@wemakeup_steam, 21 – FUNDED

Her name’s Chai (pronounced kaī), but she tells everyone to call her Makeup! And, that’s fitting because this JBL Quantum Grant winner combines the art of makeup, STEAM, and video games in an entertaining fashion, streaming an array of things on Twitch, where you can find her at @wemakeup_steam.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My dream is to provide a platform for young Black women and other marginalized communities to thrive! By demonstrating my prowess in casting, gaming, and overall esports knowledge, I will encourage others around me to take a chance and get into the community!

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

This grant will help propel me to my goal of creating a beauty talk show online while supporting my broadcasting skills for competitive tournaments. It will also help me save money for graduate and professional school.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

It offers opportunities beyond my wildest dreams! Getting the chance to connect with other women and non-men in gaming and receive mentorship from JBL Quantum partners is something that I am so thankful for.

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

Stand up for each other! Support systems are key, especially for those who are in underrepresented communities. Uplifting each other in this industry can do wonders.

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

One of the major challenges I’ve come across in esports is being able to stand confidently as a minority in a majority white and male-led industry. I am the only Black woman on the executive board and only one of three in my collegiate esports organization, so it can feel daunting to speak up and bring new perspectives to the table — regardless of my previous work experience.

It has also been extremely difficult trying to allocate money to my passion, as I lost my main source of income at the beginning of the pandemic. I had to put my stream upgrades on hold for a full year. Now that I have a new job in the industry, I would like to finally improve my stream while still saving money for graduate school with the help of this scholarship.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

Take a risk and trust your gut — always. I wouldn’t have applied to opportunities like this one and done the things that I am most proud of so far in my gaming and student career if I hadn’t taken a risk!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

It’s always worth remembering who you’re doing this for, whether if it’s for yourself, your loved ones, or the people who you wish to inspire in the future. It is also important to listen to your body and take breaks, as needed!! You cannot drive a car on an empty tank, and the same goes with your body. Treat your body with care at all times — especially if you’re feeling low on energy.