Integral to Sydeon being built different is that she’s creating spaces for others to find their own version of success within the often toxic world of gaming – an important aspect of her work in creating space is being an active participant at industry events, including this year’s TwitchCon. The Twitch streamer and content creator has created a lane for herself – and others – by being resilient in the face of racism and misogyny, drawing strength from the history of women breaking boundaries, and never being afraid to speak up and speak out.
In our latest conversation with Sydeon, this time to welcome her into our Built Different campaign – a series and a message that celebrates the defiance and versatility of women in current culture – she tells us about the importance of communities of women supporting each other, why it’s so important for women to continue to make an impact throughout the world, and feeling underestimated.
What does Built Different mean to you?
Built Different now after having this conversation, and I mean, even from the beginning, I feel like celebrating our unique uniqueness, but also just celebrating our strength, our resiliency, our loudness, our voice, being able to speak up and say what we need and feel proud of that. I feel like we’re built different because we have all of those strengths, all of those things, our core values, the things that we’ve had to go through have really made us this strong community that is helping each other out we’re tight-knit and that’s what Built Different means to me
Who has inspired you or has been instrumental in helping you achieve your goals?
I’m lucky to have really amazing people surrounding me. All of the other content creators on Twitch, but more specifically the women that I get to interact with inspire me. But more personally, my mother, stepmom, and my sister, they’re some of the most brilliant women I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet. They paved the way for me to really have an awesome life where I get to do what I love. I think about those women a lot.
How did the women that you looked up to make a difference in your industry?
The women that I looked up to when I think of streaming are all the women who have come before me. I couldn’t be here without them because they’ve had to fight back against all of the misogyny within the gaming space – which is still rampant – but it used to be worse. I’m thankful for those women and inspired by them to be able to put up with the stuff that they had to.
What are some of your most memorable career moments?
Being able to work with StockX. This is so exciting for me to be able to be here and affiliated and connected with you all – that’s definitely a big one. Making the leap into full-time streaming was huge for me. I came from a nursing background and thought I was going to be doing that the rest of my life and then just decided to stream. That was a big moment. Joining Offline TV was another big moment – joining a content creation group that I’m really proud to be a part of.
What you would tell your 12-year-old self about where you are today?
I would tell my 12-year-old self to embrace the things that make me different. I think I spent a lot of time when I was younger trying to fit in. But I think that what makes me unique is really powerful. And if I had celebrated that earlier, I think I would’ve been a lot happier when I was younger. So I would recommend that.
How do we help women continue to break boundaries within our various communities?
I think community is super important when it comes to women breaking boundaries. And I think that I’m in a really special space to be able to lean on the other women in the gaming industry, especially since it’s a male-dominated industry. It’s really nice to be able to turn to people who understand the struggle of being a woman in this space. And I think we’re all really great about checking in on each other, supporting one another, and just finding ways that we can continue to move forward.
How do you see the future of women’s gaming 10 years from now?
I see women in gaming being way more common. In 10 years I see gaming being full of really strong and amazing women who have a passion for gaming. I see it being a really comfortable space that we’ve worked really hard to get to. That’s what I would hope to see 10 years from now.
What are some frustrations you faced – or continue to face – in your career?
I think being a double minority – both black and a woman – in a male-dominated space brings a lot of struggle. And there are a lot of things that I face on my day-to-day that I have to work through. Of course, we talked about the misogyny, but there is also rampant racism in gaming. That’s a core underlying thing that’s been going on for years. You get into a code lobby and people are dropping slurs and that’s the community that was built. And now we are trying really, really hard to change that from slurs being called “gamer words,” to getting people to understand that, no, these words and terms are slurs and it’s not okay. And it’s something that we’re fighting every day. Every time I get into a lobby, there’s something like that. But I think there are a lot of really great creators out there that are working hard to change that culture.
Tell us about a time when you felt underestimated?
I’ve felt underestimated in gaming from the beginning onward. You start out and some don’t take you so seriously since they’ve been in the industry for a really long time – six to 10 years streaming. So to come in and be new is definitely feeling like the underdog a lot. And I think that I even underestimated myself, but I’ve exceeded my expectations. So I’m really proud of that.
What is most empowering about being a woman?
The most empowering thing about being a woman to me feels we’ve had so much push against us. As a double minority, I’ve had so much push against me and I’ve still been able to do it. So I just think of the resiliency of women and of myself. And I’m really, really proud to be able to say that we push through all of these obstacles and boundaries that are in our way.
What do you hope the younger generation of women learns from you?
I hope that the younger generation of women learns a lot of things from me. I definitely want to pass on the message that you can do it. I know it can be scary and you can look at gaming and see that it’s full of men who maybe are not very nice to you, but it’s doable. You still belong in this space. Even if some people make you feel you don’t. My overall message is you belong here. If you are into gaming and this is your thing, and this is your passion. you can do it.
Why is it important to champion other women?
It is so important to show up for, and champion, other women. I try my best to support other women in the [gaming] space, women who have supported me, and women who don’t even know my name. If I see an opportunity in gaming for any woman in the space who’s trying to make it or has already arrived, I’m going to work hard to pass that opportunity to you. It’s super important to share the wealth because if we’re all growing and succeeding, it only helps us as a community. And so I am a huge proponent of championing other women.
What makes women so powerful and strong in your opinion?
The resiliency that we show in facing all these obstacles, but also the history of being women in this country. All the things we’ve had to face for so many years have just made us stronger, and really created a sense of strong community between women. I feel such a sense of community with women on Twitch. I think all the struggle has made us strong; we’ve got hard skin now, we can face it all.
How can women continue to make an impact?
I Think women can continue to make an impact by just continuing to make noise. I feel I’ve grown up in a time where women are really loud and are able to say that “so many things are not okay,” and “things make me uncomfortable and they need to change.” I’m really proud to be a part of the time where we speak up and speak out. We didn’t always have that space or our voice was made to be small. I love that women in 2022 are speaking out and I just want to continue to see that happen.