Dante ‘FaZe Santana’ Santana bet on himself by dropping out of school to pursue a career in streaming. A combination of hard work and networking culminated with the deal of a lifetime. Dexerto Originals partners with Totino’s Pizza Rolls for an exclusive episode with the up-and-coming streamer.
Warzone’s meteoric rise coincided with a massive boom in streaming content. The battle royale’s Twitch viewership slumped to its lowest in September 2020, but viewership in April 2021 peaked at 1.6 million on one occasion.
Many streamers pounced on a golden opportunity during Warzone’s heyday and jump-started their careers. FaZe Santana stands out as a prime example. In 2019, Santana worked as a tutor and was in the process of getting a bachelor’s degree in education.
Dante took an ultimate gamble, deciding to put everything else on hold while pursuing his dream as a content creator.
Being in the right place at the right time
Many rise-to-fame stories happen in unexpected ways. TheKoreanSavage is one of the biggest names in Call of Duty content creation, and Santana made an unforgettable first impression in 2020.
KoreanSavage created a Discord channel and played Black Ops Cold War multiplayer matches with channel members. Santana used the forum to make a name for himself, going 50-0 in his first game with the popular YouTuber.
In a twist of fate, Santana injured his shoulder at the gym, messing up his sleep schedule. It coincidently matched KoreanSavage’s stream schedule, and the duo formed a connection.
“I was blessed to be in the position I was in because I knew a lot of people in the content-creating space, so it was easy to jump on board.”
Watch the full episode of Dexerto Originals here or below, sponsored by Totino’s.
How did the Nuke Squad form?
KoreanSavage introduced Santana to Kris ‘Swagg‘ Lamberson. Swagg began his YouTube career in 2013 on Call of Duty Ghosts and has since amassed over 2.6 million subscribers on the platform.
While playing Ground War on Modern Warfare 2019, Swagg, Santana, and Swagg’s friend from high school, JSmooth, realized they needed a fourth member. Santana recommended Booya, and the rest is history.
The four streamers comprise the “Nuke Squad,” which originated from a fan in their Twitch chat because the four friends got together and spent all day trying to obtain the nuke kill streak in CoD by getting 30 straight kills.
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Santana and his newfound friends built a following before joining FaZe in March 2021.
“Seeing my name on the back of a FaZe jersey was the most unreal moment. That was probably one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Santana’s advice to aspiring streamers
The Nuke Squad moved into their own FaZe gaming house in June 2021, and his roommates inspire Santana every day.
“The big thing that motivates me is living with these guys. Seeing them post videos makes me want to post, and when they stream for 10 hours, I want to do that.”
If Santana hadn’t taken a chance and connected with KoreanSavage through Discord, everything could have gone differently.
“Connect with as many creators as possible because you don’t know what to build from that, but don’t shoot for the stars immediately.”
As for what keeps him going, Santana said, “One thing I think about every day is there is always going to be someone working as hard as you or working twice as hard as you, so you can never stop.”
A combination of hard work and networking took Santana from working a 9-5 job he didn’t enjoy to being a member of FaZe and living in a gaming house with his closest friends.
Dexerto Originals, which launched its own YouTube channel in January this year, delivers compelling documentaries and gives fans the inside story on the world’s biggest gaming personalities. Previous productions have included TimTheTatman, SypherPK, FaZe Kay, and many more.
You can watch the full episode above or click away to the Dexerto Originals YouTube channel – make sure you subscribe to never miss an episode.