@AbsoluteSodium, 20 – FUNDED

New York-based Emily O., who goes by @AbsoluteSodium on Twitch, started competitively gaming shortly before her first year of college in 2017. Since that time, this BroadcastHER Academy winner has become the Overwatch Captain at SUNY Canton where she also is studying video game design and development.

This bright and lighthearted gamer has big dreams of hitting the professional e-sports scene before she graduates. But, she is just as passionate about creating content that encourages more women and minorities to get involved in e-sports.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My dream is to inspire young women — and women of all ages — to push themselves to reach their goals. I want to document my journey from a casual gamer to a full-blown professional athlete. I want to let women know that they can do it if I can do it.

What does being the recipient of the BroadcastHER Grant mean to you and how will it help you reach your goals?

I am awestruck that I was chosen as a recipient of the grant. When I found out, I literally jumped with joy! With this grant, I will be able to upgrade the quality of my streams. Being a recipient also further solidifies my legitimacy and reinforces how seriously I take e-sports and women in gaming.

Women are underrepresented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports. What can we do to change this?

It is important that we don’t force gender roles on children at a young age and give them the resources necessary to chase their e-sports dreams. You always hear stories about talented high-school football players who are destined to get college scholarships and make it into the NFL. But you never hear stories about up-and-coming e-sports players. We need to start planting these seeds at a young age. It is okay to love games; it is okay to be a female gamer.

What are you most inspired by when it comes to creating encouraging content for young women in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports?

I am most inspired by my favorite streamers — especially when I see how they can brighten my day and when I see a happy and healthy community who supports them. I want to make encouraging content for young women that makes an entire generation smile on their darkest days and inspires them to chase their dreams.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

As a female gamer at a high competitive level, I’ve had all kinds of bad words, slander, and sexist remarks thrown at me during my journey from a casual silver gamer to a competitive Masters athlete and captain of a college team. You know something is wrong when you enter a competitive game and are too scared to turn your mic on — strictly out of fear for what the men who are playing on your team will say to you when they find out you are a girl.

What advice do you have for women who want to start broadcasting?

Keep streaming! Keep creating content! I am a part of several all-female Facebook groups and discords dedicated to streamers, creators, and casual players. As you grow and learn as a content creator, so will your fan base. Never give up and never stop creating.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

My teammates and my coach are my biggest motivators. When I am feeling down or when I get tilted and upset at a game, my teammates are always there for me. To see how far we have come under my guidance as their captain, helps push me forward. My players let me know that it’s okay to not feel the best and to not always be on my A game; they are always there to listen if I have a problem.