We didn't realize it until halfway through, but Amouranth was live-streaming herself as we recorded this episode of The Fandom Files. The tip-off came when she told us that she was turning off her microphone to answer a sensitive question with a bit more candor; the size and passion of her near-constant audience and fan base became more obvious after we finished recording and noticed that we had gained a whole bunch of new Twitter followers, who came with messages for us to relay to the cosplaying Twitch star.
The rush of attention took us a bit by surprise, but it's just a small sliver of what Kaitlyn Siragusa, known to her rabid fans and patrons as Amouranth, experiences every waking minute of every day. "I usually stream 12 hours a day," she says in this new episode of The Fandom Files. "Sometimes I do eight, but then I feel really bad and feel like I have to work. I don't get a lot of sleep."
The Houston native began cosplaying as her favorite video game and comic book characters back in 2010, when she was still in high school and had to stick to full-body costumes to satisfy her conservative parents. At first it was Princess Zelda and Link; now, living on her own, she can pick and choose which character she wants to play, irrespective of how revealing or borderline erotic the costume might be. (You can guess what her mostly male audience prefers.)
The Amouranth persona began streaming in 2016 and has since become a minor internet sensation, thanks to her all-access digital presence, lived out on social media platforms including Twitch, Instagram, and YouTube. There is also a dedicated Armoumanth subreddit, though she doesn't run it. She travels the world to attend comic book conventions, where she shows off the costumes she painstakingly creates and meets with the many admirers who finance her very 21st-century career through donations on Patreon and appearance fees.
"Usually at home, on the typical days, I'll just have my webcam and my podcasting software open, and I'll just have my microphone and we'll just hang out all day," she explains. "I'll either do dancing, because I play games with that too, like the Just Dance game, or I'll do art, which I'm actually in the middle of right now, painting some Pokémon on my stream."
Unlike many social media "influencers," Amouranth does little to airbrush her life; there are no filters in real time, and her fans seek intimacy more than an aspirational role model. Instead, she charges for different levels of access, from NSFW erotic photos to personal chats on Discord. It's free to watch her play video games, cook, drive, and run everyday errands; it costs a pretty penny to get solo time, when you can play video games with her or simply chat one on one. She considers her clients her friends; they often consider her more than that.
"I have a few people who follow me in Houston, so sometimes they'll come find me while I'm streaming and just show up to where I am and start following me around, which is okay," she admits. "Sometimes they'll bring me food, asking me where I want to eat. They just happen to know where I am because they've been around Houston enough. I haven't really had any problems with local stalkers yet. I've had weird internet stalkers, but no one locally."
After our conversation, the internet stalker problem exploded. A video on the "L of the Day" YouTube channel, which tracks live-streamers, popped up to accuse her of being married but hiding it from her paid subscribers. The video gained a lot of traction on Reddit, leading to a whole lot of real-world difficulties for Siragusa.
We reached out to her on Sunday and she gave us this statement:
The video about the rumor implies that the photos are recent & not 2.5-4 years old — before I started streaming. I do however have a more critical problem; the video has created an online mob that has been doxing private information (address, social security #, family & friend contacts and unrelated businesses that I wholly own). Since the video was released I have had 7 unsolicited food deliveries (a popular way to harass streamers) and 2 unidentified people snooping around my residence after dark (to which the local police department was alerted).
I think the video creator should be held accountable for putting me in real physical danger and his channel should be taken down. The "L of the day" channel seems obsessed about me (I'm featured in no less than 4 of the thumbnails for his videos). I have not attempted to take any action against the video; normally I would comment but this situation doesn't just involve myself. The only way to debunk what he is saying is to put MORE of my non-public information out there including legally sealed documents- I'm not looking for that kind of Pyrrhic victory.
The only reason the rumor concerns me is because it robs me of my only defense as a girl (person of interest) on the internet; my safety & well being (and those of the people around me) are reliant on some degree of anonymity. Additionally, it has been communicated to me that the "L of the Day" discord participants pass around and link photos of me from when I was underage (15-17). These photos have also made their way onto Reddit. I have filled in some of the gaps in the video for participants on my own discord server.
Additionally, I would like to comment on the huge disconnect between the perception (from the outside) of who my average viewer is versus who my community is actually comprised of. My concurrent viewer numbers are unchanged. People don't donate to me because they think it improves their chances with me in some romantic way any more than do people donate to large male streamers because they fantasize about a romantic engagement with soda, lirik or ninja. That mentality is just a condescending meme perpetuated by viewers of other streams who want to feel better about themselves and their content preferences.
Additionally, there is some banter floating around about me tweeting about a "boyfriend application" and how it shows I intended to monetize my status; the bf applications were free to submit (literally you did so via tweeting). The whole thing was a funny joke so that I would have endless candidates to wax about when my mom asked me if I was seeing anybody. It was harmless mischief with a twist of interactivity from my community.
All that said, the video has not stopped her from streaming — it's likely that you can catch her on Twitch right now.
To contact us about the podcast — or to nominate yourself or someone else as a future guest! — feel free to drop us an e-mail or tweet at us. And if you like what you hear, please be sure to rate and review us on iTunes!