Imane “Pokimane” Anys is inarguably one of the biggest Twitch streamers in the world. Pokimane started streaming while in college and she knew almost immediately that she could turn her passion into a career, amassing millions of followers. Pokimane is also no stranger to controversy. In fact, Pokimane’s shady side has been revealed on more than one occasion. Even so, no one was prepared for how divided her fanbase became when she streamed without makeup.
Fans of Pokimane first got to see the streamer sans-makeup during a stream on October 23, 2018. The original clip of this stream has since been deleted, but Newsweek reported that Pokimane wanted to give her viewers a look at her daily routine. She spent around two hours putting her makeup on in full view of the camera, occasionally answering questions and explaining her process in detail.
At the time, Pokimane reportedly told her viewers that she was slightly nervous about the stream. Per Newsweek, the streamer said, “I actually feel so bare. I have no makeup on so if you think I look different, I’m sorry.”
The broadcast itself apparently went by without much incident, aside from a few people trolling Pokimane in the chat. However, the controversy following the stream was almost immediate. Pokimane has called out her “creepy” viewers in the past, but a few angry fans quickly took things to the next level.
Dexerto reported that a large portion of the backlash began when a Twitter user named Pexi V posted a side-by-side comparison of Pokimane with and without makeup. The responses to this photo apparently got very heated, and the original poster deleted their Twitter account shortly afterwards. Before that, however, the side-by-side image had already received over a thousand retweets.
On Twitter, other people began posting their own side-by-side images of Pokimane. Many of these posts were from people disparaging Poki’s appearance, but there were others who shared the makeup-less image in Pokimane’s defense.
Several fellow streamers and content creators showed their support for Pokimane. Professional esports host Eefje Depoortere, a.k.a. Sjoks, wrote, “Just wanna say [Pokimane] is one of the most beautiful people I know inside and out, and people giving her s—t for putting herself out there streaming barefaced should check themselves.”
The uproar over her bare face prompted Pokimane to respond to the haters on social media as quickly as possible. The day that the whole controversy erupted, Pokimane tweeted in support of body positivity. She explained to her followers that she was happy with herself, just the way she is.
Other female streamers posted pictures of themselves without makeup as a way of showing solidarity with Pokimane. Miisty tweeted a makeup-less photo, along with a caption that read, “You’re beautiful no matter what you decide to do.” Tiger Lily also posted a side-by-side comparison of her face with and without makeup. Tiger Lily took Pokimane’s trolls to task, writing, “For a decade, I hated my bare face because of people like you. Grow up and treat [people] with more kindness.” PixieKittie and Rina Andreina were among the many other female streamers to post selfies in solidarity.
Another response in Poki’s favor came from gaming journalist Rod “Slasher” Breslau, who tweeted, “Women wear makeup and dress how they want because they want to do it for themselves, not to impress men.” Breslau urged people to stop being so rude over Pokimane’s stream.
Pokimane didn’t seem to be terribly bothered by the drama surrounding her makeup-free stream. The day after the controversial broadcast, Pokimane doubled down by posting a number of selfies without makeup. She asked her followers to keep in mind that “no one looks good 24/7,” and she asked everyone to “be kind to one another.”
The superstar streamer also didn’t have a problem with continuing to show her bare face on camera. In the years since the initial uproar, Pokimane has streamed multiple times without makeup. Just two months after the first no-makeup stream, Pokimane went barefaced for a broadcast with beauty streamer Edgar. While that particular stream ended with Pokimane being hilariously painted up as Pepe the Frog, she has also done a few “getting ready” streams for her fans.
In May 2020, Pokimane tweeted more makeup-less photos to illustrate her skincare routine. She explained at the time that she was trying a few different things during quarantine and wanted to show her fans. Pokimane continued her message of self-love and positivity by tweeting, “[I]’m really proud of how far [I]’ve come & that [I]’m now comfy enough to post unfiltered pics w/no make up.”
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