We’re excited to announce that Maria Lopez, BKA Chica, one of the world’s most popular Twitch streamers and gamers, is joining the StockX family as our newest Brand Ambassador. Chica has emerged as a powerful force in the gaming world, championing inclusivity and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community and an important voice for women in gaming.
We connected with Chica in Toronto and talked about her life, career, style, and what it means to be introduced as the newest StockX ambassador. We’re honored to have her on board as we continue our mission to help people connect with their passions and discover new ones.
Chica’s partnership announcement kicks off a week of content culminating with her joining StockX at TwitchCon San Diego for the first time. Stay tuned for more from Chica, TwitchCon San Diego, and our coverage of the gaming space.
How did you get into streaming?
I’ve been gaming since I was five years old. Yeah. But professionally, I would say about seven years, mainly playing Fortnite.
What was the first game you played?
When I was five years old, the first game I watched was Super Mario, like Super Mario 64. I watched my sisters play it, and they didn’t let me have a turn because I was so little, and I kept dying. So they kept skipping me. When I was five years old, I really wanted a console for myself. And I told myself, “When I’m older, I’m going to get a console. I’m not going to let anyone play on it.” I was so jealous.
What was the first game you played that changed the way you thought about gaming?
The first game that captured my attention was Modern Warfare 2: Call of Duty. My brother told me that other people were on the team, and the enemies were actual people. Back then, I used to play just the campaign and solos. So knowing that real people were eliminating me and then hearing them was life-changing. I wanted to meet them – I wanted to be friends with them. So that was the first game.
What was so life-changing about it?
It changed everything. Now I knew I wasn’t playing against the computer; I was actually playing against people. And sometimes, it got a little toxic; it fired up my competitive side to want to do better than my brother and beat the other team. I think it’s a very different experience from playing Need for Speed or 007 when you’re playing by yourself.
When did you realize you were really good at gaming?
I think I realized when Black Ops 2 came out, and there was a ranking system. When I got to one of the higher ranks, I realized, “I’m definitely better than my brother now.” I rubbed it in his face – it was payback.
Was Black Ops 2 the game that propelled you into professional gaming?
I never thought of it as professional gaming until I started streaming, and people started coming to my stream and asking for advice – What guns was I using? What attachments was I using? That’s when I realized, “Okay, I play it so much that I know what you have to do and what guns you need to to do better.”
What was the moment like when you decided to go all-in on streaming?
The decision for me to start gaming – or streaming – wasn’t even made by me. It was actually my partner. She told me I should start streaming on the PlayStation 4 with a PlayStation 4 cam and stream from the console. I told her no. I fought her on this because I only had $60. We were extremely poor at the time, and I didn’t want to spend my last $60 on a camera. She said, “Okay, we’re going to Walmart, and we’re getting it, and you’re streaming.” And I went, and I was like, “Okay, yeah, fine. I’ll do it, but this is dumb.” And she was right. She was right.
Was she your biggest cheerleader when you first started streaming?
Definitely, besides the people that watched me and supported me from the beginning, she was the one that believed I was special. That’s what she said: “You’re special. Compared to these people, I know you’re much better than them.” And I didn’t believe her at first. She always believed in me, but I never believed in myself. She made me believe in myself.
What were those first streams like?
The first streams were just chatting and getting to know people. When I first got on, 10 people were watching. It was like, “Whoa, 10 people are watching me and having a conversation with me.” It was really nice. I wasn’t talking to my family at the time, and I was isolated in Canada, so getting to those first few people in the stream was really nice, and they’re still in my stream today.
How did your stream start to gain so much traction?
Fortnite. When Fortnite first came out, there were these tournaments called “Friday Fortnite.” I participated, and there were a lot of viewers. There weren’t a lot of girls in those tournaments, so I was really visible. But the main thing was TikTok. As soon as I started my TikTok channel and started posting videos, I gained over 500,000 followers on Twitch and 400,000 subscribers on YouTube. It was insane. The amount of support that translated from TikTok to my other platforms was just insane.
When did you realize this was your full-time job?
I think I started realizing that this was my full-time job when I could pay the rent and bills, and still stream. I never thought I would get here and have this as an actual job. I’ve loved streaming so much that even surviving was enough for me just to stream and just have fun.
You have your own skin in Fortnite – which is so awesome- which points to the growing importance of style in gaming. How would you describe your style?
I think style is essential because that’s how you express yourself. So the fact that we’re able to do that in real life, as well as in gaming with customizations, makes us all unique. I chose my style for my skin to represent where I came from. I had the Puerto Rico flag on my shirt. Also, I like wearing heels and nice pants, always looking like I’m going on a business trip. That’s my style in real life, so I had to bring it into the game. And then, I wanted to represent the community, the LGBTQIA+ community, because I’m part of it, and I wanted some representation out there for anyone to relate to.
What makes streaming so special? Why are more and more people getting involved with streaming?
What makes streaming so special is the fact that you are never lonely when you’re watching someone. And when you’re in that community, you meet so many people from around the world who share the same hobby. Whenever you have time, you can go on the internet and be like, “Oh, I have a friend here who’s always going to be here, watching the same streamer that we both like.” What makes it so special is that I have known many of them for many years. I feel closer to my streaming community than I do with some people that I meet IRL. So I think that relationships you can build through streaming are just as powerful as those you can make in real life.
Community is such an essential element of streaming. Obviously, there’s this shared passion for gaming, but on a deeper level, why are people so invested in the community? What makes it so important to everyone?
I think the fact that it’s very open makes my community important to everybody. No one’s going to come into my chat and judge anyone. I’ve built this community for seven years. They’re extremely friendly and open-minded, and some people might be dealing with something, and they come to the chat and get some advice. And I’ve seen a lot of people in my community make friends with each other and meet each other in real life. So I think that’s why many of these communities – mine included – have loyal viewers. And I try to make it as open and safe as possible for everybody.
And now you’re redefining and expanding your community by working with StockX. What does it mean to you to partner with StockX?
To partner with a company like StockX is insane – just to think about it – because I use the app quite often. And never in my dreams would I ever have thought I would work with such a huge company. And to do something like this – behind the scenes – sharing my story with fans and new people is amazing. I’m extremely appreciative of having the opportunity to work with you guys because it’s insane.
How often are you shopping on StockX?
I’m going to be honest with you: probably I’ll be shopping on StockX every two or three days, just to see what’s new, just to refresh what’s new, primarily through electronics. If I’m waiting for something or something new comes out, I try to grab it as fast as possible. My partner and I love shoes, so we’re always trying to get some new ones. I think I have two full closets of shoes. I love shoes. It’s bad. But I would say clothes and electronics are my weaknesses. And because I don’t have time to go out, get in the car, or go to the mall, I use the app. I can just do it easy, and then it’ll be here soon.
What was the last electronics purchase?
My last electronics purchase was a scuffed PlayStation 5 controller.
This past summer, we launched a campaign called “Own It.” It’s our first major brand platform about owning your personal style, owning your story, and owning your authenticity. How do you, as a streamer, own it?
I feel like anyone who comes to my stream can see that I’m just myself, and I’ve been myself for the past seven years. And if I give any advice to anybody, it’s who you are, and don’t be afraid of what other people might think. Someone else can always relate to, and be inspired by, who you are. So I’ve always tried to be myself, and many people have come to me for advice – about gaming or about being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and gaming – and I’ve tried to help them. I always tell people, “just be yourself.” I try to do it, too.
Finally, how can people find you and connect with you?
My handle on Twitch and TikTok is Chica. I think it’s Chica everywhere. It’s pretty easy because it means “girl” in Spanish – you can’t forget.