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 Leah Alexandra, Streamer, Content Creator, Host, and Voice Actress, about her time in the industry.
The full committee interview with Leah is available on the British Esports YouTube channel, or through the link below.
Q1. What is your favourite food?
“Oh this is the worst question! Generically, pizza I guess. Wait no, ramen. I love ramen too, but we’ll go with that.”
Q2. What is the best game you have ever played?
“It’s a difficult question because it’s like the best game ever played versus the favourite, and I feel like they’re slightly different. My favourite game is Final Fantasy 7, but every time I think of the best game I’ve ever played, I always think of NieR Replicant because it’s just so good. So yeah, between those two.”
Q3. What is the worst game you’ve ever played?
“So for me, it would be Smite. I actually really like Smite as a game, but it made me into a terrible person. The competitive side, the community, everything – it just made me into a horrible person, so that’s probably my answer.”
Q4. PC or Console?
“Oh it’s definitely PC for me. I used to be an Xbox-only girl when I didn’t have a PC, but over the years I’ve become a PC gamer and I don’t think I can look back.”
Q1. How did you get started in esports?
“So eight years ago now, I started streaming on Twitch, and it was just a little bit of fun really. I just thought it would be quite enjoyable to hop on and maybe get a group of people who enjoy what I was doing together. It really blew up from there very very quickly, to the point where I was sustaining everything entirely. It was just a few months, and my whole income was just streaming from that point and it was wild.
“From then, I’ve been fortunate to access every single corner of the gaming industry, and I’ve worked with various different brands in esports. I’ve been to a fair few esports events, like I was lucky enough to go and watch the Overwatch League live in LA which was really awesome. It’s really really cool because you get a taste for every community, and you really get to see how many different varieties of gamers there are. So yeah, I’ve been a variety streamer for as long as I can remember!”
Q2. When did you realise that you wanted a career in esports?
“I think the thing with gaming and esports in particular is that there’s always drive and motivation to be better and keep going and to evolve and to see what the next big thing is going to be, and that’s really enticing. I’m somebody who loves trying new things, like I love ever-evolving work because I don’t like sticking to one thing. So I think with that, the esports world is really nice because there’s always something exciting going on, and I’ve known for a long time that gaming is what I love.
“It’s got this intersection of competition, arts, passion, incredible artistry, and experiences all brought into one thing and it means something different for everybody. There’s not many creative endeavours that really hit all the notes that gaming hits, and esports is just an extension of that – the passion that is involved in the esports community is unrivalled.”
Q3. What is your biggest achievement in your career so far?
“I have an NPC in a game, so that’s pretty cool. I’m in Dying Light, and I have an NPC character that talks to you if you go and talk to them! That’s a pretty big achievement for me to like being in a game, as that’s the end goal right? If you start in the gaming industry as someone who just plays games and loves them, then to eventually be in a game is very very cool.”
Q4. How does it feel to be part of the Women in Esports committee?
“It’s really cool because every single person who’s part of the committee comes from a very different background within gaming, and everyone’s got a very different past experience with gaming as well. It’s really interesting because everyone’s got a really different perspective, and it’s really important to find that diversity of opinion and experience. It’s necessary when you’re trying to find out ways to make gaming more appealing and interesting to anybody who might feel pushed out of it, and I think the fact that we have so many different people who are so passionate is so cool.”
Q1 – Do you feel as though women and marginalised genders are represented well enough in the industry?
“I suppose when it comes to representation, I think we are getting there in terms of games. I think we are very well represented at this point, we have an incredible amount of really awesome women characters in games, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
“WIthin esports itself, in terms of the competitive level, I think there’s obviously still work to be done, and I’ve always said it’s a long-term thing. You can present as many opportunities as you want for women to step up and be part of a competitive scene, and the argument is that women ‘aren’t good enough’ and that’s why they don’t compete. They always come back to this, and it takes a long time for women to feel comfortable to put themselves out there in a space that is often hostile. It does get better but the more fuss you make about it, the more people push back against you.
“There’s a lot of women that will not want to play ranked game modes because of experience they’ve had and it blows my mind that people are still trying to deny that happens when every single woman who’s played any sort of competitive game has had that exact experience. Creating spaces for women to just dip their toes in is just really important and necessary to then open up a wide world of esports.”
Q2.What are your thoughts on female-only tournaments in comparison to co-ed?
“Female-only tournaments really allow for people who would have never tried the competitive side of gaming to dip their toes into a space where it feels a bit less hostile. Having these experiences where you can say ‘here’s a competitive thing where you’re going to feel a bit more comfortable because you’re not having to worry about this whole other element of people being awful’ is great, and it’s all about the games.
“It’s actually a pretty big deal to remove that entire element from it and for it to just be about gaming, but there’s going to be a little bit of toxicity because there is always banter – that’s just how it is. So having tournaments and spaces that are women-only is awesome, because it means you just get to experience that competitive world without having this cloud hanging over your head – and once you have that confidence, then you feel capable and able to move into other spaces that maybe don’t have gender limitations.”
Q3. What would you like to see change specifically to make esports more inclusive?
“I feel like we are going in the right direction, and there’s a really good amount of representation of women already, and there’s a lot of effort being made by companies for female talent, like hosts and casters and roles outside of just players. I think it’s mostly just a case of encouraging grassroot level esports organisations to let people feel comfortable playing with their friends and then feel comfortable moving into competitive things with teams and more organised structures.
“So starting right from the bottom, I think this is the most important thing you can do, and I think we need to make sure there’s more of that. I’m making sure that it’s promoted as are a lot of grassroots initiatives, but as somebody who has an audience
I can promote things too. It’s the hardest thing in the world to get information out there, but finding ways to disseminate that information and make more people aware of those opportunities is the thing we should be doing now.”
Q4. What does Women in Esports, and the committee, mean to you?
“For me, it’s just another stepping stone following the route of just letting people explore their passions, letting people explore their skills, and allowing people to have the opportunity to figure out what those skills and passions are. It’s like when you’re looking at university at the age of 18, and you don’t know what your skills and passions are necessarily. It’s only when I got to my late 20s did I realise what I enjoyed doing, what I was good at doing, and who I am as a person.
“Women in Esports as an overall idea is about providing most people with an opportunity to learn about themselves. If that means there’s more women in esports tournaments, awesome, and if it means that there isn’t because there is a natural disinclination, then that’s fine too. It’s all about making sure there is an opportunity there.”
If you want to learn more about Leah, you can check out her 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 hub on our website for more content.