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Now You See Me: Interview with Anya

Darina Briukhovetska
14 min

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Now You See Me: Interview with Anya
An in-depth interview with Anya about the Mexican scene, Tekken experiences, and facing issues online

If there's one thing everyone in the scene should learn from Anya, it's dedication. She dedicates her entire self to what she does, be it playing competitively, streaming, tournament organizing, or any other task out of eleventy-billion that she does. Her time management is impeccable, her passion is second to none, and all she wishes for the future of the FGC is for everyone to become better and make a name for themselves. Enjoy our interview with her!

Disclaimer! This is a transcript of the interview, so it was formatted to fit the textual article. Most of the sentences were reworded while retaining 100% of the meaning, tone, and intent.

You've been part of the FGC for a decade. Could you share your FGC origin story?

I began competing in 2012 as a teenager. Traveling outside my state meant long bus rides, sometimes up to 22 hours, to reach tournaments. Initially, it took me a while to realize that I didn't fully grasp the game I was competing in, which was Tekken. Competing forced me to understand and adopt the mindset that I needed time to fully comprehend the game. As I continued to compete, my understanding grew rapidly, and I started achieving results over time.

Oh, okay. Let's touch upon the Mexican community, where you contribute in various ways. What do you see as the primary challenge the community is currently facing, and what solutions do you propose?

Oh, sure.. There are two significant challenges at the moment. And I mean specifically within the Tekken community. I've observed that many players are hesitant to invest considerable effort into activities such as traveling and competing. Instead, there's a lack of emphasis on content creation and other related efforts. Consequently, the community remains relatively small. Moreover, only a handful of players demonstrate a genuine interest in pursuing a career or establishing a notable presence in the realm of fighting games. Unfortunately, even among those motivated individuals, we encounter a lack of support from companies and external sources, particularly in terms of financial backing for travel expenses. This predicament is further complicated by language barriers, as a substantial portion of the community here doesn't speak English. Personally, when seeking support in other countries, such as the US where my sponsor is based, or with companies from first-world nations like the US, Canada, or others, I've found assistance. However, for Mexican players in general, the language barrier and the current lack of internal support within the country pose significant challenges.

Okay, let's get back to you. You're a competitive player, coach, content creator, content manager, tournament organizer, and a streamer. Honestly, it sounds like there might be two of you because handling all of that seems impossible for just one person. How do you manage it all? What's your secret?

I’m very good at time management, like, I'm really good at it. I meticulously block out my time for everything I'm involved in. Currently, I'm working with five different companies, wearing multiple hats, from content creation to hosting tournaments. The key is being mindful of how I allocate my time. It's that simple. My proficiency in time management has evolved over the years, thanks to over a decade of experience in the community. It stems from the necessity of filling gaps in my region where there aren't many tournament organizers. When nobody steps up, I take charge. I enjoy being versatile within a tournament setting, whether it's running brackets, commentating, or putting on a show. I've learned to insert myself wherever help is needed for an event.

You're incredibly hardworking and dedicated. Honestly, you should consider starting a course on how to be everywhere and do everything at once. With such a busy schedule, how do you unwind? What do you typically do on weekends? We're conducting this interview on a Saturday, and it doesn't seem like your day off at all.

Well, you caught me; I do work on Saturdays. I try to reserve Sundays as my day off, although I often find myself doing some tasks even then. As for relaxation, my go-to activity is reading. That's my main thing, and I enjoy it.

Okay, so Tekken 8 is just around the corner, and you had a chance to check out the beta version. Can you share your overall impression of it and whether the game is heading in the right direction?

Absolutely, they are definitely moving in the right direction to attract more players by making the play style more aggressive and simplifying many aspects that the game used to have. It's a smart move to cater to new players who might find the game overly complicated. Personally, having played for so long, and acknowledging others who have competed even longer than I have, there are aspects I find a bit too easy. However, there are still challenges, like learning new matchups and adapting to the new mechanics, which I find quite interesting. Of course, there's room for improvement; when we played the beta, it's not the final product, so there's still polishing to be done. The network can improve, and there were some glitches here and there. Despite that, it's a fascinating concept, and I'm sure the competitive scene is going to go crazy over it.

So, just yesterday, I had a conversation with Sherryjenix, and she shared a story about a tournament where she played against a guy who didn't know who she was. When she eventually won, he started laughing, saying, "Oh, it's not possible that a girl beats me." I was surprised because I couldn't believe my ears; it's hard to grasp that such things still happen in our industry. She mentioned that the problem is the low barrier for women in the FGC. When women execute certain combos in tournaments, people react with awe, as if it's impossible for a girl to do. Yet, when a guy performs the same combo, everyone is like, “Yeah, okay.” Have you faced similar issues in your tournament history?

Certainly, especially when I was starting out. It was more common back then because people didn't know me. Incidents like the one Sherryjenix described did happen, where guys simply didn't want to play with you or were unhappy about you being there. It used to occur much more frequently. However, as people got to know me and became accustomed to having more women in the scene, it happened less. It can still be a problem, but in my personal experience, within the Tekken community, they've been getting more used to women participating. When I started, there might be a 500-person tournament, and I'd be the only girl. Now, it's not the case anymore. While the percentage of women is still small, it's definitely more than before. I'm never the only girl in the venue now. I think people are getting used to our presence and accepting that we can be skilled players. Of course, there will always be those who aren't happy about it, but things have changed a lot.

Now You See Me: Interview with Sherryjenix

About six months ago, you shared on Twitter some YouTube comments that were really negative and toxic, specifically targeting you as a woman. How do you handle this negativity? What's your approach to dealing with toxic comments on the internet?

Honestly, I don't care at all. It doesn't affect me. I've been in this scene for over 10 years, and a comment from a random person with a fake account, spewing hate, doesn't bother me. I genuinely feel sorry for them. If their life revolves around criticizing and being mean to people on the internet, it's pitiful. They should find something more productive to do. I focus on being a productive person, and comments like that don't impact me. Sure, I might think, "Oh, well, that's not nice," but it doesn't make me feel bad. I'm accustomed to trolls on the internet; it happens to both men and women. Hateful people exist, and they'll find a reason – whether it's your gender, skin color, or country of origin – to criticize and hate. My advice is not to pay too much attention to them. If they're harassing you, take steps to stop it, but don't let it affect you too deeply. Ultimately, their negativity can only make us feel sad if we allow it, and I believe we shouldn't let such people have that power over us.

Yeah, that's a great point because when they start writing those negative comments, they're making themselves worse, not you. They're poisoning themselves with toxicity and negativity. Personally, I can't imagine sitting down and writing negative comments about anything in the world because, well, I simply don't have time for that. My next question is, what advice would you give to women who are just starting their careers and are facing this negativity and toxicity on the internet?

Absolutely, and I would extend this advice to anyone facing such challenges. It might help to talk about it, to share your experiences with people you trust. When I reflect on myself 10 years ago, those comments used to affect me, and it took time to learn not to let them get to me. Sharing your experiences with friends or family can provide a different perspective and support. So, I just wanted to add that.

Let's envision the perfect future for the Mexican FGC scene. What would it look like?

Oh my god, I just want everyone to make a name for themselves. right now, those putting in countless hours in the game - I want all of them to achieve everything they dream of in the game. I want them to fulfill their aspirations, whether it's traveling to any country they desire to compete, winning medals and trophies, or making it to the Tekken World Tour finals. If they want to create content, I want them to be incredibly successful, sponsored, and receiving a salary if that's their wish. To me, the best-case scenario would involve more stakeholders and sponsors entering the community, creating a thriving environment for everyone. That would be the ultimate dream.

Great, thank you. What, in your opinion, is the key to success in securing a sponsor in the FGC? What are the best steps one needs to take?

Okay, so given the current landscape, the most important thing is making yourself visible and establishing a reputation. This goes beyond just tournament results; it involves creating a social media presence. If you can, engage in content creation, streaming, and various activities that put you in front of more people. It's important to consider what you're giving back to your sponsor because they are investing in you, whether it's supporting your event attendance, providing a salary, or offering compensation. They expect something in return for their brand, either in the short or long run. For instance, having a strong social media following or a popular stream can be beneficial as it allows you to promote the sponsor's products, sell jerseys, or drive traffic to their social media platforms. In essence, at this moment, it's crucial to showcase yourself in various ways beyond just competing.

You got it. We recently spoke with KawaiiFaceMiles, and she mentioned that competing is not the most crucial part right now. Instead, being a content creator and making yourself visible is key. I completely agree with that perspective. Thank you. And for the final question… So, you need to choose three of your favorite female representatives in the FGC. Who would they be?

Ohh, choosing three is tough, but I'll go with it. The first one is Cuddle_Core. Seeing her compete is incredibly emotional for me. She does everything right and is undeniably one of the best Tekken players globally. As a woman, her representation in the top ranks is so important and touching. She’s literally one of the best Tekken players in the world, I'm extremely proud of her. Then there's Sherryjenix, a huge inspiration who does it all. She not only excels as a competitor but also helped me secure my visa back in 2019, bringing me to Evo 2019. A woman after my own heart, genuinely wanting to help others. I admire and am proud of her. Lastly, I was part of the XO Academy, a program helping women practice, and I teamed up with Cuddle_Core to practice; she trained me so I could compete at Combo Breaker. This fantastic experience was thanks to Persia, my third pick. Like Sherry, Persia is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams, and I really admire her too. So those are my three picks, women I truly admire.

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