Written by: Yasmin Aboelsaud
Originally posted on March 24, 2022
Kelsie Pelling is about 4,000 people away from having a community of 800,000 on Twitch, but she’s definitely not spending her days counting the growth. Known online as “KayPea”, the 33-year-old Canadian instead spends most of her days playing League of Legends.
“I am definitely not the most skilled League of Legends player that’s on Twitch, but I feel like I do have a level of relatability that a lot of players enjoy watching,” Kelsie said, admitting she is also “incredibly competitive.” due to her background in sports.
Kelsie’s start in the gaming community began simply as a hobby back in April 2013, when she was first introduced to Twitch. While she gamed a lot as a child with her brothers, she realized during her University days that she wanted to stay home and play video games rather than go out clubbing with friends
“One of my friends showed me Twitch, and I thought ‘this is amazing, this is exactly what I am interested in,’ and as soon as I saw that, I was like, ‘I really have to try streaming’,” she said. “I didn’t have anyone to really share that passion with and play these games with, and be able to experience everything with, so I just started streaming to have that. Not for any other reason than just being able to hang out with a couple of people. And it grew to what I thought it would never grow to… and here we are today.”
Today, Kelsie streams about 3.5 to 4 hours a day, five days a week. And over the years, she feels like she has found the balance of being able to stream without getting burnt out.
“If you stream League anymore than that, it can really take a toll on you,” she said. “But after 10 years of playing, I still have passion and love for the game. I am also able to still play my best and entertain properly with this schedule.”
Positive entertainment is what KayPea is known for in her community, and it's what has attracted several partnerships over the years for her, including one with Red Bull, Turtle Beach, and Roccat.
While she has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Anthropology, she said that she’s always been interested in marketing and advertising, and “having a job like this, I get to be my own marketer, and advertiser, and social media manager.” And she’s always trying to be as genuine as possible on all her social platforms.
“I am just very fortunate that I get to be myself on stream,” Kelsie said. “I do try to be as genuine as possible, including my reactions in getting annoyed and upset.”
She’s also not afraid to show emotions.
“People enjoy my facial expressions and reactions to stuff happening, they seem to think it’s very relatable. I definitely put my emotions on the table when I play,” she said. It’s that relatability that allows her to be entertaining on streams, and has helped her community grow. A community she’s very proud of today.
"The thing that I am the most proud of is my community. I know it sounds mushy but my community is so diverse, multicultural, and welcoming. You have people of all different ages, all different walks of life,” she said. “The internet is known for its toxicity, its negativity, everyone hiding behind anonymity, so to be able to carve out my little corner of the internet where all these people from different countries around the world are able to meet at the same time, five days a week, and come hang out and be able to be themselves, and not feel like they’re going to be judged is something that I am incredibly thankful for, and very proud of.”
Originally from Vancouver and now residing in Toronto, Kelsie laughs when asked about her future in gaming, “I will be 80-years-old and still playing League.”
Her passion for the game is clear when she explains this is her dream job.
“You have to hope to be able to do this as long as possible, it’s the dream job in my opinion, especially as someone who wants to get into marketing and advertising, you get to do everything on your own and for yourself,” she said. “This is something I have wanted to be doing for a long time.”
She also said the future of gaming is bright, “and I am very excited to be a part of it and to see where it’s going to lead.”
With many women entering the world of esports every day, Kelsie encourages everyone to try their best.
“It can be intimidating to step into this world, but the best advice I could give is be yourself to the fullest extent, and try your best to just not care about what other people think,” she said. “You know yourself the best, you should value your own opinion of yourself way highly above any random negative person hiding behind anonymity online that doesn’t even know you.”
She said it is easy to get sucked into negativity, but reminds gamers that “you can get past that.”
“Be yourself and be thankful for anyone that finds you,” said Kelsie, adding that she is very thankful to be able to have this as an opportunity every day.
And while the goal is for her community to hit 800,000, she’s ambitious to grow even more.
“It would be nice to hit a million… one day.”
But, hey, who’s counting?