Rainbow Six Siege caster Jessica “Jess” Bolden continuously pushes boundaries in esports, and she explained what drives her in an exclusive interview with Dexerto.
JessGOAT never shies away from blazing a new path, leaving her position as a university teacher to pursue a career in the uncharted waters of esports. She spoke about being the only female player, coach, and analyst in Rainbow Six Siege and decided, “that wasn’t good enough, and I will always think it is not good enough.”
Bolden’s passion and relentless desire for more carry over to working as an esports analyst. She holds herself to a high standard and admits, “I am always looking forward rather than relishing the moment.”
The 2022 Esports Awards named JessGOAT esports desk analyst of the year. This time around, she finally allowed herself to relish the moment, sitting in her hotel room, “crying from relief.”
Understanding how JessGOAT reached the mountaintop requires a rewind to the start and giving proper flowers to the people who inspired her.
When did JessGOAT develop a passion for video games?
Bolden grew up with easy access to video games and, by 2011, became “obsessed.”
“The level of problem-solving, achievement hunting, storytelling, leveling, and progression made it very easy to fall in love with when you possess a highly ambitious and curious personality.”
JessGOAT’s background as a university teacher and innate competitiveness made transitioning to coaching easy, but shifting into on-camera work was, in her words, “ten times as hard.”
Doubling up as a coach and caster in the Rainbow Six Siege South East Asian Pro League, JessGOAT put her head down and got to work. After relocating to Europe, Bolden became a full-time analyst in the Pro League.
“I was adamant that in order to be successful in esports, I had to be at least a triple threat of some kind, which I decided was coaching, streaming, and talent work.”
Next, JessGOAT found a mentor in Michael “KIXStar” Stockley, elevating her casting status to unprecedented rights.
JessGOAT dedicates 2022 Esports Award to Michael Stockley
Bolden and Stockley first met at an after-party in Sweeden, as the pair talked for hours about work, life, and philosophy. JessGOAT had no idea she would become colleagues with him as casters in the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League.
Rainbow Six’s Pro League became synonymous with the voice of Stockley. He served as a lead caster and became a beloved member of the Rainbow Six community. In 2020, he won the Esports Award for Esports Color Caster of the Year and was nominated again in 2021.
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“I spent years soaking in his proactive and reactive analysis, vocal range, dry banter, intensity, conciseness, and expression of knowledge. Without such a key role model in my career, I might still be ‘robot Jess’ where I thought knowledge was everything.”
Stockley tragically passed away in 2021, and JessGOAT dedicated her analyst of the year award to him.
“I had no hesitation about dedicating my award to Michael because it was no secret at all that I considered him the greatest mind of Rainbow 6 we ever had.”
The Rainbow Six community loved Michael, and “he commanded respect when he spoke.” Bolden emulated her casting from him, constantly studying and modeling herself “after the very best.” At the Rainbow Six Major in Mexico, which would be her last event with him, Stockley instilled inspiration that Bolden still uses as “fuel” to this day.
“He turned to me out of the blue and said, ‘I think you’re one of the best analysts in the world.’ and then turned back and continued to watch the match. I hope he knew what that single sentence meant to me after years of chasing his greatness.”
JessGOAT’s pursuit of greatness in esports
Fueled by multiple sources of inspiration, JessGOAT pushes forward on her blazing path in esports.
Recognition for her work took “thousands of hours of perfectionism, discipline, reviewing, social isolation, long nights, early mornings, criticism, and incredible dedication.” JessGOAT knows what it takes to be the best, and she has no intention of slowing down.
Halftime shows for sporting and esports events often get criticized for being nothing more than fluff, and Bolden’s primary goal is to disprove that preconceived notion.
“My biggest goal for the analyst desk was for it never to be considered a break filler. I want to use my immense experience in FPS to help engage viewers of all skill levels to be able to sit and find joy in competitive esports, the exact same way I fell in love with it.”
An undeniable love for esports and the people that made her dream a reality molded JessGOAT into an esports sensation, and she should “relish the moment.” But as we know, that’s just not in her nature, as she looks forward to what’s next instead.