@TheHotdish, 28 – FUNDED

@TheHotdish is a full-time broadcaster, community manager, host, and TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) player. You can find this BroadcastHER Academy winner elbow-deep in Minecraft, sobbing about the end of Lost, or swooning over Jeff Goldblum.

What is your dream in esports and gaming?

I’d love to become a larger community manager who brings gamers and broadcasters together.

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?

Honestly, it’s the validation that I’m doing something right in the gaming community that means the most. I think a lot of people go through that. The “am I doing enough?” question is something I think about after every stream or event I host. I plan to use the grant money to build my stream space into something that feels more professional as well as cover travel fees to post-COVID conventions where I can start talking with companies and building a professional network.

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

I want women to feel like the gaming community is a safe space for them — that they don’t have to worry about being harassed when they join that squad of randoms or hit the “Go Live” button.

We need to come down hard on those who think it’s funny to degrade women for the sake of their own entertainment. We do this through education. We do this by drowning out the voices of those who’d patronize women gamers with the voices of those who seek to build them up, give them platforms, and normalize critical discourse about representation in our games and where it could be better.

For instance, there is no reason for video games to not offer both a male and female main character option — at the bare minimum. I’ve already started seeing game developers and companies openly discussion the importance of representation and shutting down those who think “games with women in the lead don’t sell.” I want to see more feminists as game developers, character designers, and more who go out of their way to avoid over-sexualization of women in games. 

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

I’m constantly inspired by the way other women in the industry are finding their voices and speaking out against discrimination, misrepresentation, and harassment every day. I see women supporting women. I see women calling for change and not putting up with anything less. It is so empowering and encouraging to be a part of this current climate shift in gaming right now.

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

I am a gaming broadcaster. I play video games in a pro-male environment. I have experienced countless incidents where a male has entered in my chat or community and felt entitled to micro-manage my gameplay — and I specifically say “male” here because I have yet to experience this with a known female-presenting viewer.

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

The best way I can put it is this: You have to be stubborn. There are going to be people every day who want you to fail because you present as female. You are powerful and have the ability to empower others just by hitting “Go Live.” Remember that when someone comes in and tries to tear you down.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Lists, snacks, whisky, and lots of virtual hugs. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a wonderful support system comprised of my husband, AFK friends, mods, and community members. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel incredibly lucky to have them there supporting me, reminding me of things I’ve forgotten to do, or just saying hello in chat.