@TessThe5th, 26 – FUNDED

For @TessThe5th, gaming is life. The variety streamer has dealt with some significant challenges, but her mantra for 2021 is to be her own #1 fan — and that’s what is keeping this BroadcastHER Grant winner motivated and focused on her goals and dreams.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My dream is to encourage people, especially BIPOC, to always be authentically themselves within a world that pressures us to fit within its standards.

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

I now have monetary support to make the abstract ideas I write down concrete and present them as professionally as possible.

What does being the recipient of the BroadcastHER Grant mean to you?

It serves as encouragement and as a sign that I can fulfill my purpose in this life. Receiving this grant was the kick in the butt I needed to go full throttle on my path as a creator.

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

The outdated, ignorant, and toxic mentality that women do not play video games and/or that women believe “video games are childish” needs to end. It starts by holding companies accountable to put people in charge who don’t have an immature mindset to believe such a thing and who don’t use their position or power to gate-keep these fields by preventing or limiting women from entering the industry.

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

In broadcasting, I’ve experienced racist remarks and have found I usually experience attacks for being Black more than being a woman. But, unfortunately for trolls, they never win because I love myself too much and enjoy what I do too much to let those miserable beings take my joy away. The real challenges have been some deep personal struggles, including dealing with depression and deaths.

My hardest battles usually have been with my pride as I used to hate asking for help because I felt as if I was burdening people. I also would usually hold in my emotions, piling up inside of me and only being freed in the form of violent outbursts. However, 2020 was when I hit my breaking point with the loss of a friend and a cousin, and for about three to four months, I felt like a walking shell of flesh. Thankfully, I’ve taken steps to dig out of that mental hole, so I’m in a much better headspace now. All I can do at this point is live my life in the hopes I make them proud.

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

You are just as deserving to occupy this space. Turn that stream on. Don’t ever let insecure people bully you out of this space either. If broadcasting is what you love, don’t be afraid to fight the naysayers who believe you don’t belong here. Don’t let anyone succeed in taking what you love away from you because there are people who can only find happiness by taking yours away.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Hyping myself up, putting myself out there, and being “selfish.” No more putting more energy into others yet receiving barely a tenth of that same energy back. Instead, that 150% is going back into making sure I grow, making sure the dreams and opportunities I thought were impossible ARE possible.