Get to know the Women in Esports Committee – Billie Purdie

Image depicts Billie Purdie at XL HQ in London at the Women in Esports Committee meeting in September 2022.

With the Women in Esports committee recently expanding, the initiative is continuing to grow and blossom.

But, who are the people behind the Women in Esports committee?

In this series, we highlight each member of the committee, their role in esports, and how they view female and marginalised gender representation in the industry. For this spotlight, we spoke to Women in Esports Manager, Billie Purdie, about her time in the industry, and experiences as a woman in the competitive scene.

The full committee interview with Billie is available on the British Esports YouTube channel, or through the link below.

Quickfire Questions:

Q1. What is your favourite food?

“See, I was thinking about this one in the shower this morning, and I feel like because I really like it right now, I’m gonna go with Mexican food. It’s just like all the flavours, all the sauces, and like I love anything in wraps.

“So I’m vegetarian, so for me to be like ‘oh yeah I like Mexican food’ is probably a bit of a surprising answer – but when vegetarian Mexican is done right, it’s really good.”

Q2. What is the worst game you have ever played?

“So it wasn’t the worst game at the time, but now that I think about it, it was a terrible game. When I was younger I would play this game called Pandemonium, and I can’t remember if it was on PlayStation 1 or PlayStation 2, but it was terrible. It was so difficult as well for something that was supposed to be accessible to kids to play. I had to get my older cousin to complete it for me because I just could not!”

Q3. If you could hold an esports event anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

“I’m gonna say Japan because it would give me an excuse to visit. The culture and esports culture over there is wild, and I really want to see what it’s like!”

Q4. PC or Console?

“I think this is kind of easy for me to answer. As soon as I built a PC in lockdown, I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, console is what I started on, and console is what got me into gaming, and like even to this day I do enjoy playing on my Nintendo Switch. But, it’s just PC over console everyday, you can do so much on your PC like you can have Discord or Spotify open on your second monitor whilst you’re playing games.”

General Questions:

Q1. How did you get started in esports?

“This could be a long story, but I’ll keep it short. So I didn’t really primarily start in esports, I kind of started as a streamer on Twitch back in 2019 and 2020. I really wanted to start engaging with the online community and gaming community because all through high school I was kind of a closet gamer, but the older I got the less I started to care. I think when lockdown kind of kicked in during 2020, it really allowed me to feel as though I could be more myself, which is when I really got into streaming.

“I had started working for The Goose House as a volunteer Tournament Admin and Community Admin, and that was just modding the Discord and Twitch chat, as well as working on the Birds of Prey series. From The Goose House, I very quickly moved into Esports Scotland as an Events Coordinator, and from that I worked on their Scottish Esports League (SEL4 in particular) which was an amazing Scottish esports event and was really a sort of trajectory for esports within Scotland. From there I moved up to Community Manager, and this was all while still working part time at Starbucks and doing a degree. 

“After that, I had been asked if I had applied to the Women in Esports Manager role, and so I handed in an application pretty late, meanwhile still working on all these other projects, and yeah, here I am having been offered the full time role and I’ve never really looked back.”

Q2. When did you realise you wanted a career in esports?

“When I was an Events Coordinator and Head Admin at SEL 4 for VALORANT, and just seeing it go from being an online qualifier stage to actually being at the LAN event in person and seeing the outcome of the community that had come to watch VALORANT. Finals were very surreal for me, and just seeing all of these people come together from different areas, different backgrounds, I thought this is the sort of place that I want to be in and these are my people because they get it. 

“I had spent so much of my life as a closested gamer, but now I just embrace it. SEL was the first sort of moment I had put myself out there in the spotlight of ‘this is me’, and I’ve just never looked back from there – I want to be in this industry for the rest of my life.”

Q3. What is your biggest achievement in your career so far?

“I feel like there’s a lot of things that we’ve done at Women in Esports that have been exceptional. I think for me so far, the highlight moment whilst being with Women in Esports was the showmatch at Insomnia 69. Not just for Women in Esports, but for me personally, being up there on the stage with girls that had competed in Game Changers, and just being able to bring so many different people together to compete to show that women are here, and women are going to be within the space – it was just a great experience.”

Q4. How does it feel to be part of Women in Esports, and the committee, to help grow the initiative?

“Good, and it feels inspiring. I feel so lucky and so blessed to get to work with so many amazing women every day, which to me a couple of years ago, I didn’t even know or have any women to look up to in the space and I didn’t know it was an option to me.

“I didn’t know that gaming and esports was a suitable career option, so to be able to be openly out there and doing what I love every single day with amazing people within the space, it does feel really inspiring and honouring to an extent also. Being here amongst people that I admire is really inspiring.”

Representation Questions:

Q1. Do you feel that women and marginalised genders are represented well enough in esports?

“At the moment, not necessarily, but I think it’s improving. I think representation across the board, not just in esports, is becoming less of an issue, and people are beginning to see themselves in these positions based off of other people in those positions. I think that’s a great thing, and I think that’s exactly what we need.

“As generations go on, we’re only getting more open-minded and optimistic. I think we are not where we need to be yet, I don’t think we are completely equal in a sense, but I do believe representation is getting better.”

Q2. What are your thoughts on female-only tournaments versus co-ed?

“I was so ready for this question! So many people have said they were so against it, but for me I can see both sides of the argument. I personally have always been very much for women and marginalised gender-only tournaments – I think you need that safe space and environment to grow and to show your capabilities within the scene.

“But, why not both, what’s wrong with having both? You’re not taking anything away from the sort of main or open scene, and it’s providing people with a safe space to go to should they want to utilise it. It’s a great place for people to make friends, to feel comfortable, and to develop their skills. Not just that, but to also start shining a light on these women that wouldn’t necessarily maybe even go into gaming or esports because there was no space for them.”

Q3. What would you like to see change in the industry to promote further inclusivity?

“I want to see more organisations being held accountable for what they are doing in the diversity and inclusivity area – that’s not just for esports and gaming, that’s across the board in my opinion. I feel as though DEI is such a checkbox for so many organisation and it’s a one and done thing, and this is something that people have to deal with every single day of their lives, whether that’s gender, ethnicity, disabilities, or age – there’s so many people facing struggles every day when it comes to being included in things in the workplace.

“It’s something that isn’t just a checkbox, and it is serious, and I feel as though it’s not being taken seriously by these top-line organisations. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of organisations are doing their bit, and that’s what we need because it needs to start from the top. It can’t just be us down here at the bottom and shouting and pushing about it.”

Q4. What does Women in Esports mean to you?

“Women in Esports to me is not just about gender, Women in Esports to me is a message to send across all areas – whether that be your gender, your age, ethnicity, any disabilities to get everyone involved in esports. Yes, the name’s Women in Esports, but to me the mission behind it is that everyone should be welcome here, and are all included no matter what your differences are, and I will back that to the day I die.

“I feel as though esports is the space where people can be included, it should be one of the most inclusive activities possible. Women in Esports, and the committee, says hope for the future; it’s not just work for me, it’s my morals, and I just want to keep making sure that everyone knows there is a space for them, and there are people here fighting your corner.”

If you want to learn more about Billie, you can follow her on Twitter, or watch the full committee interview over on the British Esports YouTube channel.

Eager to learn more about Women in Esports, and the committee? Make sure to follow the Women in Esports social accounts for the latest news, as well as the committee hub on our website for more content.

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