Payal Dhare© HelloIndia

Gaming Streamer Payal Dhare On Beating High Scores And Stereotypes

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Jeena J Billimoria

A prominent young YouTuber and gaming creator of 8Bit Creatives, Payal Dhare grew up in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, where societal norms prevailed and girls were discouraged from playing video games. However, Payal didn’t let these stereotypes deter her passion for gaming.

“While my mother initially had reservations, my father constantly backed my pursuit of making a mark in the gaming world,” she tells HELLO!. From the early days of playing games on her mobile, to becoming the first-ever female gamer in India to gaining millions of subscribers and Instagram followers, Payal’s (aka payalgaming) journey as a gaming content creator has been nothing short of extraordinary.

“I am immensely proud of reaching this mark and grateful for the consistent support of my parents and audience throughout my journey as a YouTuber,” Payal smiles. Her prowess has come with fitting adulation as well. Last year alone, she was the Dynamic Gaming Creator of the Year at Creators United 2023, awarded Best Female Gamer at the InfluencEX 2023 Awards by Exhibit and the Fan Favourite Female Streamer of the Year at the India Gaming Awards Season 2.

Payal Dhare YouTuber©HelloIndia

“While I cherish all my awards, the moment I gifted my parents a car remains the most memorable and proud moment for me,” she tells us as we sit down with the confident young woman and hear her story…

In Conversation With Payal Dhare

HELLO!: How were you first introduced to the world of gaming and how did your adventure as a gamer begin?

Payal Dhare: “While my first exposure to gaming came from my cousins in childhood, my journey into the world of professional gaming commenced with PUBG Mobile. It was while in my first year of engineering college that one of my friends introduced me to the game. As I improved my skills and my passion for the game grew, I began uploading videos that garnered overwhelming responses and introduced me to the wider gaming community.

Even though my adventure as a gaming creator has been challenging, I am grateful to see my parents are proud of my achievements as a prominent girl gamer as well as being part of the prestigious gaming organisation S8UL.”

H!: As a female gamer in India, have you been the subject of objectification by men (or male gamers)? If so, how did you overcome it?

PD: “Being a female gamer, I have encountered objectification and unwelcome comments from male gamers in what was previously a male-dominated field. Over time, I gained confidence and learned to ignore the trolls! The love and support of my fans and 8bit Creatives have been instrumental in helping me overcome these challenges.”

Payal Dhare Gamer©HelloIndia

H!: What message do you have for other young women pursuing their dreams?

PD: “Stay bold and resilient — despite challenges, don’t give up easily; work hard to turn your dreams into reality.”

H!: With an Instagram following of three million, do you feel a responsibility towards advocating any change or pushing for equal opportunities for women in India?

PD: “Through my platform, I consistently strive to inspire and empower other women to pursue their passions fearlessly, regardless of societal norms or gender stereotypes. I actively support initiatives and campaigns promoting gender equality and advocating for a more inclusive gaming environment. Aside from content creation, I firmly believe that organising more girls-only tournaments and competitions can encourage greater female participation in competitive gaming. Substantial prize pools offer financial incentives, which additionally makes gaming a viable career option for women.”

H!: What’s the long-term life plan?

PD: “I have not set concrete long-term plans, but I am fully prepared for greater opportunities that come my way. I am eager to contribute positively in this field as gaming and content creation are my true passions and I plan to continue pursuing them for as long as I can. There is a lack of female role models in the gaming industry and my biggest goal is to serve as an inspiration for girls looking to pursue gaming.”

Payal Dhare©HelloIndia

H!: What do you get up to when you’re not gaming?

PD: “I enjoy exploring new restaurants, café hopping, dancing and cooking. These hobbies allow me to unwind and indulge in activities outside of gaming.” (Smiles)

H!: You’re unlike the stereotypical gamer and seem to always be well turned out — are fashion and beauty important to you?

PD: “While gaming and content creation hold significant roles in my life, I also place an emphasis on fashion and beauty. I believe that personal style and grooming play a crucial role in self-expression that contributes to my confidence while streaming and interacting with my audience. From the outset of my journey as a gaming creator, my primary focus has been on connecting with my audience, but through gaming rather than as a lifestyle influencer. I enjoy presenting myself well while playing games with my viewers.”

H!: Tell us a little about your family life...

PD: “I come from a nuclear family that is incredibly supportive. I feel blessed to have loving parents who have always been my pillars of strength, encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Despite my busy schedule, I ensure that we spend quality time whenever we are together.”

This article has been adapted for the website from the March 2024 issue of HELLO! India. Grab your copies here.