Friday, March 1, 2024
Spotlight Interviews

Spotlight on… Izzy Jagan

This week is Lesbian Visibility Week and Gayming Magazine are passionate about supporting our lesbian friends, players and colleagues. As such, it’s only right that we interview a strong lesbian woman on this week of all weeks, so it was my pleasure to sit down with the awesome Izzy Jagan to talk about her life and career in games.

This column is produced in partnership with Out Making Games, the UK games industry’s LGBTQ representation group. Find out more about OMG by visiting their website.

Hi Izzy, thanks for joining me today, let’s start off with you introducing yourself to our readers, what is it you do in the games industry? 

I’m a Junior Global PR Manager at Square Enix External Studios, working on Life is Strange and a few other bits that will go unmentioned for now!

When did you start out in PR? 

I started out actually before I even graduated university when I was given an internship at Indigo Pearl at the age of 21… I’m 24 now, so that was ages ago!

Photo by @rega_photography
What was your main inspiration for getting into games? 

I’ve loved games my whole life but I’d always felt like there was a disconnect between me and people similar to me and the way that games were portrayed and talked about – I wanted to see if I could help change that.

As a female-identifying lesbian of colour, were you put off at all by the apparent lack of diversity in the industry?

If anything, that made me want it MORE. I was under no illusion that I couldn’t change it alone, but I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to make a change – so I went into it with the goal to meet people in the industry who I shared common ground with to join forces

What difficulties have you faced in the industry regarding being female, queer and a POC? 

Imposter syndrome is REAL! Especially when apparently you don’t exist in many of the worlds you play and work on. Other than driving an existential crisis over if I DO really exist, it can be quite discouraging at times to put so much love and time and passion into something without feeling seen and heard. Though it did just make me feel like I have to be louder and larger! 

And what have you found most empowering about being a queer female of colour in the games world? 

I’ve found that once you are in an open, welcoming work environment, people do genuinely appreciate that you have a different perspective, just inherently by being yourself. I’ve never felt more powerful than when I am able to speak my truth and have it contribute towards something palpable within a game or campaign.

What’s the proudest moment you’ve had so far in your career? 

I got to work on the PR for Kingdom Hearts 3! It was my absolute fav games as a young, weeby child. It just felt so so surreal to be working on the OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN for a franchise that I used to write bad fanfiction about when I was 14. Also getting to now work on one of my favourite games, Life is Strange, is an absolute honour.

Where do you see your career going in the next 5-10 years? 

My main hope is to continue building connections that really matter within the industry’s. Building a solid circle of support and passion around me is very very important, and being able to support those people in turn. To me, this world is all about the people in it, so I want to connect to as many of them as I possibly can. Genuinely, and sincerely.

You’re part of the UK games industry LGBTQ representation group Out Making Games, tell us more about that and your involvement with it. 

What an amazing group of humans, first of all! It’s an absolute pleasure to be surrounded by such talent and pure love for this industry and the people in it. I’m lucky enough to be able to lend my PR lens to things when needed, making the message built by the group as accessible to as many people as possible.

The recent Ukie Diversity Census found that 22% of the UK games industry was LGBTQ, were you surprised by that and what do you think of that figure? 

Surprised but also not. 22% is a higher density than that of the general population in the UK! Seeing it in numbers is shocking, but also I believe that games as a whole really tend to draw in LGBTQ+ people, due to the performative aspects of identity within them. I won’t get into postmodernism right now but definitely DM me for an essay on performative identity within video games!

Photo by @bn1_portraits
What more work is there to be done by OMG and the wider industry to empower the LGBTQ community? 

I think right now it’s just about creating accessibility and intersectionality. Using our voice to boost trans people, non-binary people, disabled queer people and other lesser represented groups. We are well on our way to doing that!

What genre of games do you enjoy playing the most? 

I love wacky fantasy games. the more irreverent the better! Give me 2000 pages of lore and backstory, I will consume it ALL.

What games are getting you through isolation at the moment? 

Like every twee gay, I’m playing Animal Crossing. I’m also granted with the pleasure of loosing at Mario Kart to my flatmate every now and again. Really keeps you humble.

What game are you most looking forward to coming out this year? 

I’m looking forward to The Last of Us part 2. Even though a release date is postponed for now, I’m still excited for it whenever it is ready! That game was a major reason for me wanting to get into games. The giraffe scene, man.

Where can people find out more about you?  

Twitter – @izzydrag0n

Instagram – @izzydrag0n

Email, if you really want to: izzyj@eu.square-enix.com

Robin Gray

[He/Him] Robin is the Founder of Gayming Magazine. He's on a mission to fly the LGBTQ flag proudly over the video games world and drive forward authentic representation in the industry, in the press and in the games we love.