KaleiRenay joins FaZe interview: From “brand risk” to “FaZe Kalei” - Dexerto
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KaleiRenay joins FaZe: From “brand risk” to “FaZe Kalei”

Published: 3/Jun/2021 20:00

by Theo Salaun

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KaleiRenay is joining FaZe Clan. A Twitch star, a Warzone demon, and one of the wildest Twitter follows around — it was only right that we spoke to her about how she got here (among other topics, like possums and “simp management”).

Kalei is gifted with the Kar98 and an absolute danger on Verdansk. Her Twitter game is also pretty strong and…pretty dangerous to open at work. While others have worried that she’s a “brand risk,” FaZe say she’s just “being unapologetically herself.”

We spoke to her about what being herself means, especially as a female content creator in the male-dominated gaming space. From growing up on FaZe, to mental health and future plans, an array of ground was covered.

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But first, some quick facts…

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FaZe Clan
KaleiRenay debuts FaZe Kalei with hand and hoodie.

The quick facts

  • Favorite animal? Probably a possum. I love possums.
  • Least-favorite animal? Dogs…I don’t like dogs. They smell.
  • Favorite song right now? “So High” by Doja Cat.
  • Favorite artist of all time? Korn.
  • Go-to Warzone loadout right now? Kar98 and XM4 or Bullfrog.
  • If you were a fish, what kind of fish would you be? Probably a clown fish. My entire life is a meme, it’s fitting.

Moving onto bigger fish, how did you first get into streaming?

“I knew about YouTube because I grew up watching a lot of the people that I’m now joining, but I had no idea about streaming. My friends introduced me to the CoD league over on MLG and that’s where I originally started watching streams like Scump and FormaL.

And FormaL had a girlfriend, SJ, and she was one of the first Twitch streamers I started watching. She was super inspiring to me and I give her so much credit for my journey because she’s the one that started it off. Watching that entire side of the community, I wanted to join it so I saved up, I got a PS4, I got a camera for my PS4, and that’s how I started streaming.”

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Were you always talented at games or was there a point when your skills started ramping up?

Honestly, when I started streaming I wasn’t the best at games. I kind of just did it because it was fun and I was bored and I had a lot of friends that did it. I didn’t really start popping off on games until Warzone. When Warzone came out I felt eager to get better. I surrounded myself with some of the best players in the world and we constantly force each other to improve. But I started off as a content creator. You should’ve seen me in Fortnite. I was awful. I was awful.

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I was a Minecraft streamer for the longest time — I thought Minecraft was my game until I got back on CoD, tried Warzone out, and was like ‘no way, this game is for me. I need to get on this.’ So I started grinding, started getting better, started surrounding myself with people that just play this game constantly. That’s where I started seeing the improvement and overall growth.

Is that because Warzone suits your competitiveness?

Yes, yes, yes. I have an urge to compete and to prove myself and…Minecraft, you can’t do that with Minecraft.

Speaking of competing, what Warzone skill are you most confident in?

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Sniping.

Warzone skill you want to improve?

On the competitive side, probably how I push things in 2v2s. It used to be kill races, but now more competitive scenes are switching to 2v2s, so I need to start grinding out wagers and getting better at that.

What’s it like being a female gamer in a male-dominated space?

I feel like I have to prove myself a lot more than other people would have to — which kind of sucks, but at the same time it helps you improve a lot. And I’ve proven I’m able to compete with some of the big guys. In a male-dominant scene, it’s the biggest thing: I just have to literally prove myself 10 times more than other people have to, which can get mentally exhausting.

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You seem to handle your…variety of followers really well, do you have any “simp management” advice for upcoming streamers?

Honestly, muting is your best friend. That’s the best thing that I can say: just mute people. If you’re having a bad day, then just mute, don’t respond. 

That’s been my biggest journey — like maybe two to three years ago you’d see me fighting on the timeline with random incels. And that got so exhausting. Because at the end of the day, not everyone is going to like you. It’s exhausting trying to make everyone like you. So just be you, play your game. You’re going to have haters no matter what, so muting is your best friend.

Know you’re big on music and hiking, how important are hobbies like those to maintaining mental health?

Music is my escape. I don’t play music on stream, I don’t share it with the world. Music is my safe space. and that is what gets me going. If I’m having a bad day I’m not gonna sit on the timeline and bitch. I’m going to go play my piano or play my guitar. That’s where I go to maintain my mental.

And hiking?

Oh yeah. Just getting out of the house, sometimes it’s nice to be able to disconnect and not have to worry about what people are saying about you. It’s nice to be able to escape and go outside.

As a big advocate for mental health, what’s something you think people don’t realize enough about it?

People don’t realize until it’s too late. People like to joke about mental health, but it’s a real thing. I’m sure everyone has lost someone due to mental health, I personally have too — and we’ve lost a lot of streamers to mental health as well. My thing is: there’s always signs if your streamer or YouTuber is tweeting something concerning.

And watching people just sit there and meme ‘oh you’re a streamer, you’re a YouTuber, you have your life so easy.’ It’s shit like that that can spring someone off the edge. And I don’t think people realize that mental health is such a real thing. No matter the amount of clout, no matter the amount of money — that’s not going to cure someone’s depression.

On the…brighter side of tweeting, you’ve had some pretty wild ones. What are some of your favorite personal tweets?

This one I tweeted on Mother’s Day, it was simply “Happy Mother’s Day, who’s trying to make me a MILF?” Sweet, simple, straight to the point. Nothing more, nothing less. You go through my timeline, there’s some crazy stuff like “pisses on you cutely,” you know, random shit like that. It’s super funny to me.

Are there any tweets that you think the timeline slept on?

Oh, definitely. “Squeeze me like the little ketchup packet I am.” That one was definitely slept on.

So…has FaZe asked you to tone it down at all?

No, no, no way. In fact, they actually encourage it. I’ve never felt so welcomed, whether it was a community, team, management in general — I’ve had management teams that are like ‘seriously, Kalei?’ and I have yet to get a text message, a DM, an email like ‘can you…seriously, Kalei? Seriously?’ No, I have yet to get that, they encourage it. And I love that. I love that.

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How hype were you when the FaZe signing started taking form?

I didn’t believe it at first. I literally did not even believe it at first. I was like ‘no way, no way this is real.’ Because I’ve just been thrown in the trash basically. 

I mean, believe it or not, a lot of people don’t believe in me. I have my community that believes in me, but it’s always like ‘oh she’s never gonna get this sponsor’ or ‘she’s never gonna join this team because she’s a brand risk.’ Because she’s like this, she’s like that. And it’s just like…it’s not a persona. This is my personality. I can’t turn the switch on and turn the switch off, this is who I am.

So when FaZe initially contacted me, I was like ‘no f**king way,’ and at first I was scared like this is just gonna be another thing where they’re gonna look at it and they’re gonna go ‘oh, just kidding!’ I’ve had stuff with G2, Mutineers, certain teams like that where they just took a step back and they were like ‘yikes, nevermind.’ So for me to get as far as joining FaZe now, it’s like ‘holy shit, wow.’ It’s insane.

You watched a lot of YouTube coming up, so did any FaZe members or pieces of content come to mind when they first contacted you?

Yep, growing up watching Rain, Adapt, all of them, it’s so surreal. I grew up watching their content. Literally, FaZe Rain would upload right as I got home and I remember watching him and then switching the channel onto Pamaj because they uploaded around the same time.

And it’s like, I’m on a team with these people, I grew up watching them six, seven years ago, that’s insane to me. 

Looking forward, are there any projects you’re excited to work on as FaZe Kalei?

Honestly, I’m just excited to grind stream in general. With this huge FaZe announcement, I think it’s really pushing me more to create better content. Whether it’s getting better at the game, creating funny content with my friends and stuff like that. That’s what I’m excited for, this initial announcement and seeing how people are reacting, I just don’t want to disappoint. I want to use this opportunity to my best.