[Interview] Women/Nonbinary Individuals in Horror [Ashlinaa]

We sat down virtually with Ashlinaa, a Latinx varity streamer who also raises money for charities on Twitch. Ashlinaa is also a model, writer, and self-proclaimed Halloqueen — and we agree. She has an essay to be featured in Hear Us Scream‘s horror anthology coming soon.

MT: I’ve seen you champion other Latinx streamers. Do you feel as though Latinx streamers get pushed behind white streamers when it comes to opportunities? If so, what do you think companies can do to put more of a focus on Latinx streamers?

Ashlinaa: The Latinx/Hispanic community makes up about less than 2% of the gaming space. With me being a part of that 2% I feel I have some responsibility to raise awareness and make that known. As we know, the majority of the gaming industry consists of cis white men. With that being said, of course the Latinx/Hispanic community continues to get overlooked. The difference though, is that the BIPOC community makes these metrics known as often as possible, yet we are still overlooked. It’s almost like the industry turns a blind eye to what we experience as people of color. It’s a never ending battle, but it’s important that companies are working within themselves for inclusivity. What seats do you have at your table? Do you have POC, women, LGBTQ+, etc. employees? If not, that needs to change. Change starts there – within.

MT: Eloquently put! I can count the number of Latinx streamers I’m aware of on one hand. I’m glad you’re speaking up about this. You’ll be speaking (as of this interview) at the 1000 Dreams Fund summit this weekend. As a 1000 Dreams Fund recipient, what does this award mean to you? I’ve seen you were able to purchase a new PC with the grant. That’s incredible and so useful, I’m sure! What advice do you have to others who wish to apply for the grant?

Ashlinaa: The 1000 Dreams Fund grant was one of the most amazing things to happen to me. At the time, I was having a really rough time with streaming and felt like quitting. When I won the grant, it was like the Universe’s way of saying “you need to keep going”. I needed it. With the grant I was able to purchase a new PC so I can continue to make content and grow my career, which is HUGE. If you have thought about applying, APPLY! I held a lot of shame in applying because I felt like I didn’t deserve it, but I did it and I’m so happy I did. Please apply. It can change your life and give you the opportunity to make a difference in this industry.

Success is relative.

MT: You rose awareness and funds for Latinos in Gaming in a past weekend! I know you’ve expressed frustration in October for companies not really doing anything for Latinx gamers. What do you hope the fundraising and awareness will do for other streamers and companies who may not be aware of these amazing personalities? Do you think they’ll be more inclined to include them in their campaigns going forward?

Ashlinaa: Hispanic Heritage Month felt very quiet, especially from Twitch’s end. As I’ve stated before, we make up a small percentage of the industry. If we want to grow that percentile, we need to celebrate and make it known that we do exists in this industry and on tis platform. I decided that due to how quiet HHM was, I needed to raise awareness and fundraise. That’s the best way I know how to use my voice – charity. I am only one person, but I do believe that with the other creators who joined the fundraising event, we can make a difference. We have to use our voices as often as possible.

Ashlinaa celebrating her time contributing to ScareAThon.

MT: I love your outlook on it. Showing up and being present is the best thing you can do to get seen and heard. You’re pushing for Partner on the Twitch platform. I know you’ve expressed frustration with not meeting the metrics, and feeling passed over when it comes to events and being known as a streamer who’s cultivated a growing, dedicated community. You’ve also expressed the importance of taking breaks due to being overwhelmed with everything being a content creator brings. What would you say to aspiring and new streamers who wish to reach the goals you’ve reached and more, and what would you say to those who are in the same boat as you–almost to Partner but not quite there?

Ashlinaa: If you are a blossoming new streamer, just know that the journey is going to have it’s difficulties, but the best part about streaming is the community that you are able to build while streaming. I believe I have cultivated a very loving, safe and caring space and I know that no amount of “success” can beat that. Also, remember that each journey is different and it’s important that you try to stay focused on you and your journey. Success is relative. What is successful to me might not be to someone else, that’s why I try my best to remain focused on my journey and the things I am doing/need to do. For those who are in the same boat as me as far as applying for partner, keep going. It’s hard to be right there, but also not quite at the same time. You can and will make a difference with or without the checkmark. Always remember that even if you aren’t partnered, eyes are on you. You CAN do incredible things.

MT: I definitely agree with staying focused on your own journey. I’ve gotten sucked into what someone else was doing too many times. You do a vast number of charity streams throughout the year and you’re also a member of the Sidequest Stream Team. I know how important charity work is to you. What can you tell us about any events you have coming up that we can look out for and maybe support?

Ashlinaa: Charity burnout is a thing. For now, I will be taking a very small break from fundraising, but you will still find me raising awareness whenever possible on all my platforms. I do plan on announcing any future charity work, so be sure to keep a lookout.

MT: Lucia Everblack definitely mentioned charity burnout as well when we interviewed her. And we’ll definitely keep a lookout. What’s your favorite–absolute favorite–horror movie and scene and why those?

Ashlinaa: Halloween (1978) is my favorite horror movie. Halloween really opened my eyes to cinematography and how beautiful a horror movie can be. My favorite scene from Halloween has to be when Laurie is stuck in the closet essentially fighting for her life. Sometimes I feel like we are all feeling stuck in our lives, but we have keep fighting so we can make it. That scene really hit me hard as a woman because I feel like we get held in and held down a lot in our lives.

Halloween (1978) | Compass International Pictures

MT: I remember watching that scene as well and it was nail-biting, definitely. I’m glad it held a message of empowerment for you. And last question, you’ve recently written an essay for Hear Us Scream‘s upcoming horror-based anthology (which I edited). Can you tell us a bit about that process and what you learned from it through trying something new?

Ashlinaa: This was the first time I ever got to do anything like that! It was such an incredible experience and I learned so much about myself through the process. Horror has always had a bit of a therapeutic essence for me, and when I wrote my piece I felt like I got to release a lot of things I had been trying to process for a while. I felt like I was finally able to shut the door on some emotions I had been feeling – it was amazing! It was truly an honor to write my piece and I can’t wait to see it when it’s all done and published.

Hear Us Scream: The Voices of Horror

MT: Yes, I’m so proud of how far you’ve come, how hard you work, and I’m so glad that process was so cathartic for you! Well I’m definitely proud as hell of you for all you’ve accomplished and I look forward to seeing where your streaming career takes you!

Ashlinaa is a Latina, chronically ill, “Halloween-obsessed” content creator, artist & model, who likes to focus on charity & variety content on her channel. She loves to create spooky cozy spaces while raising awareness when possible.

You can find Ashlinaa at any of her links below!

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