Juliano needs no introductions in the electronic sports world. The 25-year-old had tried waitressing, telemarketing and was starting out as a hairdresser and stylist when her love of computer games landed her a full-time career as a professional, world-class gamer.
Having played Counter-Strike, a multiplayer video game, since the age of 11, Juliano was quick and skilled. As she entered her 20s, she was beating other established female players and getting herself noticed.
“I started getting known within the female Counter-Strike scene after my first successful local area network performance back in 2013. My team ended up third, but I personally got great stats that put me in the same league as the two best female players at the time; MiTsu from France and zAAz from Sweden.
“From that point, I became an in-game leader and my team went on to win the Electronic Sports World Cup of 2013. After that, within the eSports scene I was known, but not outside of it.”
Esports is now one of the fastest-growing international sports with Vodafone as a premium global partner, bringing gamers and fans from all over the world together.
Around the globe the best players and teams battle it out in front of live audiences, with millions more watching online.
Juliano’s decision to live-stream her tournaments on Twitch boosted her profile exponentially – as well as challenging male professional players to matches.
“I streamed a Counter-Strike tournament where I played against Titan, a professional all-male team from France. At that time, I think I could have been the first girl to play solo against a professional male ESL team and win. The game became pretty huge on the internet.”
The next major boost to Juliano’s gaming career came two years later, the HTC 1v1 tournament in Bucharest, where 16 contenders battled for a US$25,000 prize pool.
Juliano and her teammate zAAz did well, with scores close to the professional male players, but Juliano was lucky enough to beat one of them live, causing the hashtag for the match to go wild.
Over a short period, Juliano reached 100,000 social media followers across Twitter and Instagram, with nearly 800,000 subscribers following her matches in various ESL tournaments on YouTube.
Juliano explained: “After that, people started talking about me more. I’d say I was just at the right place in the right moment on both these occasions, showing what females can bring to electronic sports.”
From there, Juliano won every female tournament for the next two years.
“To pursue my career in eSports, I did move back home for a while with my mother so I could focus completely on the game and start earning money from Counter-Strike,” she said.
“I had to convince my mum to trust me and that I could do this. I’m glad she gave me the chance to go for it.”
Juliano has made enough playing professional eSports to save up to buy her own house. She has also just bought her dream car – a Porsche Panamera.
As a leading player she travels all over the world to defend her title, and is keen to let girls know it can be a rewarding career.
“I think that if you see your potential to become one of the best at something you do, don’t let anything stop you, no excuses.”
“I became one of the best female players in the world. I followed my dream even if I had a day job on the side, I came straight home to play and sacrificed my private life for it. I think everyone should believe in themselves to reach their goals. Remember that anything is possible, as long as you believe.”
With millions of young people gaming and around 500,000 digital jobs across the European Union likely to be unfilled by 2020, Vodafone is helping point young people like these towards digital careers.
Vodafone recently launched the Future Jobs Finder, a tool to help young people find out if their skills and interests are a good fit for a range of digital jobs.
Using a game interface the tool also recommends relevant training – while identifying job vacancies around the world.
On completion, users are given a summary of their skills and interests that can be used in a CV or in a job application.
Among the 150 future job categories included, some are closely associated with gaming, such as:
1. Digital product designer
2. Game tester
3. Game designer
4. UX designer (user experience designer)
5. UI designer (user interface designer)
Vodafone recently supported a series of ESL initiatives promoting diversity and female participation in the historically male-dominated eSports arena. This included collaborating with the world’s top female eSports personalities to highlight opportunities for women to participate professionally.
Speaking from the AEM Sydney Open tournament in Australia, female pro players Sonia, Peachy, ARTeMis and Munchie talked about how the female eSports scene is evolving.
Munchie’s advice for girls wanting to enter the profession is simple. “Don’t let anyone put you down and stop you from playing the game.”
Juliano’s fans follow her on social media, on Twitch and to tournaments all over the world to watch her play