It’s not an easy task balancing multiple different careers; however, for model, professional gamer, content creator and fashion designer Avori Henderson, known simply as “Avori” to her dedicated and massive following, it’s a bustling and admirable lifestyle. We at Syft had the honor of sitting down and speaking with the rising star streamer, discussing everything from her incredible start as a content creator to her powerful goals for the future.
Avori’s beginnings in the gaming industry go back to her beauty pageant days, during which she earned three titles in the Miss America organization. The down-to-earth and cordial streamer described how her introduction to the gaming-verse began when someone close to her had shown interest in becoming a professional gamer. Being the business-minded and driven person she is, she went on to create a game plan and map out the route to this goal, throughout which she also discovered her own passion for gaming, namely the battle royale game Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). What started out as a shared activity with someone became a new and cherished hobby of her own, so much that she would move on from pageant participation to gaming, starting her career out on Twitch. An enthusiastic and formidable force in PUBG and other games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant and Among Us, Avori rose up higher as a gamer and streamer, amassing a collective following of over 400,000 on her new main streaming platform Facebook Gaming.
Like many of the greats, Avori initially took the plunge into a gaming career just for the fun. However, once her platform began to grow rapidly in light of her easygoing nature and inventive content, Avori would go on to use her influence as a public figure for a greater purpose. Hosting various gaming contests— very notably, the first all-female PUBG tournament in 2019— Avori not only used this as a way to empower and create a greater space for women in the gaming community, but also raised over $10,000 for charities like Children’s Miracle Network and FredHutch. She even released her own clothing line Styles by Avori, ranging from sportswear to power suits for business all with the purpose of encouraging and inspiring women. In the midst of all of this, she still also maintains her career as a model, taking her experiences and knowledge from this industry and applying it to her work as a professional gamer.
“They teach you in modeling how to be professional on set and that it’s not just showing up that day, arriving and being there and ready to take pictures; it’s all of the prep that you do before.” said Avori, highlighting the importance of paying attention to even the smallest details.
“Whenever you look at it from the scope of esports, there are so many things that you have to do before you even go live to make your stream successful. 99.9% of the work that I [put] into my stream is all offline.”
Having achieved so many incredible feats in her gaming career, we soon came to discuss the important topic of the presence of women in the gaming industry. Even as we enter the year 2021, it is widely understood that female gamers, while growing in number, still have to deal with large amounts of sexism and debasement solely because of their identities. For Avori, who also works as a model, she’s no stranger to this kind of treatment. She went on to describe how she would receive derogatory comments telling her to “Go back to the kitchen” or that gaming was “A man’s world.” While Avori resolves not to let these kinds of remarks get to her, she has made it clear that as someone in her position, she refuses to sit back and let these things be said. Passionate about standing up for others and creating a welcoming environment in which everyone can play and interact, one of things Avori emphasized the most during our conversation was the desire to create an all-inclusive space in the gaming sphere.
With the subject of community coming into play, Avori and I went on to talk about the year 2020 and the numerous difficulties that came with it. Many individuals have suffered from isolation, loss, and uncertainty during this pandemic. Avori herself had her own fair share of struggles this year, but she cited one specific thing that really helped her through the hard times: community. Avori repeatedly talked about her support system of friends and loved ones, crediting them as a huge source of strength, comfort and success. She talked about how she met many people through her gaming career online and how she was able to form strong bonds and circles because of this path in her life. With regard to a community that gave her so much, some of Avori’s goals for 2021 include giving back more and expanding her platform so that it can eventually become a space where people don’t just connect with her, but with one another as well.
“I’ve been in situations, especially recently, where you have that gut-wrenching feeling that no one’s there for you. I feel like everyone has experienced this, where they just feel so alone and they feel like there’s no one they can talk to, there’s nowhere they can go.” Avori said.
She went on to describe how simply engaging in activities like watching shows or movies, while enjoyable, can ultimately just become distractions and not necessarily alleviate feelings of dread and isolation. Avori then addressed the value of her online gaming community.
“You join this community and you can watch people live, you can interact with people live, talk to someone about your day. You can create a friendship. That is the type of thing that motivates me because I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to feel like no one’s there for you and no one’s listening. I want people to feel like they have a place they can go where people will listen to them and they can get real relief from whatever they’re experiencing.” she said, highlighting the active and immersive nature of online gaming and its ability to bring people together.
Throughout our conversation, Avori expressed so much love and gratitude towards her followers, supporters and fanbase. When asked about one of the most meaningful moments of her career, she shared a story about her first ever meet-and-greet with her fans at TwitchCon 2019, discussing how shocked and appreciative she was at the large number of people who came to see her.
“It was really surreal for me and it gave me a lot of motivation to continue to move forward and [continue to] uplift and provide; And just hearing that positive feedback from people for the first time face-to-face, you know? I get DMs all the time, but having someone stand in front of you and say ‘Thank you for your content, thank you for this,’ is just the most—it’s just crazy, I can’t really describe it, but it’s definitely motivated me and I look back on that memory a lot.” Avori said.
As 2021 begins, Avori has her sights set on broadening her platform and audience and connecting more people with one another. She emphasized her desire to create a gaming space where anyone can come in, make friends, and feel welcomed and safe. The streamer is preparing to move from her home of Denver Colorado to Los Angeles to start fresh, propel her career forward even more, and be with friends.
“At the end of the day, it really is the people that make it what it is, it’s not just me. I’m thankful for all of the people that have supported me [on] my journey, I’m thankful for the people that I’ve come across and [who] have stayed, even when I’ve had a bad day. They’re there for me just as much as I’m there for them and I would not be able to do it without them.” Avori said about her friends, supporters and fans.
When I asked her what she would like to do once normal outdoor activities become safe again, she cheerfully responded,
“Meeting up with friends and just hanging out and going out to eat! Just being able to go sit down at a restaurant, oh my gosh, imagine!” She also expressed a desire to properly explore and get to know her soon-to-be home of LA. Also, aside from PUBG and Call of Duty: Warzone, I asked Avori what other games she would like to pick up and stream.
“I’m definitely interested in trying Cyberpunk 2077!” the streamer told us, voicing her hype for the title. However, due to the game’s current state, she has expressed that she would like to wait until these issues are cleared up before properly venturing into the title.
As Avori and I soon reached the end of our compelling conversation, I was left with a strong impression of a hardworking person not only passionate about gaming and modeling, but about helping others and giving back. She consistently demonstrated her gratitude towards her loved ones and fanbase, reiterating her desire to do everything in her power to create a welcoming community for everyone.
She concluded, “I would like to say that, no matter what race, religion, gender, or even how you identify as a whole, there is a place you can go where you’re loved and accepted, and if anyone ever makes you feel like you’re not, then they’re not worth your time. I know that sounds so silly and so cliche, but there are just so many people right now that are struggling, and with me [going] through a traumatic experience recently, I just really have a strong need, want and will to help others feel accepted, wanted and loved. I just want to be there for people.”
With a bright, positive mindset and unconditional love for people, professional gamer and model Avori looks ahead to a fresh start with the new year in a new place. As she knocks down gender barriers in the gaming sphere and continues to engage us with her lively and enthralling content, we at Syft hope to see Avori continue to thrive, reaching all her noble goals.
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