Avori Henderson is a trailblazer in gaming and esports. As a model and former pageant participant, Henderson was already accustomed to living under a spotlight. However, when her content as a gamer began to grow a solid audience, she knew she had found her home.
“When I was in college I was competing in the MissAmerica Organization and trying to get my degree in marketing,” she told Ritual Motion. “I started streaming on the side and uploading content and I never expected it to go anywhere.”
Sometimes, success comes when you focus on doing what you love with no expectations. “A few months in, my channel had grown to the point where I could pay my monthly rent. I quickly realized the opportunity I had at my fingertips to do something I truly love and make money doing it. That’s the dream, right? To do what you love and love what you do for a living! So I worked hard at it and dropped out of the MissAmerica pageant to pursue my career in gaming.”
While her passion has led her into a career that she loves, it’s one that has delivered its own share of challenges and toxicity. However, fighting those barriers is something that every woman has to do. For Henderson, it was a chance to create more opportunities for women wanting to compete.
In 2019, she produced the first-ever all-women PUBG tournament. It was broadcast live to over 135,000 viewers and raised over $5000 to charities that included FredHutch and Children’s Miracle Network. While the tournament inevitably attracted toxicity, Henderson didn’t let it get to her.
“With anything on the Internet there was a fair amount of hate to combat when the tournament launched,” she added, “but surprisingly, there was an overwhelming amount of support for the tournament. Twitch backed the event helping us promote it, and we ended up bringing women in gaming together all while raising money for a cause. It was a really successful event and I’m so proud we were able to pull it off!”
The event developed a positive celebration for women in gaming, but what about women who want to enter the space in an area outside of competing?
Henderson’s advice? You have to start somewhere.
“Remind yourself that every creator started from zero,” she stated. “They started with zero followers, zero viewers, and zero subscribers. Everyone has to start somewhere. Where you end up is up to you. So work hard and push past the trolls, you got this!”
Gaming and esports have developed an atmosphere that anyone can thrive in. However, it takes commitment and the ability to fight through the barriers that unfortunately exist. The same is true for Henderson.
“I think the biggest [barrier] is confidence in myself,” she added. “With people constantly poking fun at my gender or making sexist slurs, it can be challenging to feel like you are good enough. I always just used the hate to fuel my desire to be better. I worked harder and made it my mission to prove them wrong.”
For her, it became a mission to become a leader in the industry. Henderson stated, “I took on the role of standing up so that other women don’t have to. It is my goal to be a role model for women not only in the gaming industry, but in any male-dominated field.”