@vilada, 24 – FUNDED

Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Ji Eon L. isn’t like some other streamers. And that’s because she cannot hear. The BroadcastHER Academy winner, who goes by @vilada on Twitch, wants to find ways to take action in the gaming industry to help improve how content reaches the deaf community. That’s because she’s realized first-hand that games, streams, and other content must become more innovative to be deaf-friendly and reach a wider audience. And, likewise, it’s also important for people who can’t understand sign language to know when streams are happening live, so that there are no barriers in communication.

What is your dream in esports and gaming?

My dream is to be a professional artist in esports and gaming. Also, I’ve always wanted to be a League of Legends streamer on Twitch to show that deaf people can do as much as hearing people. I have a dream where deaf watchers like me can enjoy people’s streams on Twitch, or videos anywhere, with closed captions.

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?

This grant is fundamental in helping me advance my career as a character designer and streamer. It will be used to buy art supplies as well as to update hardware.

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

We should create more opportunities for women, such as jobs in professional gaming, event management, networking events, and collaborations. By giving more opportunities to women, the gender gap will shrink and women will be able to enter the areas of gaming, broadcasting, and esports more comfortably.

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

Seeing women who are active in gaming, broadcasting, and esports in general is incredibly inspiring. I want to do the same for my audience and hopefully inspire others along the way.

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

I, along with others in the deaf community, have faced challenges with sound. Games and streams require sound, but we can’t hear it and subtitles may not be enough to convey everything that is happening. But sound is not the most important issue here; the issue is that game industries do not pay attention to or adapt well enough to meet deaf people’s needs.

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

Do what you love and remember to love yourself. In a male-dominated community, you may face challenges but don’t let anyone change who you are.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I stay focused on my goals by watching YouTube or Netflix, where I often find new ideas. These ideas help me to stay motivated and to re-evaluate my goals from time to time.