The Real People of AltspaceVR: Meet Crystal

Last year, Crystal put on a VR headset and it changed her world.

Naturally anxious and perpetually shy around new people in the physical world, she found a safe space in VR where she and friends that are “just like me” can be who they are “without feeling trapped.” “It’s a different dimension,” Crystal says, “one that I can be comfortable in.”

Not only does she find safe spaces in VR, she creates them. Crystal has been hosting public events, Friday night parties, and group sing-alongs for the past year, inviting newcomers to join old friends at the virtual reality bar she designed on her own.

Her gatherings have given hundreds of people the chance to meet across time zones and geographies, an opportunity she sees as something like magic. “I see my VR life as a way to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. I’m too shy to go to a real party, but I can host one in VR. I can’t go across the world in real life, but I can in VR. I have trouble connecting with others in my everyday life, but I can really get to know them in VR.”

In the new year, Crystal plans on hosting more events to bring her ever-expanding group of friends together. Putting on a VR headset may have changed her world last year, but now it’s she that’s changing the world for her community.