for Cimrai not only did it hit again, but that second blow was even more electrifying. Streaming was her next venture and what better way to mitigate parasocial excesses than a virtual mask.

Disrupting VTube

VTube is its own beast. Other streamers dive into live streaming, but for Cimrai it was an entire production. She spent two months building hype around her debut on social media. When she finally arrived on Twitch, her debut stream topped out at around 700 concurrent viewers. A rarity among streamers. 

Her ingenuity as a creative allowed her to carve out a lane in VTubing with a departure from the oversaturated field of anime personas. Her character is more reminiscent of an MMORPG raid boss utilizing Western art styles. This combined with her character-heavy interpretation resulted in an adoring audience. 

Having discovered herself in her early life, unlike many other VTubers, her persona is not a virtual incarnation of herself. It’s not a symbol of her most authentic self. It is a performance in the most literal sense. 

A screenshot from the Cimrai stream on Twitch.

CimRai / Twitch

"I very much created my persona as a character that wasn’t me. I lean very heavily on the fact that I like to keep a separation between myself and Cimrai," she commented. "As a whole, having had that chance to know who you are as a person before becoming someone else is definitely a big factor in being able to keep your feet on the ground."

Cimrai’s art could mean anything. She wants to continue pushing the limits of creativity, constantly putting on this kind of live-animated show. The future is boundless.

"Appreciate Cimrai for what she is, which is an interactive performance. It doesn’t take away from when I’m talking about topics like body positivity, or neurodivergence. Those things are always true, but the more theatrical aspects... just take it for what it is," she ended. "While our masks are animated, we’re still flesh and blood behind the computer screen."

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