In the fifth article of our “Women in Esports” series, we had the pleasure of quizzing Vanessa “Nessa” Ahlström. Nessa currently plays for the all-female CS:GO team Project C. She has been a competitor in the female CS:GO scene for many years and has a successful streaming career over on Twitch.
Thank you for taking this interview! Firstly, what was your path into professional CS:GO?
“Hello! I started playing “pro” cs in 2017 in a small Swedish team; I had enjoyed CS:GO for some time but didn’t know what to do with it. When I learned about the female scene, I instantly tried to join a team, and I’ve been stuck ever since!”
Did you have any role models when coming into Esports?
“I’ve never really had any role models in esports but I was definitely a fan of the CS:GO team Fnatic when I started playing.”
In your time playing competitively, who has taught you the most about the game?
“I would never be the player I am today if not for specially Hellrose but also Spyleader, they basically taught me how to play CS:GO but also a lot of things outside of the game. I will be forever grateful for that!”
Your current team is Project C. How would you describe the role you play in this team? Does it differ from the role you played in your previous teams (Demise fe, Crowns fe, etc.)?
“Well, first of all, I haven’t been playing “role-based” CS:GO before, and I kind of play the role of entry fragger in the current team. I’m definitely enjoying the learning process!”
In CS:GO, it’s quite rare to see women competing alongside or against men. Do you think this will change in the future?
“I hope so! I think Valorant has kind of shown that girls have the potential if they put down the work. So hopefully we will see mix-gendered teams in the future!”
Do you think women’s leagues are effective in incorporating women into E-Sports?
“200%, when I started playing I had no idea that there even was a female scene, so if it wasn’t for Dreamhack hosting a female tournament back then I might have never learned about this scene, which would have felt very lonely.”
Have you ever felt that your gender has affected your ability to get onto teams or develop your career in E-Sports?
“I have never felt like my gender has held me back from playing in teams or such; It has rather been my skill. It has given me some really fun opportunities.”
What is your proudest accomplishment in gaming?
“My proudest accomplishment is coming 3rd in Dreamhack Showdown Valencia. We had worked very hard before the event and I had a lot of fun playing it!”
What advice would you give to other women who want to become professionals in E-Sports?
“You aren’t alone, so if you feel bad there is always girls and boys out there to support you and if you put in hard work and dedication you can achieve anything you want!”
What is coming up for you and Project C in 2021?
“Next up for Project C is the Ambush Female Winter Cup and ESEA Open that we are currently playing in.”
Is there anything else you would like to add or any messages to the fans?
“Thank you for the unconditional love and support; 2021 is going to be THE year!”
A big thank you to Nessa for talking to us and providing a great deal of insight into her career in CS:GO and her views on the issues.