"There's life outside of fighting games? Sounds boring" - Shina "Palushina" Williams

We at UYU recently announced our esports spot sponsorship program called UYU;GO. GO stands for Growth and Opportunity and will be the first of its kind and aims to bring the esports experience to a wider audience. UYU;GO is an initiative to provide non-sponsored players from the United States with the opportunity to travel to one major tournament to compete with the world's best, including members of the UYU pro tournament roster. “We are excited to extend the opportunity for growth to deserving players from local scenes across the country." says Jinhee Ahn Kim, CEO of UYU.

The first recipient of the UYU;GO spot sponsorship will be Shina “Palushina” Williams from Ohio, who has elected to compete at DreamHack Atlanta on November 16-18. Palushina will be joined by other female members of UYU’s pro and stream teams for UYU Fight Camp - where the women will share tech, create content, and enrich and empower each other.

Before you see Palushina tear it up at DreamHack Atlanta, friend of UYU Amanda Stevens sat down with her for an interview. Read below to see how Palushina got into competing in the FGC, how competition and gaming is in her blood, and advice on how to help make yourself desirable as a brand.

To start things off, what does it mean to you to have the opportunity to be the first UYU;GO participant?

To be the first person in the UYU;GO program gives off this very warm feeling in my heart. Helping this team start off something new that others can look forward to in the near future is worth the opportunity.

How did you get into fighting games as a competitor in the first place?

As a competitor? I think it started sometime last year, when Tekken 7 was coming out. I did not see many women up in the spotlight and it gave me determination to make a name myself. I also wanted to help influence the girls who are lurking in the shadows in the FGC.

So you were already playing fighters before that?

Oh yeah, I wouldn't be surprised that I came out the womb with a controller attached to me at this point.

[Laughs] How did you find fighting games and the FGC?

Fighting games has been a part of my life since I was little. From Dreamcast with early 1990's KOF and Rival Schools, to PlayStation playing Tekken 3 and variant Streetfighters. My mother and my Uncles were heavy into playing them so it kinda passed down to me. As for the FGC I have EVO moment #37, my lord and savior Daigod's parry to thank for that.

I think Moment #37 hooked a generation, it did for me. Are you competitive outside of fighting games, like sports or anything?

Sadly, the answer is yes. I don't know how to make things not competitive - it's in my blood. In high school I was a striker in our soccer team so.. losing was never an option in my well being.

Do you think anything from your time playing sports translates into your play?

Yes, I'm a very aggressive, head strong, mix up type of person because of it. Due to that style my favourite characters consist of those things.

What about the mental?

The will to always win will always and I mean ALWAYS be there.

Did you continue soccer into college?

Oh no no. That wasn't a dream, I just played because I liked the uniform. [laughs]

What is life outside of fighting games for Palushina like?

There's a life outside of fighting games? Wow sounds boring.. But no really! Haha I try my best to keep up with school, work, and digital art is something I'm planning on pursuing again.

What are you currently in school for and do you find it hard to balance life alongside being an active competitor?

I am currently under Business and Management I plan on opening a business one day. As for balancing out? It's not hard it doesn't get hectic until the end of the semester, where you're forced to focus on school more because of finals and such.

I want to loop back to something you said earlier - "I also wanted to help influence girls who are lurking in the shadows in the FGC." What's your local scene like for women?

There's just me and CatGirlPrincess as far as competitors, but sometimes the guy's girlfriends and wives always tells me how much of an inspiration I am. Everyone kinda sees us as one of the guys though which makes things easier to compete. No special treatment or anything, it's war when we're next to each other playing games.

Have you tried to get the girlfriends and the wives to play/play more?

I haven't they barely come back haha, but I hope they're kicking their man's ass hopefully to meet up with me again.

What is your local scene like otherwise?

Three words: Fun, stressful, hyperbolic time chamber.. That's more than three, but you get me.

Moving to looking at Dreamhack Atlanta, UYU is going to have most of their female members in attendance to give you advice - are you excited?

I don't show much excitement when it's up and coming things but I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. Especially since there aren't much women in this community.

You told me you're going to be competing in multiple games at DreamHack, which game do you think is your strongest and which still needs polishing?

My strongest is probably still Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, I barely play it but I'll always know what my Menat can do. As for polishing? Soul Calibur 6 - I'm pretty new to it competitively but I'm learning fast.

Personally, why do you think that is?

I guess I'd have to say that videogames were looked at more as entertainment for boys growing up. So, more men being in the FGC isn't surprising - but I'd like it if women were just as comfortable.

What do you think as a community the FGC can do to solve?

To stop looking at us as some little girls who's playing with barbies or needed to go "easy on." Gaming has nothing to do with our gender, just our hands and brain. Due to that kind of thinking some would lose or even say ugly things about who game. Run the set, she's trying to win just as bad as you are. To sleep on your opponent in any situation WILL make you go 0-2.

Women are smart don't mess with their intelligence in this community, that's an easy win for us.

Of the ladies from UYU that you'll be getting guidance from, is there anyone you're looking forward to interacting with the most?

Yuyu, she's pretty dope and I can relate to her a lot just from what I've seen at tournaments.

To other people who are looking for opportunities like UYU;GO, what would you say they should focus on when presenting themselves to orgs?

Personality , results are just an icing on the cake . If you do not have a personality that can bring people to like, love, or follow you? It will just get harder for you to be a part of an esports family. You can't have results and think someone is just gonna pick you up when you have the personality of white bread.

Smug is my favorite example when it comes to personality, the kid is great at fighting games. We know him best for his love of a certain boxer, but when you see or meet him? It's as if you've known him your whole life as a close relative or something or THAT goofy friend from high school.