I have to admit that when I first saw the Frag Dolls many years ago I wrote them off completely. The Frag Dolls, for anybody who is unaware, are an all girl gaming group sponsored by Ubisoft who basically work as PR girls and play competitively in all major gaming tournaments. The name Frag Dolls is made up of the word "Frag" as into to blow someone to high heaven in-game and "Dolls" from the word "Rag-doll", the in-game physics that send a dead body flying across the map.
To me, the Frag Dolls symbolized everything I hated about this girl-gamer malarkey. They were all pretty model types that were paraded in-front and hand picked by some big industry monster. However, I have to admit through my own ignorance I had never really bothered to try and see it any differently. I was happy disliking the Frag Dolls and even voiced said disgust too.
At PAX Prime 2010 though, I actually met my first ever Frag Doll and (oddly enough her nickname was "Phoenix") and thing was, she was awesome. I went to the Frag Dolls party and met the majority of them. It was an utter eye opener to how close minded I had been. These were some of the nicest, most welcoming and most passionate people I had ever met in the industry. So for "This thing that I do," I decided to interview the top US Frag Doll, Faith Harrison.
Faith, lets start with the basics shall we? When and how did you get into gaming?
As most gamers, I started at the early age of 5. I enjoyed everything from Lode Runner on the Apple
II, to Atari’s Space Invaders, to Nintendo’s Mario and Zelda. Growing up, my main goal in gaming was
destroying my brother at as many games possible (which I did a lot!) Throughout my teen years, if I
wasn’t playing soccer, or out with friends, I’d be at home getting my competitive fulfillment through
gaming. I didn’t become “competitive” in gaming until Halo came out in Nov. of 2001 when I was in
College. From there on, gaming took over my life both competitively and casually and that’s when I knew
that I wanted to work in the gaming industry! I’m a gamer for LIFE!
Many people will know you as "Phoenix", a member of the Frag Dolls. Who are the Frag Doll and what do they do?
Officially, the Frag Dolls are a team of professional female gamers who work for Ubisoft to promote their
videogames and represent a positive presence of women in the game industry. But as individuals, we
are all so different, and bring different aspects to our group. Our goal is to make every female gamer out there realize that they are a Frag Doll, and that we are just representing them as a team. There isn’t any one type of woman on our team. We have mothers, we have students, we have wives, we have women in the work force, and we even have a CSI hand double on the team! Some of our activities include playing and promoting games at industry and game community events, competing in tournaments, working on marketing strategies for Ubisoft titles, and participating daily in gamer geek activities.
How has an all girl team been received within the gaming industry?
Back in the day, the typical response when people heard about an all girl gaming team, was “WOW, girls
play videogames?!” But times have changed and for the better! Women are starting to bring the gaming
world to an even playing field compared to the male dominated past! But again we constantly have to
prove ourselves to gamers and the industry as most women of any occupation have to.
And how are you received by gamers themselves, lets say when you are competing for example?
To be completely honest, we get both the good and the bad. We have fans and friends that completely
support us and most of the gamers we meet at events or online, whether male or female, think its
badass that there is a group of female gamers like ourselves who love videogames, and love to beast. But then we have the gamers that hate just to hate. They judge before even meeting us, gaming with us or knowing what we stand for. We are passionate, hardcore gamers whether people want to believe it or not, and we’ll gladly prove it to anyone who doubts.
Now we know the Frag Dolls are sponsored by Ubisoft, but what does being sponsored by such a large
name mean to you girls? Do you think it helps you, or hinders you in favour of more "indie" groups.
By being connected to Ubisoft, we have been blessed with opportunities and openings that many
are not. We get to be a part of the industry where our opinions matter, and this has given us a
platform to get the gamers voice across in the industry. I think it helps us with “indie" groups. We
not only play the mainstream games. We also play the indie games like The Misadventures of P.B
or Puzzle Quest
and blog, Facebook and Tweet about them. Yes, our main
job is to promote Ubisoft games, but we are also out there to promote our passion for gaming, get more
women into gaming, be a positive role model and grow a strong community of great people!
The Frag Dolls web page speaks about how you support '... advocacy of female gamers.' Tell us how
you do this and of course do you think you need to?
Besides speaking at numerous panels about women in gaming, we offer female gamers a place to be taken seriously, express their love for gaming, and connect with other female gamers. We have numerous community events to get them involved. We offer a Cadette program to give women a chance to get their foot in the door of the gaming industry. I feel that today women are starting to even out the gaming field, but that we are still in the minority and this is a great opportunity for women to band together and share a passion.
How do you balance your life? Your a wife, a mother, you work and you're a Frag Doll. That sounds pretty extreme to me!
(Laughs) Yes it can get a little crazy at times but that’s the way I like things … a little crazy. It’s all about
time management. When my son’s at school, I get all my work done, then once he’s home its Mom time. Once my little one is in bed its GAME time (Laughs.) Now, the best thing about working in the gaming industry is that my son can join in on the fun too! He helps me test out games for Ubi, he comes on trips with me to promote Ubisoft kids games. But none of this would be possible without the constant support from my family and friends.
Fnally, if any women reading this really like the idea of being a Frag Doll, how can they apply and
what kind of skills do they need?
For women interested in becoming a Frag Doll, we have started the Frag Dolls Cadette program. The
Frag Dolls Cadette program can be compared to a mini internship; every six months we select twelve
girls to take part in our Cadette program where they will be asked to do anything from working gaming
events, writing gaming blogs, social media work, forum moderating, and interact with our community.
The Cadette Program is a great way for us to get more girls involved in gaming and allows the Cadettes
to learn just how the marketing side of the gaming industry works, as well as promoting them as female
gamers. It also gives us a chance to scout out good candidates when we do decide to hire a new Frag
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