@annimagining, 22 – FUNDED

You’ll mainly find @annimagining playing Overwatch, League of Legends, and chatting, but this JBL Quantum Grant winner has a wide variety of interests ranging from cosplay and anime, to anthropology, forensics, vintage fashion, and more!

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My dream is to be at the pinnacle of diversity, inclusion, and social impact in gaming by becoming a director at a major game development or media company — or a consultant on my own.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

It will help me build presence in the community and establish myself as someone who wants to make a change. This new technology — and the opportunity to meet others who are also striving for change — is exceptional.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

Being a recipient means everything to me, as it’s indicative that others not only see the change I am making or want to make, they believe in it. They’re helping me so that I can help others and it feels incredible!

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

Accessibility is a main component in getting women into gaming and esports. It goes beyond simply making sure women have access to games. It’s also ensuring that the games they play have controllers that fit their hands — or that the games’ plot points aren’t predominantly around violence against women. We need to make sure that the representation is meaningful.

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

As a multiple-identity minority, being disliked for features that I cannot change is often times inevitable. Streaming and simply having a platform irritates some people enough that they will try and shut me down via hate raids, fake accounts, and malicious comments. External forces like those are frustrating but tend to be the easiest to fight. Internal struggles such as imposter syndrome, being a student and needing funding for technology, and confidence are a bit more difficult.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

Simply existing in a space that some think isn’t “meant” for you is an act of rebellion. You’re making a change whether or not it feels like it. Frankly, I know that being in these industries can be exhausting. Yes, you’ll need tough skin, but also you’ll need a community to fall back on, to uplift you, and to teach you.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

Helping others truly helps me stay motivated. I simply dread the idea of little girls and non-binary people having to go through some of the obstacles I’ve faced in these communities. I want to make these places a safe space for everyone. There are times when I lose steam and people from my community reach out to me to check in or share their experiences and that truly invigorates me.