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Portrait tattoos, specifically ones of celebrities, are nothing new in the world of tattooing. But has it ever crossed your mind to get a tattoo of an internet personality? With the ever-increasing prevalence of social media, seemingly anybody can work their way up to becoming their own mini celebrity. As a result, you get people like micro-influencers on Instagram, full-time content creators on YouTube, and of course, Twitch streamers.

Where do Twitch streamers land amongst the growing pool of celebrities? They’re not A-list celebrities frolicking the streets of Hollywood, but at times of peak viewership, these creators can amass upwards of 500,000 viewers at a time, which certainly says something about how many people are interested in their lives. Among these streamers is the most-followed female Twitch streamer, Imane “Pokimane” Anys, who has accumulated nearly 80M hours of viewer watch time since 2016. 

If one were to spend a fraction of their time looking at the gaming community, they’ll find no shortage of diehard fans of these internet personalities. In showing their love, some fans may spend countless hours religiously watching their favorite streamer and donating large sums of money during a livestream. Some may even spend hundreds to go see them at a convention, screaming and sobbing in their presence. Others may go to more extreme ends of their devotion, getting a picture of their Twitch idol emblazoned on them for life.

A fan who goes by the handle Conor_exe on Reddit did just that, debuting the progress of the massive Pokimane tattoo on his bicep back in July, subsequently receiving waves of backlash from the online community. Initially, many onlookers dismissed this as fake. However, when the original poster followed up with his progress in August, people grew increasingly concerned. One commenter remarked, “Not sure why but I find tattoos of real people creepy. Especially when they're a person you don't know personally.” Another person weighed in, “Oh my dear God, this has to be trolling.”

When one commenter asked the original poster why he would get such a tattoo in the first place, the fan explained, “Personally, I like portrait tattoos,” going on to say that he really likes TV show characters and has three people on his other arm,​​ including Clark Griffin and Madi from the sci-fi series “Hundred.” “Poki is just another person that I really like, that’s why I picked her as the portrait for my sleeve.” The fan also added that their plan is to get Daenerys from “Game of Thrones” behind this tattoo, as well as another popular streamer, Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, on his forearm. Many have discouraged him from doing the latter.

While any person, even a huge celebrity, might find it a bit weird to see an ultra-realistic portrait of their face on someone else’s body, they’re accustomed to dealing with fervent fans. Things get dicier when the portrait is of an internet celebrity who, behind the monitor, is more or less an average person. Twitch streamers occupy a strange space on the internet; while they’re not at the same level as movie stars and rock stars, they still manage to garner enormous fanbases, containing both harmless and egregious fanatics alike. While getting a streamer tattooed could appear flattering to the subject at hand, it also points to the darker side of the idolization of internet figures and, at its worst, the parasocial relationships that fans can develop with them.

In the beginning of last year, a super fan of internet celebrity Corpse Husband got a waveform of his breath, taken from an audio recording uploaded to Twitter of the guy breathing. 

Not long ago, a wave of incidents surfaced regarding fans stalking streamers, including a man who sold all his belongings and traveled from Estonia to Houston where he stalked famous Twitch streamer Amouranth for 44 days before attempting to break into her private home. There was another report of someone tracking down content creator Valkyrae at her organization’s compound in LA, and proceeding to wait at LAX for days, claiming she was going to pick him up. On Pokimane’s recent trip to South Korea, a fan tracked her down and offered to carry her luggage for her. While many of these fans may very well have the best intentions in mind, where do we draw the line between being a wholesome fan and a potentially delusional one?

There are other criticisms about the idea of getting celebrity tattoos in general. It’s a risky game, as at the end of the day, celebrities are just people, and people can and will inevitably fuck up from time to time. What happens when that celebrity you just got tattooed on you gets embroiled in some heated controversy or worse?

While many may not appreciate Conor’s decision to turn his passion for his favorite streamer into lifelong body art, it appears he’s happy with his choice, continuing to share the progress of his tattoo on several subreddits. Ultimately, it is their choice what they want to do with their body, and they’re not hurting anyone in the process. Getting a tattoo of your favorite internet personality isn’t the worst thing in the world, but just beware that you might get a few awkward stares along the way.