@KaylaMarieTea, 29 – FUNDED

Variety streamer @KaylaMarieTea focuses on adventure and horror games in dystopian settings. But, you might also see a cameo from her two “handsome cat children,” she says. “They make frequent appearances for an extra hit of dopamine.”

This BroadcastHER Academy winner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 — and that is actually what inspired her journey into content creation. Throughout her treatments, she spent time watching gaming commentary on YouTube and turned to Twitch as a starting point in May of that year. Once she began, she realized she enjoyed the live discussion aspect of Twitch. This platform has given her an outlet where she can pursue her passion!

She hopes that anyone who stops by has a comfy time and can smile, scream, laugh, or cry right along with her.

What is your dream in esports and gaming?

My ultimate dream is to positively impact lives through the entertainment I create as well as pursue a future in the storytelling aspect of the video game industry. I am excited to be able to create better quality in my videos and streaming with this grant, which will be another step towards making a name for myself and reaching a wider audience.

What does being the BroadcastHER Academy winner, which includes a $1,000 grant and all-expense-paid visit to the HyperX Esports Arena to shadow, mean to you and how will it help you reach your goals?

It means that I do have value and can inspire others to keep chasing their dreams, regardless of age. As I am in the older age group who streams on Twitch, I’m going to prove that there is a place for women of all ages in this industry! By being chosen, it gives me the encouragement that I do have what it takes and I can show it through what I’ve done over the past four years in broadcasting. I think being able to go the HyperX Arena will be just another wonderful experience and opportunity to see yet another side of the gaming community that I’m not as knowledgeable about, so I can be even more well-rounded.

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

I’ve noticed a wonderful shift over the past decade of women supporting women instead of competing against one another for spots in this community. There is enough space for ALL of us in the gaming industry. However, it will also take those voices being not only strongly represented, but elevated — especially BIPOC women and LGBTQIA+. Oftentimes, the support and visibility of women doesn’t extend to the non-binary and BIPOC groups when it needs to!

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

It is inspiring just to have the ability to potentially show someone else that they belong. Many of us face struggles with imposter syndrome and a feeling of not having a place or the ability to fit in. If I can show someone else that it is okay and that they belong, that encourages me.

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

Over the years, I’ve definitely faced waves of targeted harassment and what people would consider “bullying.” But, really, the hardest challenge in starting this path was overcoming cancer. I began streaming due to my diagnosis and it did take some time to feel healthy and well enough to put the work in that I truly wanted to make my channel what it is now.

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

I would like to tell women, especially women nearing their thirties, that it’s not too late. I’m almost 30 myself, and the media has really beaten us down and tried to make women feel like they expire at a certain age or that they are too old to be successful after a certain point. It’s just not true. So the advice is really to not put that expiration date on yourself; don’t sell yourself short. You are not too old, you have not expired, and your dreams still matter!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I really rely on my friends, who are on the same path as I am and have similar goals, to keep me in check. Seeing my friends succeed and really reach for new opportunities is such a strong motivator because, if they can put in the work and energy, so can I! It’s wonderful being surrounded by such strong women that I’ve met through streaming.