@elliejoypanic, 27 – FUNDED

Ellie (she/her) — @elliejoypanic on Twitch — is a queer, charity-focused content creator and former game developer whose content mainly focuses on playing hard and soft games. This BroadcastHER Grant winner‘s community radiates wholesome, chaotic energy — and she is a fierce advocate for marginalized communities.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

I want to help others create the safe, welcoming, comfy, and inclusive spaces that I have the honor of being a part of online; to continue to raise awareness and funds for causes that mean so much to me and my community that don’t necessarily get the attention they need and deserve; and to mess around playing games while I do all that! I am so proud of the community I’m continuing to build and grow, and I want to help others feel proud of what they’re building, too — and encourage more people to use their platforms for kindness and good.

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

It means I finally get to dedicate some time and energy to myself, so I can move forward into this year with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I give so much to others through my charity streaming that my attention on my content, setup, and self has wavered. This grant has given me the means to upgrade parts of my setup, channel, and content that have been sorely neglected over the last few years — and it has also provided me with the means to kickstart my fundraising this year!

What does being a recipient mean to you?

There’s a certain level of humility it brings, being considered for this grant amongst such an amazing, inspiring group of people, and joining the incredible group of previous recipients, too —many of whom I greatly admire. I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of this.

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

Step back to let them take up more space. So often people think they’re doing the right thing just by having people of marginalized genders in their company or friendship group, but being an ally is so much more than that. It’s about standing up and calling people out when they talk over us; it’s about carving out spaces where we feel comfortable and supporting our growth and journeys, while seeking our expertise for something other than being marginalized. It’s about taking a step back from opportunities and putting the amazing folks forward who wouldn’t get a look otherwise — and cheering them on when they crush it.

When more people start better supporting people of marginalized genders, we will stay in these spaces for longer, and help support and inspire more people like us in the space, too. We must empower people, uplift them, amplify their voices, and make them feel safe.

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

Aside from the usual side helping of misogyny with my content creation?! I’d say a challenge is not comparing myself to others and not doubting my abilities. Everyone is at different points in their journeys, and it took me the longest time to feel comfortable in my own skin and be happy with where I’m at. I’m still not fully there — content creation sure does love to throw curveballs sometimes. But I’ve come a long way in having confidence in myself and my content!

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

Be your genuine, authentic self, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries with people who challenge that. There is only one you, so be that person in all your glory and you will find your people. Don’t temper yourself or change for anyone. Your uniqueness is so incredibly valuable.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

With lots of coffee! :) In all seriousness, it’s easy to stay motivated when I’m surrounded by so many incredible people doing amazing things in the content creation space. They’re so inspiring and make me want to be better. They make it easy. I also swear by taking regular breaks to let my brain recharge. It’s so difficult to switch off and disconnect as a creator, so forcing myself to take a week off every three months means I can come back with renewed vigor and enthusiasm!