Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Ann-Kathrin Kuhls, Host and Producer at GamePro Germany. Read more about Ann-Kathrin in this interview:
Hi Ann-Kathrin! Talking about games is your everyday business, whether you write reviews, produce videos or host a gaming-related show on Twitch. Could you tell us a bit more on how you ended up where you are now?

Ironically, I never wanted to become a journalist, because it always seemed like such a cut-throat business to me. But I have always loved stories and everything about them: the way they take you to a different world, the way they influence people, the emotions they cause (not just in the readers but in society as well – just look at the outrage people felt when novels became popular! An evil, emotion-filled menace!) and all the different ways people tell stories nowadays.

And since I have never been able NOT to write, I decided to pair that with my love for storytelling, especially interactive storytelling – which led me to wanting to write about video games. Not as an actual job, but as an internship during uni. Just to see what’s out there besides lectures and courses and all that. So I went and bought all the gaming magazines (yes, actual, printed magazines!) I could find and sifted through them until I found the GamePro. I really liked the writing style as well as the people in there and decided to just shoot them a message to see if they were looking for interns. 

It worked, but instead of doing just an internship, I continued as a trainee. I then changed teams and started a YouTube-Channel for a company, then came back to GamePro to work as an editor. But while working, I found myself being intrigued with videos, because they offer possibilities in storytelling that texts don’t. So by 2021, I switched to the GameStar/GamePro YouTube channel and this is where I’m currently at. It took me a while to figure out where I felt most comfortable, but I think I found the place.

What does a typical work day in your life look like (if there is such a thing as a “typical” day when it comes to your job)?

That really depends on what time of the year it is and whether there is a pandemic going on or not. Normally, I start my day with getting up to speed with what happened over night, since the American news-cycle happens when I should be sleeping. Then I meet with my colleagues and we talk about what we are planning to do, if there is something that needs to be addressed, like a surprise-launch or something like that. After that, we each work on our own projects. Luckily, we are relatively free in our time management as long as it’s done by the date we set. 

Depending on the video, working on my things means research into the topic I want to cover (which could be everything from the life of a Hungarian serial killer-countess, the WHO’s protocol to outbreaks of any kind or what temperatures the human body can withstand to why liquid metal cooling is equally convenient and scary when used in the PS5), playing games I want to talk about, scripting and recording videos or look around different platforms to find out what people are interested in at the moment.

Depending on the day, I might be organizing a stream, since my team has its own streaming channel. If it is a bigger event, I might be preparing guests, interviews or things I need to consider while hosting. 

Apart from that, I also try to keep an eye on the comment section of our YT-Channel (we all do) and be active in our Discord, to find out if people are happy there as well. 

Pre-COVID, I would sometimes travel to see new games or to interview developers or visit cons like gamescom or E3. Talking to devs, viewers and the community are some of my favourite things to do, but sadly all that has been on hold. I hope that by the time it’s safe to be within a large crowd of people again, we will be able to travel and meet everyone. 

So, depending on the day, my work varies 🙂

As a woman in games journalism on a public platform, you get confronted with criticism on a daily basis – and not all of it is constructive criticism. How do you deal with all the opinions?

The most important thing is not to look at comments after 11pm.
I try to limit the time I’m dedicating to looking at comments to my work day, because then I can sort it as “work” in my brain. Not looking at them late at night helps me to see them for what they are, and keep a professional distance.

If it’s constructive criticism, I take notes. I always strife to be better and am thankful for suggestions and ideas. If it’s not… that really depends on how I feel at that moment. Sometimes I can’t help but troll back, because I think I’m kind of an imp at heart. But on other days, it just makes you feel empty and question why you’re doing what you do, to be honest. Because no matter what I do, there will always be someone who questions my competence because I’m female. I am a woman, therefore I only play certain games, which make my opinion invalid. Funny enough, the type of comments haven’t changed since I started gaming online – but now there are more of them. People have opinions on my hair colour, my headphones, my mannerisms, my voice, and depending on what I’m wearing, I get accused of basically using “sex sells” to be successful. 

If I feel especially defeated,  I screenshot the comments and send them to my friends, which descend on them like beautiful, scary valkyries. Not online of course! I wouldn’t want anybody to insult someone on my behalf. But in our group chat. Sometimes, you just need a group of people you love the most to tell you that this random person on the internet is wrong. And probably a tool.

Most of the time though, I know that people who are writing these vile comments are probably very sad, angry or lonely themselves. Most of the time, it’s not me. I’m just a punching bag they can use to release their anger. And after hurling insults at someone who (for them) only exists on the internet and can’t react, they feel better. That doesn’t make the thing in itself better, but it helps me not to take it to heart. 

And in the end, these comments are the minority. We have so many awesome people watching and reading and otherwise engaging with our content. Everytime someone writes a nice comment, tells me that my video helped them or made them laugh, it makes it all worthwhile for me. I don’t care as much for numbers and clicks (to a fault, because I probably should care way more), but for what people think of my content. Because at the end of the day, that’s who I make videos for. I love to hear that I helped people with what to buy (or not to buy), or that I showed them an awesome game they haven’t seen yet.     

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Ann-Kathrin!

Ann-Kathrin’s Links: TwitterInstagramGamePro GermanyGameStar Germany Youtube-ChannelMonsters & Explosions Twitch Channel

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Jessica Hackenbroch