The Women Of Tier One: Everybody Welcome
Tier One is no stranger to the space of gaming. They handle individual talents, teams and create content out of what was considered unproductive 10 years ago. eGaming, something that parents did and continue to berate their children about, is rising up as one of the most popular passion points, even influencing the direction of tech giants and veteran companies the world over. And it’s because of one simple thing: here, everybody is welcome.
And as Ashley, Karla, Rogean, Dexie and Bianca have proven over the course of their careers and that Friday afternoon we spent with them, you go for what you want—traditions and old thinking be damned. Everything will eventually fall into place.
For Ashley Gosiengfiao AKA Ashlili, gaming is a form of play and make-believe. She explains, “It feels like being teleported into a different world because when you get immersed in the game, you totally forget the world you’re living in.”
She started gaming very young and perceived it as more of a pastime than a career option, but times have indeed changed. “I grew up when gaming wasn’t a viable career. There was really no convincing to be done because gaming was really [just] ‘playing games’ at the time. The possibility of making a career out of it seemed impossible,” she recalls. “The only career that you could create out of gaming was if you would become a developer one day or a concept artist.”
Now, gaming is accessible to all with affordable options for smartphones and other gadgets. Given this shift, it can be challenging for those who actually want to become professional gamers. Ashley notes, “If you’re an aspiring gaming content creator, it gets challenging to penetrate the industry because there are so many gaming content creators right now. It’s all about finding your own voice and finding ways on how to stand out.”
With Tier One, gaming is made “more acceptable instead of accessible.” Ashley explains: “We help people get more opportunities in the industry and create a career out of it.”
At the end of the day, for Ashley, playing video games is all about having fun, which “resonates with the inner child within all of us because it brings out our younger selves.” It brings us to different dimensions, which “takes out the seriousness of our day-to-day [and] mundane lives.”
Karla Mae Golosinda
A proud mother and wife, Karla Mae Golosinda AKA Queen Wrecker grew up in front of an audience as a theater and film actress. She slowly transitioned to gaming with the influence of her husband, Elyson, who happens to be a professional gamer, too. This made her feel very natural “because on stage, I'm a whole different person portraying a character, [while on-screen], I'm just me.”
Though she doesn’t consider herself a “hardcore” gamer, the world of gaming has introduced a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for Karla. She also believes that the act of gaming makes one relatable. Many wouldn’t believe that a young mother who just recently gave birth would actually be a professional gamer!
Karla notes, “I think the similarities and differences of each of us [at Tier One] make it easy to understand someone. Each individual has something to give in the industry, even outside [of] gaming.”
As the gaming industry grows exponentially, Karla likens it to a “vine that climbs and the gamers are the support it needs.”
Rojean Delos Reyes
Rojean Delos Reyes AKA Roj or Rojeanviel started playing video games as a child, heavily influenced by her brothers. As a casual gamer, her weapon of choice happened to be handheld consoles. These days, however, the 26-year-old has developed a passion for PC games.
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For Rojean, gaming is more than just a pastime. She reveals, “I put a lot of effort into getting where I am today and acquiring what I currently possess. I invest a lot of effort into demonstrating or persuading others that, for me, gaming is more than a hobby or interest.”
It’s no secret that the pandemic drove an unprecedented rise in the Philippine eGaming industry. Passionate gamers abound, whether they’re newbies, casual or professionals, especially with more budget-friendly gaming devices in the market. Rojean notes, “In the Philippines, a larger audience now has easier access to [gaming]. More people are now able to play games because of the development of more affordable gaming devices like cellphones, gaming consoles and personal computers. As a result, the player population has grown and diversified, including both competitive and casual players, as well as less typical demographics like women and [more mature] individuals.”
For 19-year-old gamer Dexie Diaz AKA Dexie or Riri, the ever-evolving landscape of esports is “chaotic but fun,” an action-filled arena that constantly challenges her. Growing up, she saw notable figures who made the idea of gaming fun and exciting, which eventually led her to become a professional gamer under Tier One Entertainment.
Dexie tells Wonder, “I can say with confidence that I'm the type of person [who] shows everyone that gaming can make you happy and improve your skills, which proves that it can be enjoyed by everyone—both young and old.” She further adds, “[Tier One proves that] gaming can help us in good ways if we do it right.”
Though it took some convincing for her own family to support her career in gaming, she draws inspiration from her followers to keep treading this path. “Eventually, people will [realize] that gaming is just like any career, hobby and profession. You have to work hard for it,” she reveals. “Honestly, I feel shy and scared during my live streams, but witnessing people cheering me for what I’m doing [gives] me the courage to keep on doing what I love.”
For Dexie, she’s just getting started—and so is the booming industry she likens to a “huge web” that influences other industries in terms of technology and innovation.
“Your anime girlfriend” Jane Bianca Yao AKA Biancake started as a Dota and Ragnarok player who just wanted to beat her older brother at gaming. As her skills progressed, she started joining competitive tournaments and became a professional player for an all-girls team called Happyfeet-Chix. Mineski then contacted her to become a shoutcaster and the rest, as they say, is history.
Though she’s been a professional gamer since she was a teenager, 25-year-old Bianca believes that many people still fail to understand what she does and, with it, the possibilities eGaming offers. She witnessed the power of a game well-played early on and was part of the shift in the Philippines’ esports industry, but it did not come without challenges. She narrates, “I had to balance my studies and being a streamer for a time in my life, and being able to graduate while at the same time [I was a streamer] was probably the hardest challenge for me in terms of my career.”
For Bianca, “influence is power.” The gamer and cosplayer believes in the importance of a good role model, which she aims to be for her followers. “From Tier One talents like us who [become] role models [for] those who follow us, they found gamers who people [can] look up to and gamers aspire to be, which I think is very powerful,” she shares.
When the world gives you something—a passion, an interest—you don’t ignore it. No matter what your background is or what the environment surrounding it may be, you go for it. You find room for yourself and you take it up. You make the most out of it, and make sure you being there makes it a little easier for the next person to get in.
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Interview and Cover Story Elisa Aquino and Adie Pieraz
Beauty Direction Elisa Aquino
Location Bulb Studios