With more talent emerging in the esports scene, we want to highlight more individuals who are making strides in the industry.
We recently caught up with Zoey, AKA CasuallyCutie, about her time in esports and where she sees herself taking her career in the future.
Zoey is a woman of many talents, and has worked in esports production, casting, and was also a player during her time at university.
Everyone has a different story as to how they got into esports, and Zoey is no exception to that.
She said: “It’s a funny story actually, I was actually competing in the Women’s and Non-Binary category for the NUEL. I played a little bit in university, but I’ve actually played games for most of my life.”
Whilst Zoey started off as an avid player, this took a turn the more she began competing – and from there a new passion was born.
“In terms of playing, I moved away from the League of Legends tournament for the Women’s and Non-Binary part of The NUEL, so I said ‘hey, seeing as though I’m not playing, I might as well help run the streams and try and get some casting done’ – and my interest in the production side of esports really grew from there. Very lucky to have gotten where I am from that!” Zoey added.
More recently, Zoey was running the Unofficial NUEL streams, as well as leading production at Insomnia 69 for the Women in Esports Valorant show match.
Learning production skills:
One of the more complicated areas of esports to learn is production – as there is a lot that goes into understanding the equipment and making sure a stream or event goes smoothly.
Zoey has worked in production for a little while now, as has learnt these invaluable skills that will help her develop her career.
She explained: “The easiest way to learn something is to do it, and I have actually not had much formal training in production. Obviously I’ve had some guiding hands, especially in the university scene, but honestly the best way to learn is by doing it.
“The best way to get into the whole production side or casting side of esports is to just be passionate about projects and keep throwing yourself at opportunities, and you’ll find they come your way more often than you think,” Zoey added.
Player Vs Behind the Scenes:
Even though all roles within esports have their own perks, it can be useful to have hands-on experience in various areas to develop your understanding of the scene.
Throughout her career, Zoey has had experience as a player, caster, and in production – of which requires a significant amount of skills and development in each of these areas. However, Zoey found her passion to be more behind the scenes than on stage.
She said: “It’s definitely the behind the scenes stuff that I enjoy most at the moment. Playing and competing is its own great thing, but there’s something absolutely brilliant about putting on the show – maybe whilst also spotting those people who are better than me at the game!
“Being able to put those people on stage and put on a good show for everyone is what makes it so memorable. Obviously, competing as a player is really important and really fun, and being able to look back and be like ‘oh I remember on the stream when they spotlighted my kills’ so being able to look back on that is really great.
“As well as this, in production we get to show off such diverse talent, and that’s part of the reason why I started the Unofficial NUEL stream, because I really think these players deserve some recognition and deserve their chance in the spotlight. Being in a position to give people that opportunity is amazing, but also I get to mess around with all of the fun production stuff backstage which is always a good laugh,” Zoey explained.
With more women and non-binary individuals getting into the esports scene, there has been a significant increase in how inclusive and diverse the industry has become.
However, there are still steps that need to be taken – and Zoey is pushing those boundaries and providing insight to female representation in esports.
“In the industry as a whole, there’s always more room for more representation. It’s a lot better than it was in 2012 when being a woman playing a video game was a punchline rather than an opportunity. Especially at this university level scene, which I’m most familiar with, there’s a lot of inclusivity and there’s a lot of people genuinely pushing for that representation – which I think is really really important.
“Obviously things could be better, in that we shouldn’t be having this perception that if you’re a certain gender, you’re less able to play video games or be deserving of respect. I do hope, and I do believe, times are changing,” Zoey explained.
Predicting how the esports industry is going to run in the next few years is a difficult task, but Zoey has focused on her passion to decide where she wants to be in the future.
She said: “I’m just so passionate about this whole diversity movement right now, and obviously the more I can do, the more I can help make change. I hope I can keep doing all this in a sustainable manner, and wherever I end up, as long as I’m promoting the values I want to promote, and as long as I’m not compromising myself, I’ll be happy wherever I am.
“It doesn’t matter how small you start, just keep sticking at it. The more skills you learn, the more comfortable you get with yourself, and with that comes more confidence. The more you do it, the easier it gets so stick to it, and if you’re passionate about it and proud of what you are doing, you can only move on from that,” Zoey added.