@mad_madame_em, 23 – FUNDED

Emily B. AKA @mad_madame_em has been playing games ever since she was a kid; her fondest memories are grinding on her PS2 or Nintendo DS after homework was done! And this variety streamer and BroadcastHER Academy winner’s love of gaming has only increased over the years. She has a particular affinity for Overwatch, Fortnite, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Kingdom Hearts — or anything with lots of action and narrative. But, she’s quick to say that her true gaming soulmate lies in the horror genre.

What is your dream in esports and gaming?

My dream is to learn all there is about esports and gaming event planning and management so that I can eventually work in that field, and then use that knowledge and experience to eventually help found and coordinate major esports and gaming events for women that occur on a regular basis.

I also want to be a voice for women of color, especially black women, who need representation and support in esports and content creation.

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 so much to me in that someone not only saw something in me, but also wants to support and encourage me in my endeavors in an industry and community that can sometimes feel hostile. I’ve met so many amazing people through esports and other gaming circles, and this experience will allow me to push for them to have space in this industry as well and take the knowledge I learn and bring it back to the communities I’m currently in.

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

One of the main things I believe that can help women be better represented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports is to have more programs and grants like this set up that provide both financial and networking support for those who want to take the next step towards their broadcasting goals. Something else I believe would be very beneficial would be to connect with schools and programs that are geared towards gaming or broadcasting to spread the word among circles that have maybe never considered a career in gaming before.

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

Something I’m most inspired by is the time I worked with the organization Girls Make Games during the summer and had the privilege to help teach young girls how to program and design their own games. Each and every one of them was so eager and enthusiastic to learn and practice and create, and every time I think back to the young ladies I got to meet and help improve their skills, it makes me smile all over again. And it doesn’t stop there, the fellow female gamers who I’ve come to know and consider friends have been so supportive and a source of inspiration! They have currently started their own initiative to teach themselves and support each other as they learn to code over the course of 100 days. All of them have their own unique skills and passions that make it almost impossible not to be impressed and want to do better yourself.

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

During my last few years of college, I joined our newly established Esports Club as a player for our Overwatch team. It was difficult being one of the few women on the team, and one of the still few women in the Esports Club overall. Often, I felt like I was not being listened to or acknowledged by other members, and the overall environment could be very toxic and non-supportive. While I’m still proud to have been one of the first female players on the team in the history of its inception, it felt isolating and lonely at times, and made me wish that I had the confidence to stand up for myself more often than I did.

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

The first big step is to hit the ground running; don’t be absorbed with having the best of the best equipment yet or breaking your wallet trying to stay up to date with the latest tech trends. Use what you have and THEN let your set-up grow with your progress as a broadcaster. Really identify from the start what your strengths and weaknesses are as you begin to develop content — whether that’s managing your own social media, knowing how to edit your own videos, or talking with and making connections with your viewers. Additionally, knowing when to make changes or when to take a break is key to keeping your broadcasts entertaining without burning yourself out. Giving your all can be exhausting, and you should know that it’s okay to take a break or change things up every now and then to keep yourself healthy and happy.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I write down my goals and track my progress weekly to identify what is working and what isn’t. If I see that there is something that is very popular or helpful, I’ll try to think of more ways to add that into the broadcast. Alternatively, if I see something is being a hindrance, I work even harder to identify what specifically isn’t good and then remove it as smoothly as possible or work to make it less of an issue. The multiple communities and groups I’m a part of are key to keeping me motivated. Both being supported, AND in turn giving support back, keeps you wanting to be the best version of yourself while at the same time boosting others up.