Gaia Goddess has always been fascinated by volcanoes. In fact, her family has been shaped by it.
“My father actually survived the Mount St Helens eruption,” she said. “Growing up, I had vials of ash from my grandma, off of my grandmother's car from the eruption. I had newspaper clippings and all this kind of stuff, and so it's always interested me.
“I've always longed looking at the mountains and stuff. Yet like growing up, my parents never took me camping. So it was this weird dichotomy of loving the mountains but not really experiencing them.”
And having been one of the ‘science’ kids, she knew she wanted to do something in that field for her life. Marine biology was the first pick—like many—before she realized how terrifying the ocean was.
But then she turned to geology, and fate kind of had its way.
“The one thing my parents instilled in me was to make sure you can take care of yourself and live the lifestyle you want—get a good education in a good subject area. And so that's when I started looking into geology and I was looking at the top schools and it just so happened my hometown school was one of the best.”
So much of Gaia Goddess’ life, and even content creation online, is shaped by this geologist and volcanologist background that this intro really writes itself.
For decades she has been enamoured by the mountains and the powers of the Earth. That’s so much so that she’s even written it into her lore as a minor Earth goddess, and it was more obviously the inspiration for her name (sadly, it’s not a Gaia Online reference).
Her experiences during her childhood, and then further into her study, have shaped her own Earth. Spending weekends out in the bush, she joked about getting “a degree in camping.” But she also set herself up in a near-dream career to fulfill her science-y side.
“I had to spend an entire summer in Utah, which was probably one of the best experiences,” she regaled. “Utah is just gorgeous, so I go back every summer just to hang around, to climb rocks.
“I would really say, like specializing in volcanology did help. I do make good money. I think I have set myself up to have a successful life.
“And also in the work I do now… I do foster environmental aspects. So really my day to day is working to try and make the world a better place for us in the future. I am actively trying to help with climate change and things like that.”
But that’s not all there is to Gaia Goddess. In fact, her creative side hails from a drastically different background to most online stars: drag.
Gaia is a cis woman who dresses up as a ‘bio queen’ or 'hyper queen'—that is female impersonations instead of the stereotypical gender crossover. Drag was a way to let her hair down really, even if the motions of getting ready for a show are exhausting.
“Sometimes people are like ‘it's so much easier for you. You're halfway there. Just slap some makeup on and you're done.’
“No, no, no. I'm taking just as long as you to put my face on. I'm wearing seven layers of undergarments, just like you. Just because I'm not having to deal with certain body parts, and you're not having to deal with certain body parts, doesn't necessarily change the depth of what we're doing.
“We're both here corseted in high heels, suffering to go out there and sing, mimic, sing for four minutes. Some people just kind of blow it off, and really, I try to help destigmatize that.”
These two big pillars of Gaia’s life shaped her content when she launched into streaming and VTubing a couple of years ago. She went ‘cold turkey’ from not creating content online to sharing her stories through her virtual avatar.
The pandemic was a key factor to play in that, as well as being spoon fed clips of VTubers at the same time.
And somehow, she’s managed to combine streaming, geology, and drag perfectly together.
“I'll do a lot of karaoke streams, which gets my musicality out. I will bedazzle an outfit. I'll take one of my drag costumes and I'll start rhinestoning the hell out of it. And that kind of introduces people like ‘Hey, look, this is what I do. I just made this gigantic mermaid tail. We're now going to bedazzle the sh*t out of it. Come along with me.’
“I [also] made an entire PowerPoint to teach [friends] about different aspects about volcanoes. I just love talking about science. I like having a somewhat educational pull.
“But [mostly] I just like entertaining and showing my passion and I hope that that comes through.”
Being a VTuber has also enabled Gaia to touch on different aspects of her identity she didn’t really have the chance to in the real world.
Adult content is one specific example. Given the nature of her work, she didn’t want her face or name attached to it previously. But the virtual medium has opened up that avenue of expression.
“I liked the anonymity of being able to be myself that way because I'm a very sex positive person. I always intended that air of content creation to be a part of this. And I'd like to think that I've made the right choices for me because I love doing it.
“I think I've given off an air of 'don't f*ck with me' unintentionally because in school I should have been bullied mercilessly for the things I was into, and things like that. It really could be that I have very high self-confidence, very high self-image. And I think I just exude that a lot.”
With all these different balls to juggle, it’s no wonder Gaia doesn’t actually get much time to stream. That’s on top of all the tasks that come with being an adult in a full-time job.
But no matter what happens from here on out, there’s no world where she sees herself giving up VTubing.
“I will put myself and my mental well-being and my health above VTubing, which I know a lot of people necessarily won't and maybe should. That's why you'll see I stream so infrequently… which probably has hindered my growth. But I don't necessarily care.
“I don't see an end point and I don't think VTubing is ever going to implode on itself.
“It's a slow trickle [for me], but the trickle keeps going.”
Learn all about Gaia's story in her Behind The Model episode below.