We’re excited to feature a major player in not only the gaming community but someone who’s also a veteran in the modeling world. A woman who is inspiring as she is beautiful. A woman who is as skillful as she is kind. A woman who could take you down in a game of PUBG and look glamorous while doing it. She is a real all-rounder, a go-getter, and an advocator for women in the field of gaming. It’s our absolute pleasure to get a bit of the lovely Avori Henderson’s time as we get to know a bit about her, and ask her a few questions!
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It’s so very good to be featuring you today! How are you? It’s crazy how things are with the pandemic and quarantine. As a streamer, it must be pretty awesome to continue to work from home! Did it impact you in a major way workwise or was it smooth sailing for the most part?
I’m doing great, thank you! Fortunately, my life hasn’t changed much since the pandemic. I do really miss going to events, meeting fans, and competing live on stage, that was my favorite part of my career! I am so excited about the possibility of getting to do that again soon.
It’s fascinating how you’ve broken into the gaming industry from the modeling biz. In many ways, it’s a great example of how in today’s times anything is possible in terms of making it a career, and sort of stumbling upon your passion and turning it into a profit. Looking back how do you feel about the whole ordeal?
I always knew that I had a passion for living an extraordinary life from a very young age. I knew that I didn’t want the traditional lifestyle of a 9-5 job and I am so happy I was able to make a career like this work for myself. I do truly feel happy knowing that I have the ability to connect with others in such a unique way. I live for making people laugh and enjoy themselves so I can’t imagine another career path where I have such amazing opportunities to do that and inspire young women at the same time.
Games have had an amazing sort of evolution in regards to how they’ve been perceived by people, mainstream AAA titles even mimicking the cinematic feel and grit of major Hollywood movies (The Last of Us, God of War and the recently released Ghost of Tsushima come to mind). What is it about gaming that appeals to you the most?
I just love that gaming is for anybody and everybody. In times like this where we are experiencing such trauma from all the stress the world is causing, people can confide in something that makes them laugh and connect with others from a distance. We grow up playing games, singing riddles, telling jokes, and solving mysteries as just a part of life, when you make a game out of those everyday things, it really gives you a new perspective on how we live. I think that’s what draws me to gaming the most, finding real-life takeaways from playing games that I can apply to my real life. After all, life is kind of a game anyways, or is it?
As a female gamer, it’s sad to see that women are subjected to hate and negativity online. What do you feel is the cause of this divide within the field, and why is it so tough for women? As an advocate for women in gaming, what would be your word of advice to these hateful people to change their ways?
Hateful people cannot be changed by one sentence. The truth of the matter is that the culture of gamers needs to change. It isn’t just one toxic person making a hateful comment, it’s the entire culture and community of online gaming. People use aliases and can hide their faces which allows one to almost turn on an alter ego of toxicity without ever being held accountable. This is why I speak my truth about the misogyny in gaming because even if I can’t change it, I can at least expose it to try and alter the culture of toxic gamers.
While it’s incredible that people like you were able to capitalize on streaming for entertainment, the market is now pretty saturated as it’s become more mainstream. Now that it has, the dynamics for anyone wanting to start out have also changed in accordance. What would you say to someone who would like to begin their streaming journey? What are the essentials for someone to guarantee at least a small following and then build from there?
This is not what anyone wants to hear, but there is no rhyme or reason that people make it in the industry. Nothing can guarantee growth. What I can tell you is that you have to know your motivation before performing any task to be successful. So many streamers turn on a livestream and have no idea what they plan to do with their career and therefore, they don’t grow. If you don’t know who you are or what you stand for with 10 followers, then you don’t have a foundation to build on to gain 10M followers.
With every job of this nature that puts one in the spotlight like with streaming are prone to misconceptions about the task is easy. What is the reality of the nature of your job? It can’t be easy working for that long at a stretch, so what’s your experience in that, and how taxing is it/can it be?
I find my job to be one of the most mentally taxing jobs out there. Everything I say, post, and do is always put on blast. If there is even a slight imperfection anywhere, it’s always recognized and that is a lot of pressure to feel the need to be perfect all the time. The worst part about it is that people feel like they know me and therefore they think they can control me. I am at the constant beckoning of requests, comments, and for some reason, people get very angry at me if they don’t feel that I responded adequately. People don’t understand that I need space and time to just… be and that I’m not perfect even if they want or need me to be, I am just not. The mental balance of trying to give everyone what they want while also giving myself the time and space I need is really hard for me as I am a people pleaser.
You’ve contributed so much towards the world with your very successful efforts at the charity, helping countless in need. What kind of impact has that left on you?
I feel really proud of myself for the people I’ve helped. It always makes me feel good to know that I made someone else smile or took a burden off of their back. We have done some really awesome fundraisers for COVID, cancer, and sick children. I think in total I’ve raised around $10,000.00 just within the last year for these types of organizations. It brings me peace of mind to know that I can do good with my platform and bring awareness to these types of charities.
On the topic of charities and doing good, it’s always been a rather controversial topic of conversation, where good people that wanna make a difference aren’t in the position to do something about it, while the rich and influential seemingly make no move on their part to contribute in ways that can benefit society. How would you say these people can do better in their efforts towards really stepping up and making a difference?
I can understand someone feeling that way but it really is all about the individual. There are so many celebrities that give back and do good for the world. I have recently seen a lot of them partner up with certain giveaway applications to raise money for various causes. I think it’s just a matter of looking in the right places.
You mostly play PUBG and are into the Battle Royale scene as it’s pretty in right now, and the comparison you’ve drawn to it in regards to the Hunger Games movies is spot on, too! On the single-player side of things, do you enjoy a good cinematic, single-player experience, and if so, which ones are your favorite?
I definitely do! My favorite single-player series is resident evil! I think it’s so much fun to solve puzzles, fight crazy zombies, and follow the story of the game. I really enjoy the character development of RE and I hope they continue to come out with more remastered versions of the game.
The next generation of consoles from both Sony and Xbox are comin’ up very soon. Which one are you personally more excited for? The PS5 or the Xbox Series X?
I’ve always been a PS fan personally. I never really got into Xbox gaming!
Having started in the modeling biz and then branching out into the world of gaming along the way, you’ve worked hard to build your fanbase and achieve success. None of that must have been easy. What were some of the toughest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The toughest by far was gaining credibility in the gaming industry. There is a stereotype around women in the industry that they use their looks to get ahead and they have no real talent. While I understand that could be the case with some people, I think talent comes in all shapes and forms. Just being attractive will not equal success. The ability to capture people’s attention and entertain an entire room full of people, will. It’s tough to have to prove myself and my gaming ability to these types of people daily just because of the transition I made from model to gamer. What they don’t know is that I actually dropped out of the Miss America Pageant to pursue my career in gaming, if that doesn’t say ‘passionate gamer’ then I don’t know what will!
Aside from gaming is your main passion, your work, and the medium of entertainment, which other mediums do you enjoy? Are you more of a reader or do you prefer watching movies and TV Shows? What are some of your favorite shows/books/films?
I am a Netflix lover for sure! I love diving into storylines and character development of games and shows but my main passion outside of work is exploring. I love traveling, climbing, hiking, and my pride and joy are my two little pups, Sugar, and Sly. My world would be so different without those two!
Has streaming impacted your personal life in any way? Is it difficult to manage it along with everything else given the amount of dedicated time needed for the job?
I never stop working that’s for sure! It makes it easier than my fiance is a professional gamer himself. We support each other in content creation and gaming and we bond over the ‘grind’ of the career path we have chosen. I am so lucky to be with someone in the industry that I can trust and that can help me with the mental battle of being an influencer.
If you were given the agency and freedom to put your own shoot together from scratch, what would you come up with?
I’ve always wanted to do a glitter/rhinestone photoshoot! Not only do they look amazing, but I feel like there’s a deeper message to be presented with it. We can glam ourselves up, make ourselves look amazing, put glitter on our eyes, but at the end of a day, that’s all just a mask. The real part we shine from is our inside but all people see is our shape, color, and size. I would love to strip that all away and just be glitter! LOL, A shoot to inspire self-confidence and kindness, making our outside shine as bright as our personalities. No H8 style!