Amouranth on Twitch’s ‘hot tub meta’ and more

Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa has unintentionally become one of the biggest names of Twitch. She’s become the face of the “hot tub meta,” all because she started streaming to her channel while wearing a bikini in a hot tub. If you search for that phrase on Google News, you’ll be directed to article after article with the streamer’s face front and center in most of the photos.

Siragusa has over 3.6 million followers on Twitch alone, with streams that can garner as many as 16,400 live viewers. Her work and prominence pushed Twitch to announce a major change on the platform: a new category for hot tub streamers like herself. Historically, Siragusa has been on the cutting edge of Twitch, where she weathers the constant push and pull that comes with the platform. Just this week, Twitch took down her channel after she did an ASMR yoga stream. Roughly three days later, the company reinstated her channel.

The streamer told Polygon over Discord voice chat that when she started, she didn’t expect her channel to get so big. “It was more of just a hobby that was kind of like, ‘Might as well make some ad money while I’m just making costumes or playing games.’”

Siragusa opened her channel with a cosplay focus in 2016; at the time, Twitch had a generic Creative category. Eventually, that category was renamed IRL, and it later got broken into 10 new categories, including Just Chatting, where streamers will sit and respond to questions and talk to their Twitch community. Siragusa adopted that category as her home, and since then, she says she’s been “floating around,” doing a mixture of real-life streams like cooking, ASMR, animal streams, and Just Chatting.

Eventually, Siragusa found her way into the “hot tub meta.” On her hot tub streams, she’ll play video games like Mario Kart, write the names of donors on her body, or do tarot readings for her viewers — all from her hot tub, wearing bikinis. She sits in a glowing blue pool surrounded by an array of colorful inflatable toys, like flamingos or unicorns.

Hot tub streams are completely within Twitch’s rules, which state that “streamers may appear in swimwear in contextually appropriate situations,” like a beach or pool deck. Streamers like Siragusa abide by this rule by streaming from an inflatable pool or a hot tub. Nevertheless, hot tub streams have their detractors, who frame the genre as a loophole that hosts exploit to gain an unfair advantage through sex appeal. It’s a familiar accusation across the history of Twitch and internet culture in general, particularly for women, who often get berated for capitalizing on their sex appeal to build followings. This can happen regardless of the actual sexual content of their work — but especially when that sexual content is deliberate.

That perceived unfairness has made Siragusa a target of harassment. People send messages that say things like “fuck u. u destorying twitch with ur porn content go on pornhub u fucking bastatd …” or “Shut this TH0t down, this isn’t what Twitch is.” This has become so common that Siragusa even does a stream where she reads the hate messages from people she bans.

“I have thought about it — like, is it worth it?” Siragusa said. But to her, streaming is a job, and as with any job, there are elements that will be hard or unpleasant. “I really do think it is because every job has its stresses,” Siragusa told Polygon. “Every job has stuff that isn’t peachy-keen perfect. Like if you’re in retail, you have to deal with annoying Karens all day.”

Amouranth standing in front of a wheel that she spins for activities

Image: Amouranth/YouTube

“Do I feel like I deserve [the harassment]?” she continued. “No, I don’t think anyone does. But I do feel it’s worth it to just keep grinding while I’m young and have the energy, and then when I’m older and have saved enough money, I can actually do what I want with it, you know? Something like — it’s just frontloading the work, rather than spreading it throughout my life. And I think that’s worth the harassment.”

From the outside, Siragusa’s work has led her to develop an incredibly comprehensive expertise across almost every major social media platform, including OnlyFans, Patreon, Instagram, Twitter, Fansly, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitch. Beyond that, her workday consists of streaming, answering messages, working on photo shoots, or talking to sponsors. “I really have no concept of when I start because my sleep schedule changes so much,” she said.

For Siragusa, it’s all a path to her true passion: working with animals. “I think social media is a huge advantage,” she said. “There’s so many animal rescues that don’t have enough support or funding because they don’t know how to use social media, since most people involved now in rescue are boomers.” When asked if she has a favorite pet, she said, “Oh, I feel like I’m betraying my fur children if I choose. Horses and dogs equally — I can’t choose.”

Someday, said Siragusa, she’ll make a change. “My passion, at the end of the day, is animals, and I want to do an animal rescue using my platforms. But right now, we’re just saving money, milking it while it’s good.”

Polygon – All

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