Hannah Bryan, also known as NoisyButters, was always easy-going, carefree and naturally happy growing up, but her journey through college and a blossoming career in YouTube entertainment gave her personality a bold new edge.
From a very young age, everyone called her "mini-Lisa," because Bryan's kind and caring personality was just like her mother's. Her mom was a registered nurse for 16 years, and Bryan grew up wanting to follow in her footsteps.
"I just always saw the good in everything," Bryan said. "'Oh, I fell, and I scraped my knee, but at least I went outside and had a good day today!' You know, like that kinda cheesy-thinkin'." Her positive and beaming personality won her the nickname "Butters," after the South Park character. Bryan listed every feature of the character she identified with: small, blonde, gullible, liking the color light blue, and having a Southern accent.
A whole new world
Bryan's earliest experiences playing games started with Super Smash Brothers and Yoshi's Story on the Nintendo 64. As she got older, she played Call of Duty games on her friends' Xbox 360s, and she dreamed of having a console to call her own.
Bryan's family continued to call her Butters throughout her childhood, and when her parents gave her an Xbox 360 for Christmas in 2009, she knew exactly what her gamertag would be. They found the username "Butters" was already taken, so Xbox Live generated some absurd randomized suggestions as alternatives. When the service offered up "NoisyButters," the family immediately knew they'd hit on the right mix of entertainment value and hilarity.
The GameStop workers suggested Bryan's parents get Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 along with her console, and it quickly became her favorite game. Bryan played MW 2 religiously. She stayed up late playing for hours, to the point that her parents had to restrict her gaming time. Throughout high school, she watched gamers on YouTube who played COD and commentated during their sessions. Bryan created her own channel and started making videos, showing off her sniping skills and just having fun with it.
Gaming "as a girl"
Bryan discovered playing competitive games like Modern Warfare 2 as a girl made her stand out. She was grateful for her gamertag, because until she used her mic, no one could tell who she was. Teenage boys can be ruthless and aggressive towards girls in these games, and Bryan's experience was no different. "It was one of those things where I kept on getting targeted," Bryan said.
She was confident in her skills and wanted to join a YouTube Call of Duty sniping community. "They had this channel, that was mostly guys, which makes sense because it's Call of Duty—mostly guys in this scene anyway," she said. The team immediately rejected Bryan and forced her to join their girls' team. She tried to be a good sport about the rejection, but she didn't find playing with her same-gender teammates enjoyable.
After the boys rejected her a second time, she started playing "1v1" games instead. Bryan came to love 1v1s and kept track of her stats. "It was a very satisfying feeling—that was like my way of backhanding them and being like, 'Ha-ha! I could play with the big boys!'" she said. Bryan never let the discrimination bring her down because she knew she was skilled at the game, and she stood strong in the belief that everyone should be there for the same reason—to have fun.
Finding her home away from home
As she continued to play games and upload the occasional video to YouTube, Bryan came to enjoy creating her own little corner of the internet. As a lifelong gamer, she became fascinated with technology at a young age, especially when she took an introductory IT class in high school.
Years later, as Bryan followed in her mother's footsteps and arrived for her first day at Georgia Southern University, she signed up as a nursing major. "I was sittin' there at the presentation and the ladies were like, 'Yeah, y'all gonna become friends in nursin' school, but at the end of the day, it's a competition and only like 50 of you are gonna get in,'" Bryan said.
"I was like, 'Hoo-hoo, tough crowd—' I was talkin' to the girl next to me, 'Tough crowd, huh?' And she goes, 'Yes. It is,' very stern, and I was like, I don't belong here! So I just walked out."
That day, Bryan snuck into a parents' meeting for IT students, and went with her gut to change her major as soon as possible.
Diving into IT was one of the first decisions Bryan made that shifted her life and changed her easy-going attitude. From then on, she jumped into things she never would have before—all while her YouTube channel was slowly but steadily growing. Her parents didn't let her bring the Xbox to college, but she made videos whenever she visited home. With no console to play on and some free time after classes, Bryan didn't know what to do.
Walking through campus, Bryan and her older sister, Hayley, ran into the president and vice president of the Geeks n' Gamers club. Bryan said the club members were having a meeting that night, offering an invitation, and playing Super Smash Brothers. Immediately, she was sold.
Bryan continued going to meetings and playing games with the club members for hours on end. Within the next year, her sister convinced her to run for president. Bryan recalls that she thought "Why not, I probably won't get it, but just go ahead and throw a piece of paper in!". Although she recounted that she went into the election with no expectations or worries about the outcome, Bryan's peers crowned her the new president.
As she organized meetings, planned LAN events, and got to know all the Pokémon Go players and gaming try-hards on campus, Bryan had truly found her place in college. "I learned so much leadership-wise, and I learned—I was a bit of a pushover beforehand, and then I had people trying to fight me a bit," Bryan said. "I used to be one of those people who were just very chill, hanging back and now I'm just like, *hits table* 'You wanna start somethin'!?' I'll do it nicely of course, you know, it takes a lot for me to be like, 'Yo!'" *hits table again*
Bryan realized she wasn't afraid to speak her mind anymore, and even though people tried to bring her down, it made for a valuable experience.
Not just anonymous on the internet
As president of the gaming club and a part-time student IT technician, Bryan had the busiest time of her life in college. The club members knew Bryan was a YouTuber, but she never wondered about what others thought of her online presence.
Walking home from a club meeting one night, Bryan was recognized by a young man. "I had maybe 15,000 subscribers at the time, so I was like, I doubt he knows me from online, but that was the first time I got recognized or called NoisyButters in person," she said. To her surprise, though, the stranger said,"Yeah, you're Call of Duty Nosey Butters!"
Bryan said it was shocking to be acknowledged for her YouTube channel. It made her think back to life in 8th grade, when she played Call of Duty on a daily basis. During that time, her dad said "You need to go outside, you need to go to school and do well! What are you doing?" She replied "Dad! You don't get it! I'm really good at this, it's gonna be my job one day!"
At the time, Bryan's parents didn't believe YouTube could be a full-time job, but as her audience grew, she planned on proving them wrong. Bryan discovered a recruitment challenge for the esports team and lifestyle organization SoaR Gaming. With the same nonchalant attitude that led her to become the gaming club president, Bryan entered the contest without thinking anything of the outcome. To her surprise, she was picked to join the team as a content creator.
The SoaR team welcomed Bryan with open arms, taught her more about content creation and helped her land her first sponsorship with G Fuel. As a SoaR member for three years, Bryan became more consistent about her online presence and grew as a social media influencer.
Positivity and happiness
Bryan faced countless tiring days managing her social media and schoolwork, but she always made sure to share a positive attitude with her audience when she went live online. "I realized that being on the internet especially, a lot of people—especially as of recently—they really embrace that, 'Oh, I'm depressed. I'm a teenager on the internet and I'm sad,'" Bryan said.
She wants her audience to know it's okay to feel unhappy at times, but it should only be temporary—and she wants to help. "Yeah, of course, we get depressed and sad—of course we do, but you know, if even my tweet makes you smile even a little bit, I can say I succeeded, you know what I mean?" Bryan said.
Now a college graduate, Bryan has time to indulge in her YouTube channel and make a steady income. "A lot of content creators do the same thing every day: wake up, shower, make coffee or G Fuel—they sit down, they record, they edit, they upload, they stream—go to bed," she said.
Butters says she doesn't want her schedule to be as predictable, though. She's focused on doing something different every day, if she can. "Me time" for Bryan means watching a good movie, going to the lake, or even stopping by Starbucks. The variety is how she stays happy and never feels burnt out online.
As another way to take a break from recording videos in her room, Bryan travels for gaming events. To keep up her sniping skills and YouTube channel, she brings her ROG Strix SCAR III laptop along. "This laptop is a menace with an RTX 2070 and a 240Hz display, so when I'm away from my desktop, I still can complete all of my content creating tasks with the same amount of power," Bryan said. She also loves the notebook's RGB LEDs because they remind her of her setup at home when she's traveling.
Bryan works at her own pace and makes editing, planning and traveling her 9-to-5 job. With her life as a YouTuber, streamer and full-time gamer, there's no rush to get onto a more "traditional" career path. But she's proud she has her bachelor's degree, and she's confident that it can take her anywhere in the next chapter of her life. In the future, she sees herself working more behind-the-scenes, most likely with a job in Atlanta esports, where her passion is.
"I think for me and my plan with my career, I want to enjoy this content creation where I'm at right now," Bryan said. "I love making content. I love entertaining people. I love brightening people's days with positivity and happiness and all that."
by Olivia Wray