Written by Yasmin Aboelsaud
Originally posted on March 31, 2022
“I love my job so much, and feel lucky to get to do it every day.”
Not many can say they began their career as an unpaid freelancer only to find themselves a few years later ranked as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” but Alanah Pearce can.
The 28-year-old Australian is often called the “epitome of a multi-hyphenate,” she works full-time as a writer at Sony Santa Monica Studios, and is a content creator, podcaster, and streamer on Twitch. But her mark on the gaming industry doesn’t stop there, Alanah helps lead charity streams, and runs a gaming accessibility award event. Yes, Alanah is the “epitome of a multi-hyphenate.”
Known online as Charalanahzard, Alanah said she’s been playing games since she was about four years old, and has been writing as a hobby ever since she could write.
“Gaming and writing were my two most consistent hobbies, and I had planned to pursue a career in writing, but hadn’t accounted for the gaming side because, honestly, it never occurred to me that I could,” said Alanah from California, where she currently lives. “I think, growing up, I so rarely saw people who looked like me represented in the games industry at all that it didn’t quite click that I could join it.”
But after working a job at a call centre, a job she hated, Alanah said she was often looking for freelance writing work and eventually took a job as an “unpaid video game journalist.”
“I already had a blog where I wrote about games in my spare time, so I applied, and then threw everything I could at it in the hopes of turning it into a career,” she said. “I started out in the games industry as a freelance writer, then worked my way up to a part-time writing job, and then eventually full-time.”
Having been a freelancer at the start, Alanah said her first experiences were fully remote, and even back then, she really enjoyed it. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” she said, even though there are “some unique challenges that come with being a woman in games.”
“I think what has always kept me going is remembering that so long as I persevere through the uglier side of things, it’ll be easier for every single girl who comes after me.”
And Alanah is really helping pave the way for inclusivity in the gaming community.
In 2020, she created the Video Game Accessibility Awards, an awards show that honours games and studios that did the most to make their games available to all to players. This year, actor Ryan Reynolds was a presenter at the show.
“I created the Video Game Accessibility Awards with the very specific intention of trying to encourage more developers to add accessibility options to their games, so that disabled gamers are able to play them,” Alanah said. "It’s important to me personally as I have accessibility needs, I can’t play any game that requires rapid tapping, but also because my time in the industry has introduced me to more and more disabled gamers.”
Games are known to help mental health. According to a clinical psychologist, video games can help those living with mental illness by providing a way to relax, and connect with others. Which is why Alanah wants gaming to be accessible to everyone.
“It’s consistent across the board that video games feel like an escape for real-world troubles, and can be hugely beneficial to our mental health, so I don’t think it’s fair that disabled gamers are so often excluded from so many gaming experiences,” she said. “The gaming industry uniquely has the technology to accommodate everyone, and we should!”
Perhaps it is her positivity, or her multi-talent in gaming, Alanah has built a massive online community of over two million across platforms.
She said that despite the size, people online will be king and positive if you give them the opportunity to.
“The internet can feel like a really angry place, so I think it’s on content creators to shape more positivity, and their communities absolutely will follow. It’s not even difficult, you just have to give them the chance,” said Alanah. “This is a large part of why 100% of my twitch streams are for charity - I feel good, the people donating feel good, and there’s a positive impact.”
While she has a lot of accomplishments achieved so far, including making the Forbes list, Alanah’s proudest achievement is landing her dream job.
“Outside of content creation and streaming and podcasting in my spare time, I currently work for one of the most prestigious triple A game studios of all time,” she said. “I’m in my second year writing at Santa Monica Studio and I still can’t believe it! I love my job so much, and feel lucky to get to do it every day.”
And for anyone looking to follow her footsteps, Alanah said to stay true to yourself, and stand up for yourself.
“Don’t let anyone curb your enthusiasm.”