Ovilee May, interviewer and hostess for the NA LCS, gave insight into her journey, job, and future.
Although the vital contributors to the success of the NA LCS majorly comes from the players and casters, the hostess/interviewer adds fluidity and entertainment to an already enjoyable show. Sitting down with the hostess/interviewer of the NA LCS, Inven Global was able to obtain a sneak glimpse into Ovilee’s transition from Yahoo Esports to Riot Games.
Discussing back and forth with such enthusiasm and sincerity, Ovilee displayed the exact flamboyant self as we have all seen on stage. Whilst it was our first time properly introducing ourselves to her, Ovilee made us feel welcomed.
Without filter, Ovilee told us the story behind her passion for not only games but also for Esports. Let’s see what she has to say about Travis, interviewing League players, and Legend Of Zelda.
¤ Could you quickly introduce yourself, please?
Hi, I’m Ovilee May. I do interviews and hosting for the North American LCS. And...yeah (laughs). I don’t know what else to say (laughs).
¤ From my knowledge, you previously worked in Yahoo Esports. How did you transition from Yahoo to Riot Games?
I actually got my start doing event coordination and behind the scenes production work. I worked as a technical director for quite some time at High School Star League. All of a sudden, I got myself into Collegiate Esports and the competitive scene. I ended volunteering to do hosting and interviewing for events like that.
I freaking love the collegiate scene so much. They are my babies. I just graduated from college just a month or two ago. So, I am still attached to college. I’m going to be stuck in college for the rest of my life. I ended up following Tespa’s Collegiate Overwatch Series. I made a short video about it. I was just updating the scene when there was no content for the college scene.
I kind of made that and hosted it on my own social media stuff, and Travis saw it. He was looking for an assistant at the time. Travis was like “Oh, this girl doesn’t seem terrible. Let’s bring her in as an assistant” (laughs). Hence, I started working with him.
Because Travis was the head of all Esports and even doing LCS interviews every weekend, the guy wanted a break. Travis started training me to do interviews on the weekend. He wanted to see if I was good at it or not. I SUCKED in the beginning. I was terrible. I was so scared to talk to any of the players I idolized.
But yeah, that is essentially what I did at Yahoo. I also ended doing a lot more stuff for Rocket League Championships, did Overwatch, and Heroes Of The Dorm. Travis started to help me build myself with self-confidence.
¤ Did you ever plan to be an interviewer? Or was this something that Travis introduced and you fell in love with?
I never thought I was going to do on-camera stuff. I always streamed a little bit in high school. I always watched Sjokz on stream, and I thought “I want to be Sjokz when I grow up.”. I think it is ironic that some people call me “NA Sjokz! NA Sjokz!”.
Some people think it is an insult towards me, but in my head, I am like “NO! When I was a kid, I wanted to be called NA Sjokz.”. People are calling me this and all I can think is “OMG”. I don’t believe I am deserving of that yet.
Until a year or two ago when I started doing stuff for Yahoo, I always knew that I loved Esports and the gaming community. I knew that I wanted to work in it. I just didn’t know what, yet. This is why I was doing behind the scene production, event coordination, community management, and worked on social media for Team Liquid for a year. I was just trying everything. When I decided to try on-camera stuff with Travis, it just stuck. I was like “Omg, this is great. I love it.”.
¤ What was your childhood dream? Did you always want to work with games ever since you were a kid?
Oh gosh. I mean… my childhood dream is...I don’t even remember what my childhood dream was. If we are going to be honest and this might be crazy, my childhood dream was “I want to be an anime character!”. However, that didn’t really happen. I try to live my life a bit crazy, so I guess I have a little bit of that.
I always knew I wanted to do something weird or crazy. I have been playing video games since I could crawl onto my dad’s computer to play Sesame Street. I had to find a way to combine the two: Doing something that I love and being able to be expressive + allowing other people to have a good time. And then just mixing it with video games. I freaking loved it.
This is kind of why I did event coordination. I did follow through what I did in childhood growing up. I just wanted to make sure other people were having a great time.
¤ Other than Sesame Street, what is another game that you played as a kid non-stop?
Ough...okay let’s see. I was really spoiled because the first game that I could comprehend was Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. I mean, I got hit with a banger right off the bat. I actually didn’t understand the game though. I was three years old. There is a picture of me three years old sitting on my uncle’s lap with a controller.
I just ran around Kokiri Forest collecting 99 rupees and then restarting the game. I never understood anything past that. A year later, my uncle was playing with me and he was like “You know… you haven’t even gotten the sword yet.”. I was like “WHAT SWORD?!”. He showed me how to get the sword, and it opened up the entire world. I was like “Oh my gosh!”.
This was actually how I learned to read. My uncle brought me that guide book or the strategy guide. I was like “Okay...uSe ThE DeKu sTiCk tO LighT tHe FirE.”. I thought to myself “Oh, great!”. But yeah, that was like my huge game.
Besides that, it was Pokemon, of course, and Age Of Empires with my dad. That was until I started beating him too much. I played a lot of Nintendo growing up because I wasen’t ‘allowed’ to touch the bigger games.
Modern Warfare I got in middle school. That is where I started popping off on more competitive games. My first Esports game was Starcraft in high school. I eventually moved onto League Of Legends.
¤ Out of all the games you have played, which game are you best at?
STARDEW VALLEY (laughs)! I’m just kidding (laughs). Umm… Oh jeez. Honestly… I am trash. Being around competitive players, I think to myself “Wow, I am not as good as I thought I was.”.
Growing up, because all my friends were guys, it was me and like 9 guys. I beat all of them. Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Smash, Modern Warfare 2, and played Soldier Front when we didn’t have Counter Strike.
Afterward, I hit college and met everyone in the real world. Meeting all the Esports people, I realized that I was not as good as I thought I was. Everyone around me was just bad. I mean.. If you put me on a speed run on Harvest Moon against anyone else, I will guarantee I will whoop ‘em. I used to be okay at League. Used to be…
¤ Used to be?
I dropped heavily. I won’t say where I am at now. But in high school, I hit my Diamond promos like 5 times. I just could never get passed them.
¤ What is your main role?
It was mid and jungle. Those were my two roles when I was climbing. After, I just went down on support because I enjoy playing the support champions more. I just love going in with Karma. She is my baby. Karma and Sejuani. I would play Sejuani when I jungle, and Ahri whenever I went mid.
¤ Talking a little bit about your job, what are some of the difficulties? Do you have a hard time balancing work with social life?
We are in Esports! We don’t get social lives (laughs). I mean the hardest part about interviewing is that you never know what that person is going to say. However, it is also one of the most fun parts. It is just up in the air.
Let’s say this happened with Cloud9. Something major happens and I go ask them beforehand “Hey, can I ask you this question?”. They say “Yeah, go for it.”. We go live and I ask “Hey, what happened here?”, and they respond “I don’t know.”.
It is like “Well... What do you know?”, and they say “Nothing.”. Where do you go from there right? This is why you always have to have a backup in mind. I am still kind of new to this. I started with Yahoo about a year and a half ago. I believe in the next month or so, it will be my first year with Riot. I didn’t even do anything for them in regards to Worlds, etc.
I am still learning and getting adjusted to how to do everything. That is one of the most difficult aspects. Not knowing what they are going to say. Prep wise, it is pretty nice. I have all these amazing and talented casters around me.
They are all so knowledgeable. If I ever have a question, I could go up to them and be like “Hey Jatt. What do you think about this?”. Jatt responds by saying “Oh, you know. This this and this.”. I could ask CaptainFlowers or Azael anything.
It is pretty nice. I definitely like it. There is absolutely a lot of work at some points, and other points you just sit and wait till the next interview. But, I enjoy it. I love it.
¤ Which player gave you the most difficulties when interviewing them?
I don’t think there was a player who was specifically difficult. It would also be like me calling out a player such as “Screw Smoothie!”. No no no no no. I believe it all depends on the situation. Even if a 5 loss streak team picks up a win and I go “Hey you guys picked up the win! How does it feel to be back?”, it is clearly not going to be that great of an interview.
They might be thinking “Okay, we picked up a win against a 10th placed team. What does that really mean for us? Are we a 9th placed team now?”. That team is not going to add a lot of substance to it. If I ask “Where can you guys pick up now? What changes need to be made?”, they might not want to answer that.
I think it is important to say that we always give the players the option to accept or decline the interview. If they don’t feel comfortable doing the interview, I don’t want to push them to do it. That just makes it uncomfortable for everyone.
Overall, there is no specific player. It is just the situation that may affect their responses.
¤ Which interview would you say is the favorite thus far?
Woof! Oh jeez. I mean… Travis trained me so… it has to be an interview that touches Doublelift. I believe my favorite interview so far is probably Spring Finals. This is because it was my first time doing an interview with the whole team.
It was a large event. It was Liquid’s first win. The victory meant so much to them. I talked with Steve beforehand, and I could tell he was a bit emotional. He was tearing up when I was handing him the mic.
Sitting there, I kind of cheated a little bit. We had everyone sitting in a row. I believe it went Impact, Xmithie, Pobelter, and it was supposed to go Peter-Olleh. But, I was like “You two switch. I want Doublelift next to me.” (laughs). I told Doublelift beforehand “Hey if I choke, I’m just going to ask you a question.” (laughs). I’m like “I’m counting on you!”.
Doublelift was really sweet. We got to hear all of the emotions. Impact was hugging the trophy. Xmithie had another crazy baron steal. Olleh with the amazing words for Peter at the end of the day. And of course, I had Doublelift next to me. Urgh. I’m one of those fanboys. I love Doublelift (laughs). By far my favorite.
¤ Who is a role model to you? Would that be Travis or someone else?
(Laughs). It is not Travis (laughs). I love Travis. Travis has taught me so much. I would always feel like I owe him something great. He has had such a huge impact on my life. I mean role model, I would look at someone like Sjokz. She is the biggest in my eyes. I have literally followed everything that she has done.
Ever since high school, I have been watching her watching her watching her grow. Sjokz was actually doing something with Travis before too. She grew with SK, ESL, and then Riot. I watched her entire career. I love to kind of model myself after her.
There are actually a lot of female role models in the Esports industry. Rachel Quirico. Kelly Link. I know there are a ton more that I am forgetting. They are all just amazing people. Urgh… but yeah. I want to be like them when I grow up (laughs).
¤ What are your goals as an interviewer? Do you ever see yourself going into casting?
I don’t really see myself going into casting. What the casters do is absolutely phenomenal. Whether it be color or play by play. I have nothing but love and respect for the amount of energy and expertise that they put into every single game. However, it is not something I enjoy or see myself doing.
Right now, I love doing interviews. I feel like I still have a lot of room for improvement. I would love to, one day, host a desk or try to do some bigger intros. Maybe even host a stage and do interviews, etc. Like I said, I just started (laughs). I’m still trying to get my footing and everything.
I have been trying to set goals for myself. This may sound a bit weird but two years ago, I had no idea what I was going to be doing. And now, I am working in my dream job that I would have never thought I would get in a million years. So, I don’t really know how to set goals (laughs).
After Yahoo, I was like “In 5 years, I am going to try and go for Riot.”. It took 5 months (laughs). I don’t know… it has been a rollercoaster.
¤ Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Like you said, do you think you will be hosting a stage like Worlds?
Yeah. I think doing interviews and hosting a stage at Worlds is very doable. Yeah, I’d be super excited for that.
¤ Since Worlds is going to be held in Korea this year, are you going to attend? Maybe check out Korean food, etc?
Oh yeah. I would love to do that. I have never been to Korea, and I have no idea what is over there. But, everyone is saying that it is the best place in the world. I’m like “Hold up though… What about Japan? Japan has anime though.” (laughs). But yeah, I would love to spend some time there and explore.
¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to say to all your supporters who have helped get you to this point?
I always ask Travis the same thing. I ask him if there is anything he wants to say because I have no idea (laughs). I mean… Jeez… thank you to everyone who has been following me on a very crazy adventure. Starting from Yahoo, all the way to the dream job at Riot. I really appreciate it.
I am trying to do the best that I can to give you guys more content. This may be doing random videos on Twitter or streaming on Twitch.
I would not be here if it wasn't for the encouragement of everyone watching. Thank you for supporting me and go support Travis some more. I owe him (laughs).
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