How a pink-haired anime girl became one of Twitch’s biggest stars

By Nathan Grayson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

It’s day 28 of Ironmouse’s live-streaming marathon, and the Twitch streamer has taken a brief break from her usual programming — playing games, chatting with friends, singing Japanese pop songs — to address her audience directly. “I saw some complaints about my content,” she says in an almost childlike voice.

The moment is serious. Some of Ironmouse’s tens of thousands of viewers are unhappy with the stream’s lack of structure. But Ironmouse maintains a wide-eyed, welcoming grin. It’s slightly unnerving — a byproduct of the fact that on Twitch she is not a flesh-and-blood person, but rather a pink-haired anime girl.

Ironmouse is the alter ego of a Puerto Rican Twitch star who’s kept her real identity anonymous and crafted an elaborate backstory in service of her online persona. Planning, she says, has never been her strong suit. In real life, she suffers from a chronic illness called common variable immune deficiency, or CVID, which leaves her highly susceptible to infection, as well as a lung condition. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, this has forced her to isolate from people and has, at various points, left her bedridden and on oxygen. She never knows when it might impact her, which makes it difficult to prepare for just about anything. And so, largely homebound, she disappears behind her digital avatar — known among Twitch and YouTube users as a virtual YouTuber, or “Vtuber” for short — and slips into the character of Ironmouse as an escape.

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