Behind The Model: Syafire, VTubing’s Teacher, Is Having An Identity Crisis

Syafire's tutorials have helped thousands of VTubers. However she is more than just an educational creator, and that's led to an identity crisis of sorts.

Syafire, for the longest time, has had a pretty straightforward identity.

First it was as a writer and an artist, doodling together dragons in fantasy worlds. Then it extended into animation and graphic design, bringing those creations to virtual life.

That was further extended by streaming and then VTubing. Starting out as a League of Legends streamer five years ago, there was no major goal ⁠— just a chance to have fun, spurred on by her brother. But she wanted to use this opportunity to share all her various passions.

“I was not really an amazing artist to start,” she said, “so I decided to share that journey with streaming. My core philosophy was I just want to improve, and I just want to get better at what I'm doing. 

“That was a big part of what carried me forward in my journey and a lot of the influences and people I looked up to always say ‘start before you're ready.’”

As time went on though, Syafire thought there could be a bigger purpose to her streaming, her art. That manifested itself through VTubing. 

Inspired by Codemiko to start, Syafire started creating her own 3D models before branching out into the 2D world as well. The memory of sitting in front of a mirror in VRChat, with her sapphire blue hair shimmering, still brings her to tears to this day.

And it was for this reason ⁠— plus a few others ⁠— that she wanted to document her journey through this new medium.

“We all shine uniquely and beautifully in our own way. We're all put under a lot of pressure. We have scratches and we have bruises, but we all deserve to be here. And we're all different.

“I try to remember there are so many people out there that just need that pick-me-up or they just need a reason to work on something or to move forward. I want to be, and show up as my best self to show you that you can try to reach and be your best self.”

“Learning and being educated really inspires me. And I really wanted to be able to give that to others.”

Syafire’s tutorials have had a massive impact on VTubing. Three years on, she’s broken through 26,000 subscribers, with multiple videos racking up six-figure views. Anything from VTubing software to content creation tips, she’s covered it.

There’s no doubt people from the smallest indies to the biggest corporates have at least used her work. Some have even publicly acknowledged that fact. It’s that praise and knowledge that motivates her to keep making tutorials and push herself creatively.

“I'll have people reach out to me and send emails, or people DM me on Discord, or just even raiding someone’s stream like ‘Oh Syafire, I watch your tutorials’ and like hearing their live reaction ⁠— I've gotten a myriad of of different ways people have thanked me.

“Now my work is ricocheting into them to be able to create their dreams. Being there to support people and extending their creativity ⁠— I don't even think there's a word for it, it makes me so happy. 

“I hope that someday if I have kids or just anyone who decides now they want to VTube, you can look up to my work, see that, and just continue to use it for a long time.”

However, it has left her in an identity crisis. Syafire is not just an educational creator. She got into streaming to have some fun, messing around with tools along the way.

She loves music, strumming the guitar on stream from time to time. Drawing is a massive backbone of what she does online too. All these little parts make up her identity, and her content, but they’ve been overlooked for the big view-grabbing tutorials.

“I started as an artist, arguably started as a writer if you’re going to the deep lore. And then VTuber and now I land in this space… of I don't actually know anymore.

“I'm always going to keep doing stuff and moving forward, but I've cluttered my creative battery up so much with so many little bits and pieces of everything. A little bit of writing, a little bit of music, a little bit of content that I'm like ‘I don't know.’

“I've been wanting to find a way to connect with people and show people that I am more than just a tutorial person and how can I share the next level of creativity with the world, whether that's like an animated film, a manga, working on music videos.”

This existentialism about her purpose online hasn’t been helped by losing the support of her catalyst, her brother. Once passionate about technology and computers, he’s all but gone off the grid. There’s no one in her close circle that can relate to her successes and struggles.

“That made it really hard because he was a big influence and a big inspiration for me. To not really be able to share this whole thing that happened with YouTube with him and feel like he can understand it and get it without getting that backlash of ‘the Internet is evil’... is tough.

“I felt that about both of my brothers. I just felt like I haven't been able to share my passion very much with the two people that are closest to me, like blood related. And that can feel very isolating sometimes. And I think that's what has led to a lot of existentialism.”

The journey isn’t over for Syafire though. Creatively, she’s explored about every skill under the sun ⁠— she joked that she’d move into “archery or rock climbing” for her next challenge given that’d be the only thing different enough.

She can sit down and refine a skill, maybe her music that she once kept to herself but has been sharing more with the world. Or pushing forward with art on stream, a throwback to why she started sharing more with the world on Twitch.

Regardless though, nothing is going to stop Syafire from creating, and sparkling along the way.

“I don't know what it looks like moving forward 100%, but all I know is that I want to keep creating things that are important to me. 

“When I started VTubing, the reason I [started making] videos is because I loved the idea of it. And I thought it was beautiful. And I think if I can find a way to continue leaning into the next thing that I find beautiful [that would be nice].

“I [want to] be able to continue to live a creative life and be happy about that, and be happy with where I am right now in what I'm creating."

Learn more about Syafire's story in her Behind The Model episode.