When Kalei Renay was a child, all she wanted to do was hang out with her older brother. The easiest way to do it, she found out, was to get into his favorite hobby: gaming. Turns out, she was actually
really good — enough so that she turned it into her career.
Fast forward a decade or so, and Renay is a professional gamer, Twitch streamer, and
the only woman signed to the hyper-popular esports gaming team, FaZe Clan. Her bread and butter is the first-person shooter game, Call of Duty: Warzone, which you can find Renay streaming on Twitch for up to 12 hours daily. The streaming giant also happens to be where she finds her favorite memes.
“Twitch has an entire community-based meme around it with its customized emotes and stuff,” she explains to NYLON over the phone. “If you're not a part of Twitch, you're not going to know what we're talking about.” It’s a very
if you know, you know sort of environment, and Renay is very much in the know.
Luckily, her first month as FaZe Kalei has been nothing short of a positive whirlwind. “It's been insane,” says Renay. “The amount of support I've gotten, especially all the love and support from my family members, as well, makes me feel so welcomed.”
To celebrate her new journey with FaZe Clan, Renay took the NYLON 19 — talking through her first gamer-girl screen name, her love of the fellow perennially online Doja Cat, and the paranormal encounter she caught on her stream.
1. What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?
I'm a Virgo. I want to believe because every now and then I'll jokingly check and I'm like, “Wait, that's weird, this describes me!” But, at the same time, I'm like, “Eh, no, I don't want to believe it.” I'm like half and half, I think it's pretty cool and I can respect it.
2. Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?
My dad used to work in Reno and he lived in this house and I would go visit him every summer. He has indoor cameras just because he goes back and forth, so he has it for security. So, his indoor cameras kept going off and he checked them and there was nothing going on, like absolutely nothing but like little flutters. So, we sent it in to one of the members at
Ghost Adventures, no kidding. [They watched] this footage and they're like, “Yeah, that looks like it could possibly be a spirit. You're going to have to send us more so we can confirm.”
When I was there, I just got an eerie feeling. I was so scared. I would always hear walking and [doors] slamming upstairs and I would be the only one home. There was this one time where I was streaming and I just saw a shadow pass the door and it looked like how when you walk past something it covers the light.
So, yeah. I believe in ghosts. Living in that house for the summers, I wanted to cry every time I was there. I did not like it. There was something weird about that place.
3. What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)
I do not drink at all, but I like a nice strawberry lemonade. Nice and refreshing, that's my favorite drink.
4. Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?
Doja Cat. I love her. I adore her. Then, SZA and Billie Eilish.
5. What's the weirdest snack that you make?
I make chicken Top Ramen and then I put an entire can of corn in there. It's so gross, I get made fun of it all the time, but I swear it's so good.
6. What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?
Oh, my gosh, cleaning up after myself. I'm such a messy person. It's such a bad habit of mine. I'm just like, “Hmm, let me set this down and I forget about it for like a week later.” It's not messy with like food, like I don't have rotting food everywhere. I'm just messy with clothes, random items, make up. Seriously, my mom's like, “How hard is it just to pick it up?” And I'm like, “I forget, I forget!”
7. What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?
Justice and psychological videos. People were reviewing prisoners [on] whether they're faking illness to get off easier and stuff. I just binge watched six hours worth of those videos. People are scary. Some of the stuff people would do just to get out of a murder charge was pretty messed up.
8. Describe your worst date in three words.
Dancing, swimming, or theatre.
9. What was the last DM you received?
Probably [something] from my managers.
10. If you could be in any music video, what would it be?
I'd love to be in a Doja Cat or a Billie Eilish music video. Doja would be insane.
11. What was your first concert and what are your memories of it?
My first concert was a Drake Bell concert with my best friend. We were in elementary school and I remember us just getting all glammed up. I don't know what we thought we were going to do that night. We were like, “Yeah, we're going to look so cute!” as if Drake's going to notice us. What I remember is just literally getting out our Claire's sparkling eyeshadow and our lip gloss. We got our hair all curly and wore pink jumpsuits!
12. What was your teenage AIM screen name? 13. What's your favorite meme/internet joke and why?
Honestly, Twitch memes. Twitch has an entire community-based meme around it with its customized emotes and stuff. If you're not a part of Twitch, you're not going to know what we're talking about.
14. What's your go-to breakup song?
“Wake Up” by Eden. I was just listening to him.
15. What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?
Lady Gaga has some amazing red carpet looks. She had this one look with a purple dress, yellow hair, and her shoes were like beautiful diamonds. She can rock yellow so good in her hair. She just makes it look so gorgeous.
16. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?
That's a hard one. If it wasn't under $10, I'd say Crocs, because those are the most comfortable things in the world. But, when it comes under $10, portable nail clippers.
17. What piece of clothing from high school do you wish you had kept?
My knee-high Converse. I went through like an emo phase. Those were kick ass.
18. What reality show would you like to appear on?
There was this old reality show I used to watch. I don't know if it's still around, but it was called
Mob Wives. It was iconic. I love that show. 19. What is your best beauty tip or trick?
I have a Jade roller that lifts up my face. I always get compliments on my jawline and stuff and I'm like, “Get you a Jade roller!” It just de-puffs your face, help lifts your face. It looks so good. That's my beauty trick.