Veronica “Velajave” Fortuna: Responding Body Shaming with Professionalism

5 min read

Velajave

Working in the esports industry is a matter of pride and seems fun to many people. However, esports doesn’t just talk about players and competitive games. The industry itself have developed and the community is expanding.

However, there are risks exposed to those who work in the esports industry. It is common to find various netizens bullying aiming at the players, communities, or event esports shoutcasters.

One of the esports casters and players who have experienced bullying in the cyber world is Veronica “Velajave” Fortuna. Vela is known as one of the professional Indonesian female casters whose fame has reached the global community.

She has experienced cases of cyberbullying on social media, namely physical bullying or body shaming.

How did Velajave respond to the problem? Esportsnesia had the opportunity to speak with Velajave about the bullying she was experiencing. Check out the explanation below!

One Step Closer with Veronica “Velajave” Fortuna

Velajave Enjoyed playing video games since childhood.
Enjoyed playing video games since childhood.

Veronica Fortuna or known by her stage name, Velajave, seems to have had an interest in the world of gaming since she was a child. Starting from watching her older brother playing console games such as the PlayStation, Nintendo, to PC; Vela was also interested in wanting to do the same thing. Almost all platforms have been tried. Starting from Tamagotchi to PC. Moreover, one of her favorite games that she keep on playing until today is Dota 2.

She played Dota 2 for the first time at an internet cafe, which was located close to her home at that time. As a result, Vela’s knowledge of the game grows heavily. She also admitted to having played this game with her female friends. With her skill in playing Dota 2 and having strong self-confidence, many of her friends have suggested her to try to become a Dota caster.

“In fact, friends say, I was told to try to be a caster. You know, the one on YouTube. I tried checking on YouTube, watching casters outside Indonesia and in Indonesia, ”said Vela to Esportsnesia.

After watching it from YouTube, she was immediately struck by Sheever and ODPixel. Sheever is a female host and caster from the Netherlands, who is very passionate about the world of Dota 2. This woman has inspired her to become a caster until now.

Starting Her Career as a Caster Who Later Goes International

Velajave while working as a caster.
Velajave while working as a caster.

The first time Vela tried to be a caster was in a small tournament belonging to her own friend in 2015. In that small tournament, she had already experienced something unpleasant. At that time, Vela was looked down upon by some people, for being a female caster.

However, this problem did not discourage her from going ahead and achieving in her preferred field. Never giving up, Vela also showed herself by participating in caster contests for esports.

The first caster competition she participated in was the Indonesia Caster Academy. This contest was founded by Ligagame, as well as a place to find talented caster for Dota 2. At that time, Vela managed to win the second place. However, she admitted that she was still not satisfied with her achievement. Her persistence does not stop her from trying again, and win bigger.

Vela followed the next caster contest, which was titled Acer Predator Caster Hunt. Again, she managed to win the caster competition. However, her victory inspired her to crave for more and more improvements.

After winning the contest, Vela received an offer to fill the role of English caster Dota 2 at Taman Anggrek Mall, Indonesia. This Dota 2 match had participation from players across Southeast Asia. Since then, Vela’s career soared to become an internationally recognized professional caster.

Experiencing the Body Shaming

Stay strong even if you get body shaming comments
Stay strong even if you get body shaming comments

Vela said, there were quite a lot of netizens who, according to her, were immature and unwise in using social media. Not only adults who become perpetrators of cyberbullying such as body shaming. However, there are also minors who do so.

“If we look at it, many of the comments were not clear and those that shouldn’t be there. When I opened the profile, it turned out that they are just children. Cyber​​bullying is now becoming more prevalent, ”she said.

The experiences of cyberbullying that she has received to date are body shaming comments from the audience. Apparently, the body shaming comments that Vela received did not only come from one platform, but on other social media platforms.

Initially, she was able to ignore these comments by focusing on her professional work. However, over time the body shaming comments from the people actually sounded even more annoying.

“When we work, yes we work professionally, get paid professionally. And I shouldn’t have any contact with those people out there. They shouldn’t judge me no matter what they see. If they don’t like it professionally, that’s fine. But if it’s not a matter of work, what about it, “said Vela.

According to the woman who had been a caster at the 2020 Indonesia Esports Presidential Cup, the experience of getting body shaming treatment had existed ever since she played Dota 2. However, Vela still tolerated it and only considered it a joke.

However, when she was moving from Dota 2 to the mobile platform, people’s harsh words and comments about her became more annoying and inflicted fear on her.

“When you get there, why are there so many. Or maybe because I was noticed. How come I’m getting scared, there are so many words that make me speechless. There are Instagram comments, work Instagram comments, YouTube live chat. Then if you create content with other people, and that’s there. To the extent that there are also event organizers who have done the same thing to me, ”said Velajave when sharing her experiences.

With her experience getting body shaming comments, it made Vela realize that one way to become famous in esports is to have a good physique. Besides having an attractive physical appearance, an entertaining character is also easily recognized by many people. Given that the caster esports profession requires appearing in public.

Even though there are still hurtful comments, Vela tries not to read and respond to them again. Since then, she has always been careful when opening social media, especially the inbox. She always looks at the names, photos, and profile pages of people who have messaged him.

The Importance of Support from Close Related Person and Being Mentally Strong

Support of people close to and mentally strong is the main ingredient to rise up
Support of people close to and mentally strong is the main ingredient to rise up

For Vela, with a lot of bullying in the community, it is very important to continue to support each other. If anyone experiences a similar problem like her, they will help each other to raise the problem to legal institutions. In addition, she also chooses to tell her female friends who are close to her, if she experiences problems such as bullying. Most of them support her and find solutions together.

In addition, Velajave also thinks that the trials of life in esports are tough. Not a few people think that a job in esports looks fun. But it’s a different story if someone gets into esports, because of their interests, hobbies, and love for the world of gaming. Coupled with being mentally strong, resilient, knowledgeable, good behavior, and hard work, the career path in esports is wide open.

“If you don’t have a strong mentality, you will be disappointed. Like I said, even some people who have made themselves committed to esports could stop halfway. It’s not just one or two. We know how many people in esports who always take comments seriously from netizens, “she said.

Body Shaming and its Impact on the Victims

Velajave

Reporting from Riliv, body shaming is an act of mocking or negative comments about one’s physical condition or body. The parts or objects that are often commented on by many people are face, body size, physical disabilities, and any appearance that does not meet beauty standards. Without realizing it, body shaming behavior is rife in everyday life. Even though it sounds like an ordinary joke, body shaming comments will actually aggravate the victim’s mental state.

Body shaming often affects public figures such as celebrities, artists, influencers through social media platforms. Like Vela who became a professional esports caster. She revealed that her current job does require her to appear in front of the camera. Even though this job is in line with her interests, the risks she receives are also heavy, namely facing hate speech in the form of body shaming.

There are various kinds of impacts received by victims of body shaming. One of them is of course the impact on mental health. Not a few victims experience depression, eating disorders, and losing confidence. Victims also feel that they are not loved because they are often getting ridiculed on physically, be it on social media or face to face.