Nicole ‘Neekolul’ Sanchez has become a pioneer content creator on both Twitch and TikTok for the Latin community. In an exclusive Dexerto interview to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, she told us her story.
Today, Neekolul is signed to 100 Thieves where she works with a star-studded roster of streaming talent, from Rachell ‘Valkyrae’ Hofstetter to Jack ‘CouRage’ Dunlop. The 25-year-old has over one million followers on TikTok, as well as almost 500,000 on Twitch.
As a first-generation Mexican American, her rise in the streaming world has resonated with so many across Latin America. The path she wished to forge in carving out a loyal community of viewers, speaking both in Spanish and English, was uncharted waters due to a lack of similar success stories.
That is what makes Neekolul’s journey to the top so special.
How Neekolul blew up on Twitch & TikTok
Neeko decided to start streaming in 2017 when she created her Twitch channel. The channel is the same one you can see her go live on today, playing video games, sitting in Just Chatting, or cooking with friends. Within three years, it accumulated over 500,000 views and almost 50,000 followers.
Back then, TikTok wasn’t on anybody’s radar so the strategies to go viral were a little different, yet people started to buy into her charm and liked watching her play games.
In May 2019, the creator opened up a YouTube channel, posting more personal content. This allowed the audience to get even closer to Neeko… And then, the ‘OK boomer girl’ video happened.
Sporting a Bernie Sanders tee to support the former US presidential candidate, Neeko absolutely took over TikTok. The original clip racked up three million views and hundreds of thousands of likes.
Once people found out Nicole was streaming on a regular basis, it wasn’t long before the 2020 viral success turned into an explosive climb on Twitch.
How it all started
Neeko told Dexerto: “When I was a child, around eight or nine, my mom bought a camcorder and I actually tried to upload on YouTube at around that age. It was really embarrassing, so I would upload videos and then take them down, but the evident moment where I thought I really want to give this a go… I was kind of at a crossroads.
“I had a job I was very miserable at and had this thing [streaming] that kept calling my name. Sure, I wasn’t making a full living off it, but I was comfortable pursuing this.
“Ever since then I felt wholeheartedly about it. Even after that decision, I didn’t make a single dime really, aside from my stream. It was not enough, but it was something that kept calling my name.”
Sanchez says guidance from partner Nick Brotman – who has worked with huge YouTubers such as MrBeast – allowed her to connect with a larger audience. Today, she follows trends and uses that to inform content decisions.
Jumping on TikTok trends is something Neeko’s fans see her doing all the time, as seen in the video below with over two million views.
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Telling her family about career change
As is the case with so many budding Twitch streamers, telling the family about their intentions to start out in content creation was a big moment.
“My parents, eh, I wanna say my Dad – sorry Dad – was very disappointed,” she said. “He wouldn’t tell me this but I could tell, yaknow? He was kind of like ‘I hope she gets her sh*t together’.”
Streaming is a gamble compared to more predictable career paths in the jobs market, but not everyone understands the opportunities of social media and streaming.
Neekolul added: “My Mom just wanted to see me happy. I think being the first child of two parents that came from Mexico and had nothing when they came here, I think I went through a lot of things in my life. Ultimately, my Mom did want to see me happy, and saw this made me happy.
“I would say my Dad was disappointed because he completely did not understand the space at all. My Mom didn’t understand it either, but was more empathetic and wanted to see me happy.”
If she didn’t make it in streaming, Neeko says local government would provide some enticing position, to help local communities.
Becoming a Twitch streamer people look up to
Without the plethora of successful Latin streamers we see today, Neekolul had to forge her own path on Twitch, using TikTok to boost her presence. There is no doubt that the first-generation Mexican American is an icon for young viewers across Latin America.
So, what does it mean to be a role model and represent the Hispanic community?
“It means everything to me because I do streams in English and Spanish. Although people have a pre-conceived perception of me, then they come into my stream and they know my background, where I’m from, and the things I have had to go through… Which is the story of so many first-generation Mexican Americans or Latin Americans in general… It’s very hard to find someone like that in the content creator space.
“As for myself, it’s very important – not only for the Hispanic community in America but in general – being Latinx, having those content creators to look up to is very very important for the growth of our community in the content creator space.”
The streamer says she applies a different charm for her English and Spanish viewers, with a little help from the Twitch chat from time to time.
For those wanting to replicate her success and looking to become an icon of Latin America within the space, she says to be authentic, find your niche, and follow trends to grow that dedicated audience you’re looking for.