Benita "bENITA" Novshadian sat down with Esports Heaven for a chat where she discussed her daily schedule, transition to Valorant, opportunities for women in CS:GO and Valorant, as well her role in CLG Red and future plans for the roster. Benita also shared her thoughts on Tournament finally shifting to LANs, like the recently concluded Masters Reykjavik, instead of being online.
Thank you for taking the time to give us an interview, Benita. To start off, can you guide us through a normal day in your life, including any activities that you do besides steaming?Hi! Well. I usually wake up somewhere between 10-11 AM and no that the pandemic is slowly coming to an end, I’ve been starting to go to the gym again. I try to go a minimum of 3 times a week. By the time I finish and get home to eat, it’s usually time to practice. We practice anywhere between 4-6 hours a day. Usually, after practice, I’m still online either watching VODs, playing ranked, and/or thinking of new things to try on Valorant. When I’m done with Valorant for the day, it’s usually closer to midnight so I get ready for bed and try to spend the remainder of the night with my fiance. On the days we don’t have practice, I usually just spend the day with my fiance. I love to go shopping and/or out to eat & drink.What were the motivating factors in your retirement from CS:GO, and shift to Valorant? Was the transition easy or did you encounter challenges and if so, how did you overcome them?I had many challenges with the idea of leaving CS:GO because Counter-Strike was my life since I was 9, but I just knew this was what I needed to do. It was the chapter I needed to close in my life to be able to grow. I’ve had the most amazing experiences from CS, traveled to many places I’d probably never have the opportunity to visit, met my fiancé from CS:GO and I’ll always cherish all those experiences but in Valorant, I see what Riot is doing for female competitors and this is the big picture for me. I want to continue to inspire others, and to be the best competitor one could be. As you have been in the competitive esports scene for a considerably long time, starting from early CS:GO days and now to Valorant, how has the professional scene changed in terms of opportunities available for women?I started in 2003 which was CS 1.6 before CS:GO. Back then we only had 1 tournament a year and it was the most exciting time for the women's community. ESWC was a tournament held in Paris every year and it was the most prestigious tournament considering it was one of the only women's tournaments that had a decent prize pool and the only chance to compete against other countries. Comparing that period to now, the female scene in CS:GO and Valorant has tremendously improved in terms of opportunities to compete. In CS, we went from one prestigious tournament a year to about 3-4 which is just amazing. In Valorant, we have Riot who has already done such incredible work for marginalized genders. The female community in Valorant has seen the largest attendance when it comes to signing up for qualifiers and tournaments as well as viewers for these tournaments on Twitch.Benita, you have been in the competitive scene since its infancy, what are your thoughts on its current state as well as its overall growth from the past year?Well to be honest I’m just so happy and blessed to be a part of it since the beginning and watching it grow to what it is today. The growth is just beyond what I thought it would ever be. There are so many ways that this bubble has grown when it comes to money, sponsorships, and opportunity but I always stuck around because competing and trying to become one of the best competitors is my passion. Since you’re signed with CLG Red, how much collaboration and camaraderie do you have with the rest of the organization especially since the roaster is relatively new?I am a founding member of CLG RED. In 2015 when we were picked up, I was young, shy, and introverted and I just remember thinking that this is finally it & my goals were coming to a full circle. In 2020, the talks of CLG picking up a Valorant team was up in the air for a very long time. I helped the organization by picking the players, building the team, and learning about the female market in comparison to CS:GO.What do you think the future holds for CLG Red as a team since your roster has finally been completed?Well, my team isn’t fully completed yet. We still don’t have a signed 5th hahaha. I am a little extra careful and methodical when it comes to building a roster. I guess another word would be picky but the fifth also has to fit with the culture of CLG so many factors go into picking up a player. CLG RED is a brand that has stamped its legacy into CS:GO. We were the first all-female CS:GO team to be sponsored by a major organization and one of the best. In Valorant, I started the team from scratch. I had many ups and downs but we are aiming to be one of the best teams in our community which we have proven to be within the last 6 months. Are you excited about tournaments returning to a physical venue? What would you say the key differences between online and offline play are?I can write a five-paragraph essay about the differences between playing online and offline but nothing can describe the experience until you’ve lived it. It’s very unique that this game started in a pandemic because all of our tournaments have been at the comfort of our own homes and PC but if and when (hopefully) Riot decides to bring Game Changers to LAN, I guarantee it’s going to be a different story. The most powerful thing is to be underestimated and I think people don’t value experience as much as they should in our community.What are your views on Riot’s Game Changers Tournaments and what changes would you like to see so that more women are granted the opportunity of playing competitively?The female community in Valorant is the biggest competitive community I’ve seen in all of esports (speaking about female gaming). In CS 1.6 and CS:GO NA, we would have like 2-6 teams max sign up for qualifiers. Now in Valorant, we have full 32 team qualifiers and even more teams waiting on a waitlist which is just beautiful. It has tremendously grown. Benita, I would like to thank you once again for taking your time out to answer this interview. The floor is yours for any final things you’d like to say, shoutouts, etc.Thanks for the interview! You had some great questions :) thank you so much to CLG for the last six years.. for believing in me as a player and my passion to compete.
Credit to World Gaming Network for the featured image.
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