Henaa Gaming: The gamer who sings and models
Although it’s still widely-debated whether esports is considered a “real sport”, that didn’t stop Adidas Cambodia from putting a local gamer front and centre to don and show off their latest line of killer-looking sportswear. That gamer is none other than Cambodian streamer, Henaa Gaming; who coincidentally enjoys modelling, and collaborated with Asus and RealMe for various projects in the past.
Want to be on top?
“They saw my social media feed, which contained many studio/outdoor photos of me,” Sann “Henaa” Chanleakhena recalled. “They knew I could pull off modelling, so they contacted me to promote their clothing line.” This marks another step forward for Adidas Cambodia's entry into the esports/video game scene, following their exclusive sponsorship with Orange Esports PUBG Mobile in March this year. Henaa was more than happy to be a part of the three stripes' initiative, albeit at the cost of her sleeping hours.
“I’ve been sleeping for four hours every night this month,” the Facebook Gaming Creator exclaimed. When Henaa isn’t posing for the next shot, she’s armed with her smartphone (or gaming PC, occasionally), pink cat ear headphones, and webcam; charming thousands of viewers on Facebook Gaming with her daily video game streams. In between chatting with her fans, she prefers playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang due to its familiarity with most of her viewers.
Henaa used to stream roleplaying in Grand Theft Auto Online, even with her fellow countryman streamer, Ream Angkor, as part of her squad of streamer friends. She eventually stopped streaming GTA, because everyone else switched to play other games. But, she assured that she has her own team of friends to play MLBB with, so it’s still as fun.
Henaa has been hooked on to gaming for the last six years, reminiscing the times she played Rules of Survival and PUBG Mobile right before she started streaming last year. Her idea to stream was sparked by her numerous viewings of international streamers, citing Alodia Gosiengfiao and Dexie Diaz as her role model streamers. “I streamed on my personal YouTube account for fun first before I started streaming professionally on Facebook Gaming,” she revealed, saying that she had to learn how to use StreamLabs first before attempting it.
Although video game streams are widely-accepted, making a career out of it is another thing altogether, which Henaa’s family and friends were wary of before her popularity. “They thought it was a useless career, that it’s not a lucrative career. They later accepted it after I became an official Facebook Gaming Creator, when I showed them how well I’m doing.”
It would be relatively harder to pursue one’s interests without the support of loved ones, especially if another life problem was at hand. “I was never successful at work (before streaming), so this is the first time it actually took off.” Henaa attributes her success to people who have inspired and supported her, most of them comprising her top fans. One of the ways they show their loyalty is by shutting down naysayers and troublemaking viewers without hesitation, a testament to her fans’ devotion towards her. “I’m just glad I can make them happy.”
Jack of all trades
On top of streaming and modelling, the multi-talented Cambodian also has music in her soul, which she also shares with the world via song covers. Amusingly enough, it was a fan of hers that indirectly gave Henaa the idea to show off her singing skills online. “He dared me to sing on-stream as a challenge, and to make things more interesting, he said he’d gift me a microphone if most of the comments were positive.” Needless to say, she acted on the challenge and her viewers were wowed by the pipes of their idol, prompting her to release song covers on both Facebook and YouTube that have reached up to three million views!
Although there’s zero similarities between music and streaming, Henaa’s YouTube song covers unexpectedly allows her to befriend more fans on her Facebook Gaming page. “They get curious when they notice the word ‘Gaming’ as part of my name on YouTube, sometimes they even end up following my streams.” Despite only singing music covers and for fun on-stream, Henaa has been itching to step it up a notch and release her own original songs, produced with the help of a musician friend. She has one song in the bag already, but she’s still contemplating when to release it. Regardless of her decision (she’ll post it sooner or later), one thing is for sure. “If they like it, then I will sing more original songs for them.”
Swamped with streaming, singing and modelling, Henaa remains determined, showing no signs of slowing down. She revealed that if she had more time, she’s open to creating other types of content, such as makeup tutorials, mukbangs, and even cooking videos. “My mom used to manage a restaurant before she went to live abroad, so I learned from her how to cook,” she said, adding jokingly that she “likes eating so I have to know how to cook”. As for the reason behind her open-mindedness, Henaa believes that if she focused on doing one thing for too long - in her case, streaming - she’ll feel complacent. “It’s good to be multi-skilled, so take any opportunity to learn new things and improve yourself.”
“I don’t want to regret not making the effort to do more, so I’m making the most out of it.”