Natalie Barnes was bullied at school for her love of gaming, but she has turned her passion into a full-time job and now rakes in £7,000 a month from her bedroom.
When she first started gaming, she received a lot of hate from her peers, however, years later she is earning a living off the game.
She managed to “grind out” a career by spending more than six hours a night behind her console while juggling school and work.
Natalie is now the most-watched female in Europe on the first-person shooter game Apex Legends and also features among its top-ten players.
She said: “I was exhausted every single day but I tried my best to grind because I knew I wanted to make it.”
“People [now] watch me from all over the world, including America, Australia, Japan and China, and I do all this from the comfort of my bedroom on my PC setup.
“I’ve been invited to multiple tournaments and have won $1,000-plus in tournaments and streaming has been my full-time job for a couple of years.”
As her popularity in the gaming world grew, she was able to benefit off sponsorship and advertisement deals with corporate companies.
She told Manchester Evening News: “I’m incredibly proud. Turning something you love into a job is amazing.
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“There are millions of people trying to make a career and I made it. I have a community of people that watch me and admire me daily, I don’t think anything beats that.
“I didn’t know when I started gaming at 11 years old that this would be how my life turned out, but I’m so glad it did.”
The 20-year-old deferred a place at law school in Liverpool to continue with her career and is hoping to relocate to Austin, Texas, the epicentre of the gaming industry.
She began with just a handful of viewers but went on to rack up hundreds of subscribers who were willing to splash their cash to watch her incredible abilities.
Initially, she hid her gaming passion as she was bullied at school.
Natalie said: “There was a group of boys that would laugh at me and call me names, saying I wasn’t meant for gaming, all the typical ‘get back to the kitchen’.
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“It was incredibly childish behaviour, and I shouldn’t have been affected by it, but I was in high school and I just wanted to fit in. But even now, I still deal with horrible comments.”
From starting with an average of five viewers and “basically no money”, Natalie now peaks on viewer counts of 600 concurrent people watching and she’s a very well-known as a streamer.
At events, she’s asked for autographs and pictures. “It doesn’t feel reel,” she added.
Natalie concluded: “As much as I love my town, I could go on forever with why I want to venture to the United States – friendships, my relationship, the weather, business opportunities, tournaments, mental health. There is a lot. My parents support me all the way.”
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