Alexander Graham Bell famously said that “when one door closes, another opens”, and in the middle of a global pandemic, plenty of doors have closed. But not for ‘2Bratty’.
As restrictions were tightened in Melbourne in early March, Romy ‘2Bratty’ Bogdanovic’s workplace was forced to close. On top of that, she was also ineligible for the JobKeeper program that would have provided her with financial support, as she was two weeks away from the 12 month employment threshold. It wasn’t just her work, all aspects of her life were affected.
“On March 23rd 2020, I lost everything. I lost my job, my on-campus study, my social life and my freedom,” she said.
“I was already feeling myself slipping back into a depressive state so I thought why not try streaming now, what’s there left to lose?”
With her world dramatically shifting, she realised that the restrictions finally allowed her to pursue a passion.
In January, Bogdanovic had travelled to Los Angeles with friends who were YouTubers. She observed their daily schedule and was hooked by the concept of being an online content creator.
“I saw how laid back their life was: having their own schedule, doing what they loved every day and having people support them for it,” she said. “I thought to myself ‘I want to do this’.”
But with the responsibilities of a biomedicine degree, and working full time at her job, Bogdanovic hadn’t previously been able to find the time to commit to her ambition. Until COVID changed everything.
Her first stream was of her playing Minecraft with a friend. Bogdanovic had taken the username “2Bratty”, a nickname from when she was younger that has stuck with her ever since.
“At the beginning, I was just a girl trying out something new to help with my sanity during quarantine,” she said.
But she quickly garnered thousands of followers in her first months on the platform, mostly streaming video of her playing the game Mario Kart.
“I went into streaming with no expectations, I really didn’t expect to get anywhere with it. I’m still blown away at how far I’ve come and all the support I’ve received.”
The concept of streaming yourself to strangers across the world can be intimidating, but Bogdanovic’s approach has always been to be herself and allow her community to reflect this.
“I’ve made my channel a place where people can embrace their humour without getting banned. I feel that isn’t represented enough on (live streaming platform) Twitch, especially with female Twitch streamers,” she says.
“Trolls are a common occurrence, I think females tend to get it more,” Bogdanovic said.
“For me, I love trolls. Sometimes they genuinely make me laugh. Other times I just go along with them. I will never give any troll the reaction they’re looking for. I’ve had trolls get annoyed and literally begged me to ban them.”
Her mum, Maria, has become an active member of her streaming community routinely chiming in to watch her daughter who is only a couple of rooms away in the same house.
“It’s been an entirely new world for me,” Maria says. “Certainly, when I was younger this didn’t seem possible, but it’s been fun to interact with her community.”
Maria did have any initial doubts about her daughter’s streaming.
“I just didn’t understand it. I was worried about the potential dangers she could have been exposing herself to, but I know that this was something she wanted to do and I trusted her,” Maria said.
While at the moment, Twitch has become Bogdanovic’s primary focus, she is balancing streaming with studying from home. But from her initial success, she knows that it can become her future.
“If the opportunity came up where I could take this further and make it a career, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” she said.