Gaming personality Drew “Frozone” Bienusa comes from humble beginnings: going to baseball games with his dad, wrestling on his high school team, and eventually winning Call of Duty tournaments in his hometown.
As you might expect, Frozone is now a Twitch streamer. He does streamer things like play Call of Duty: Warzone, talk with chat, and rage from time to time. But who is the person behind the personality?
Well, after about three o’clock in the afternoon, Frozone wraps up his stream, turns off his neon, and settles in for a quiet afternoon chilling with his girlfriend and pet dog while they watch movies. Once the stream’s over, Frozone gets to kick back and just be Drew Bienusa.
“I don’t really live a crazy life,” Frozone explains. “I just stream and play.”
We sat down with the charismatic creator to learn his story, driving principles, and plans for the future. We came away from the interview understanding how Frozone manages to stay so chill.
Frozone lives a quiet, calm life off-webcam: he doesn’t even game that much, with the exception of messing around in Diablo 3 with friends. To understand Frozone’s nonchalant, laid-back approach to streaming and living life, we can trace it back to his roots.
Growing up in Minnesota with his folks, Frozone became really passionate about baseball long before he shrugged his shoulders and decided to become a streamer.
“For the longest time, I kept telling myself that I was going to be a professional baseball player,” Frozone said. “But I stopped playing baseball in eighth grade.”
Nonetheless, baseball and sportsmanship were defining parts of Frozone’s childhood. Frozone’s father would take the boy along with the rest of the family to camp out and see their local MLB team, the Minnesota Twins.
“Every single year we would go see the Minnesota Twins play. We’d tent up, stay overnight, you know, sleep outside.” Camped out in the frigid Minnesota night air, Frozone adapted to the chill temperature and calm ambiance, transforming cold nights into warm memories.
Frozone was very upfront: at that time, school just wasn’t his deal. The stiff pressure of academic work and the crushing pressure of loans kept him at bay. “I just didn’t really want to go to college just because, you know, school just wasn’t for me,” Frozone said. “I was always just trying to do little things on the internet.”
As Frozone aged, baseball was swapped out with Call of Duty competitions, where he came into his own as a gamer. Like anyone’s parents in the late-2000’s/2010’s, Frozone’s family saw gaming as a way just to pass time, and even though they didn’t know he was going to make a career out of gaming, they were still “Super, super, super supportive.” Frozone credits this support for much of his recent success.
Soon, though, the kid won an Xbox One shortly after the console’s launch at a local Call of Duty Ghosts free-for-all. To quote Frozone directly: “It was kinda sick,” and “that right there is one of the best feelings in the world, man.” The Xbox One win showed Frozone he could really make something of himself in the gaming world.
But while the Xbox win helped inspire Frozone some, Frozone was truly inspired and influenced by one Nick Mercs of FaZe clan. “He’s definitely been a big role model because he does so much for his community. He’s like probably my number one guy.”
In fact, Mr. Mercs is so much Frozone’s number one guy that he inspired Frozone to shrug his shoulders and stream. “I was like, dude, screw it. I’m good at the game, people think I’m somewhat goofy or funny or whatever,” Frozone said. “If I’m gaming and I already have the equipment, I might as well just stream.”
Specifically, Frozone admires how Nick Mercs develops his relationship with his Twitch chat through giveaways and charity. In fact, Frozone got to emulate that giving spirit this last December by raising $3,100 for a Toys-for-Tots drive he hosted through his stream.
“Dude, if my community could come together with a couple weeks’ notice and some incentives, we could do something crazy,” Frozone explained. “We could really make a difference.”
Frozone has since incorporated streaming into his daily routine. He got his Twitch partner status back in 2017 and started streaming full-time at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. With the competition so fierce, he’s just happy that he made it. “It might have been easier when I first got [Twitch Partner] because there wasn’t so much competition,” he explains. The high-pressure world of comparative stream analytics isn’t really Frozone’s scene.
Rather than delving deep into streamer competition, Frozone feels much more at home in a slower-paced, humble space. Talking of his switch to full-time streaming, he explains, “It’s definitely a big milestone for me, but after that it’s kind of like whatever, it’s just time to go to the next milestone, the next goal.”
“It’s just a daily routine thing like how people make their coffee, put on their shoes, go for a jog, or whatever,” Frozone explains. “I turn on my lights, turn on my neon sign, turn my camera on, and boom, I’m ready to turn the stream on.”
It’s a mode, it’s a mood, it’s a comfortable spot to slip into: streaming for Frozone is as easy as a cup of hot cocoa on a Minnesota camping night. Maybe it’s a kind of flow state Frozone is able to create: sprint, shoot, look at chat, say a quip, back to running and gunning in CoD Warzone. But even more than that, Frozone creates a space where all are welcome, a place of chill vibes and cool music amidst a turbulent and often unpredictable time. A “Fro Zone,” if you will.
Frozone wasn’t able to pin down an exact reason as to why streaming comes so easily to him other than the simple conclusion that “People are there for me and watch me play Warzone.” But Frozone, like all humble people, needs others to hype him up, and we’re more than willing to take on that mantle. Frozone has transformed his cool, calm and collected persona into a community all its own. Now, on any given day, you can find a couple kids on Twitch waiting for his stream right before he goes live, camped outside his channel. And that’s pretty cool.