Lauren ‘Pansy’ Scott is an icon in esports, inspiring young women to break the mold and grab the competitive bull by the horns – and it just so happens I am one of them.
Picture the scene: 23-year-old Lauren (hi, that’s me) has just completed her Masters’ degree in War Studies, a topic which, while close to my heart, didn’t exactly open up a wealth of immediate job prospects.
I walked into the world confused about where the future might take me – especially considering travel restrictions single-handedly ruined an internship I had planned in Krakow, Poland. I vividly remember dropping down in front of the TV, totally deflated, asking myself, ‘What the hell do I do now?’
There was no LEC or LCK to watch, Valorant didn’t exist, and CS:GO was never really my thing. So instead, I tuned into the PUBG DreamHack Spring Showdown for background noise to blot out my racing thoughts.
And that’s when I heard “Lauren.”
Coincidence or fate?
It was like that moment when you’re walking down the street and someone says your name – it shattered my little existential crisis and pulled me right back to the screen. A woman called Lauren? Casting? Sure I’d seen Indiana ‘Froskurinn’ Black cast many an LEC game, but a woman? In competitive FPS?
I was intrigued.
As someone still relatively new to the esports world, the idea of a female in the male-dominated shooter scene was insane to me. Doesn’t she get hate? How does she deal with it?
And yet, as I watched I realized that this woman was, indeed, an absolute queen. Not only was her game knowledge on point, but her personality was also vibrant, her banter hilarious. While one part of me was watching the game because it was fun, another wanted it to end so that I could find out who this woman was. Of course, as you’ve likely worked out, it was Pansy and her partner in crime, Mike ‘Hypoc’ Robins.
So there I was, half a cup of coffee down my throat, debating whether or not I could actually make it in esports despite being a woman. Could I be the next Pansy?
A brave new world
You see, I had worked in esports for a while, but not exactly in the capacity I expected. I wanted to report the news, engage with casters, players, and the wider squads; not simply write press releases. Landing myself my position here at Dexerto has allowed me to do that, and just so happened to coincide with the rise of Valorant.
As Riot’s core broadcast team came together, I was elated when I realized Pansy would be on the EMEA team (where there is a relatively even split between men and women). From Spike Nations of Twitch to First Strike, Pansy cast and I was enchanted. I became more absorbed in Valorant than I had in any other esport just because watching her cast was so much fun.
Pansy has always accompanied me throughout my esports journey, helping me grow from someone who barely understood competitive gaming to someone who lives and breathes it every day of her life. As my confidence grew, so did the stories I wrote and the interviews I did – and I had Pansy to thank for it.
Sisters supporting sisters is basically my mantra, but women actively emboldening other women is a dream-made reality. Pansy inspires me every single day, and I wouldn’t be in the position I am in if I hadn’t watched that PUBG tournament.
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Boundaries are made to be pushed, stereotypes born to be shattered – Pansy taught me that, and inspired me to walk in her footsteps and make her proud; not just her, but all of my fellow women in the esports universe.
Her down-to-earth personality and dedication to her crafted sewed a seed within my young mind, allowing me to blossom and grow into the writer and esports fan that I am today. While my aesthetic screams black roses with thorny stems, at my core there’s a colorful flower that continues to grow and improve upon itself.
And funnily enough, yes, it’s a pansy.