@aPastelWitch, 27 – FUNDED

Nessa — a.k.a. @aPastelWitch — is a “geeky, queer, sci-fi lovin,’ science witch” who lives in the Pacific Northwest. This BroadcastHER Grant recipient has a unique set of hobbies, including 3D printing, resin crafting, and dice making along with other DIY projects. Add to that list hiking and camping and tabletop role-playing games — oh, and a green thumb, so to speak, with 30-plus plants that serve as roommates!

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

As someone who’s queer, neurodivergent, and femme, I want to provide a community that’s conducive to these identities and unique struggles. By doing this, I hope to encourage others to curate their own spaces and do the same. We all have hobbies and interests that are important to friendship, but having a space where you can feel safe, validated, and supported by a community who understands your struggles isn’t always easy to find.

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

I’ve been streaming on a laptop and struggling with various tech issues over the past few years. Having the ability to build my first from-scratch PC will help out enormously on many, many levels and will allow me to work on projects without the issues I’ve been having to circumnavigate.

What does being a recipient mean to you?

It means my accomplishments have been validated; that I have made a positive impact on those around me in some way. It’s an honor to be included among so many who have also made waves and it shows me that I have as much potential as every other recipient.

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

This isn’t an easy question, because it goes beyond women and extends to those of us who are AFAB/AMAB and are nonbinary and/or trans women, femmes, and non-men. We need to have leadership that represents and understands the needs of each marginalized community. We need to continue to promote and thrive within these communities, helping each other as best we can — despite the challenges we all face.

We also need major social change and awareness to come from outside of our communities to really make an impact on the world. This will ensure that the change doesn’t become insular to bubbles of communities but, instead, is widespread for many different gamers and broadcasters across the globe.

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

There are literal challenges like tech issues and finding what works in streaming. But, I’ve had to deal with hurdles in gaining my own stability and worth as a femme streamer because the pressures of presenting or being or acting a certain way as someone who is feminine can be daunting — especially on stream.

There are many things about streaming and making yourself available online and to others that can create problems for your mental well-being — online and offline. In gaming communities and the internet in general, there’s a lot of social pressure to act certain ways and to speak or not speak for a variety of reasons.

Finding a safe community has also been challenging because not every person is as educated on certain issues; sometimes you don’t know whether to speak up or keep quiet at the expense of your own feelings and safety.

The hate and misogyny that comes from trolls is exhausting and having to keep firm boundaries with strangers and your own community is frustrating. It’s not easy to create and curate a space when there are many people who enjoy trolling and hurting others, but when you find your community, it can make dealing with all these things so much easier.

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

If you have something you want to do, go for it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because perfection is the enemy of good. Good enough is actually good enough, and you are good enough. There is always more content to make, more games to play, more ideas to come. Don’t hold yourself back when there’s a whole wide world waiting for you to explore and experiment in.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

It’s not always easy because of ADHD/neurodivergent problems. I think the best thing I’ve done for myself is learn to be flexible with my quirks and issues. We’re all working to our own beat, after all. I try to set up my spaces, clear distractions, and make work as fun as possible — or, at the very least, have a nice reward for finishing.

Collaborating with a group of people is a wonderful reward in and of itself, so participating in group activities that help me grow as an individual and in work has helped immensely.

Accountabili-buddies, friends, and a support system go a long way in helping you stay on track, even through problems!