How Ilsa Watkins Became One of Australia’s Youngest (and Most Successful) Streamers

Ilsa Watkins
Instagram @ilsawatkins

Ilsa Watkins only started streaming in April 2020 and has already amassed more than 600,000 subscribers. She was also chosen as one of the streamers to launch YouTube Shorts in Australia late last year, working alongside some of the country’s biggest content creators like Muselk and Loserfruit. Simply put: Ilsa very quickly became a big deal in the Australian gaming community, and her rise to fame is even more significant because she’s only 23-years-old and working in a predominantly-male industry.

We chatted to Ilsa about her channel, how games and streaming have helped her during the last few years of madness and why she chose to make her own pink sheep shrine for the YouTube Shorts launch.

POPSUGAR Australia: Hello Ilsa! You started your YouTube channel during the 2020 lockdown. Can you tell us how and why you started?

Ilsa Watkins: The idea of starting a YouTube channel has always been of interest to me. I felt drawn to the idea of being my own boss, the flexibility of working from home (or anywhere around the world) and of course getting to create content that I enjoy.

I think the fear of judgement and failure was what was holding me back. The lockdown really helped me get over that mental hurdle of worrying about what others would think because I barely saw anyone other than my family. It made me realise how small my circle is and highlighted how only a few people’s opinions really matter to me. I’m very lucky that my family and friends are all super supportive.

PS: What role did your channel play in your life and on your mental health during lockdown?

IW: Having something to focus on each day really helped me get through lockdown. It gave me a sense of personal growth and fulfilment at a time where everything else seemed stagnant.

Ilsa Watkins / Supplied

My subscribers also played a massive role in keeping me motivated. Their comments were always so positive and encouraging. Having their support and that sense of community aided me a lot.

PS: What’s been the highlight of your streaming career so far?

IW: Definitely defeating the Ender Dragon in my Minecraft series. It kind of signified the end of the series, which is something that I’m really proud of. I started it just for fun and never thought I’d actually reach that point in the game, or grow a large audience that wanted to watch me complete it.

PS: Have you faced any difficulties as a female streamer in a community that’s historically male dominated?

IW: I feel lucky to say no. Different games tend to draw different communities, and the Minecraft community is a pretty accepting and supportive bunch. I’d probably have a different take if I played something like Call of Duty. Overall, the gaming community has come a very long way with female representation — I’m very excited to see what it will look like in the years to come, and to see the other female talents that will rise up.

Ilsa Watkins / Supplied

PS: You helped launch YouTube Shorts in Australia. How did this partnership come about and can you tell us a bit more about YouTube Shorts?

IW: YouTube Shorts is a short-form video experience similar to TikTok or Instagram Reels. The format makes it super easy for anyone who uses YouTube to partake in trends like #shortsgames.

The partnership came about through my management, Click MGMT. I feel honoured to have been invited to take part in the campaign and it’s definitely been my favourite one that I’ve worked on to date.

PS: You created a pink sheep shrine from Minecraft for your YouTube Shorts video. Why did you pick this gaming moment?

IW: It’s kind of a long story, but the pink sheep shrine is a nod to what is, in my opinion, my most memorable moment on YouTube. I managed to create a pink sheep farm in Minecraft, which was incredibly hard to do because pink sheep are very rare and hard to find in game. The spawn rate is 0.164%.

My boyfriend, Lannan, thought it would be a funny idea to burn my beloved sheep for a video. It was heartbreaking and I cried on camera. The pink sheep holds a special spot in my heart and so I made a shrine dedicated to them.

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