Here comes Trouble: In-depth interview with NLC LoL caster Troubleinc on her journey towards the LEC, her unique accent and staying true to herself – ‘I’m unfiltered and uncensored, and that’s how I’m going to stay’

troubleinc

Image credit: lolesports flickr

Whenever we discuss the topic of up-and-coming League of Legends casters, one name is often thrown into the ring: Georgia ‘Troubleinc‘ Paras, caster for the UK/Nordics NLC and content creator for SK Gaming.
As one of few women casters from the European Regional Leagues (ERLs), she’s been steadily climbing the ranks from her beginnings in the Balkans/Greek scene, to the EU Masters, to making a guest appearance on the LEC, along with other NLC casters. It’s been somewhat of a rapid rise for the Greek caster.
Despite this, we as a community haven’t got to know Troubleinc as a person that well. Who is Troubleinc? How did she get into esports and what are her aspirations? Where does her accent come from? Megalodontus finds out in this interview and profile piece.

Thank you for accepting this interview, Troubleinc. To start it off, I’d like to ask you about your background and history. Where do you come from, what’s your education background and why the name ‘Troubleinc’?

I was born and raised in Greece – I’m Greek from both sides of my family. I had ties to gaming due to my parents playing a lot of games. Growing up we had consoles all the time and we were playing games, they were watching me play them and we took turns to play as well. So basically, I grew up in a family of gamers!

When computers and the internet became a thing – because well, I’m quite old – I started to play World of Warcraft (WoW) due to my cousin introducing it to me. I got hooked on it instantly. What I found most interesting was that I could speak to so many people in English. I love English, I just love the language! I was so eager to better my English and speak to all these other people, so that I could learn about all the different backgrounds and cultures in Europe. I think that’s what kept me playing for so long, since I could learn from so many different people and practice my English as well.

After some time at university, I realised it wasn’t for me. I studied Applied Mathematics and after a while I went, “yeah screw that, I love maths but everything else including studying, I just can’t”. I decided then to meet up with my partner at the time who was living in England. I thought to myself I have to study something at some point, so I enrolled in a college there.

Honestly, it wasn’t the greatest of relationships, but I choose to keep and remember the good, not the bad, and learn from it. He got me into the world of games like Call of Duty, other online games, and we played WoW too. He was the one who introduced me to League of Legends (LoL) and when I started, I was playing Amumu jungle (laughs). That was my jam back then! My partner then was constantly telling me that I bring ‘trouble’ wherever I go so I embraced it, and that’s how “Troubleinc” was born! I took something with a bad connotation behind it and said to myself that I’ll fucking roll with it and rock this name!

You mentioned coming from a gaming family, what games did you play with your parents before the internet blew up?

My dad and I were so into Pro Evolution Soccer! We were playing a lot of football games. I recall my favourite team was Ireland for some reason. I would pick them over every other team because they were the fastest or something (laughs). We played International Track & Field and I remember we bought an extension for the Playstation 1 that specifically allowed a third and fourth controller, so all three of us could play it together. We were very, very competitive!

For games that we would just chill and watch each other play, there were titles like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot and other puzzle games. We played pretty much everything other than maybe sci-fi and alien games.

My first ever cast was for a Greek/Balkan tournament and oh dear lord… we were at an internet cafe, we booked a little booth which was closed from other areas, and it could only fit two people, but we needed to go in as four. That meant we were squashed in together so that we fit in the camera, but everyone there was so passionate and enjoyed it despite being squashed in a tiny booth!

Wow. That’s brilliant. I’m guessing your strong connection to games growing up and your ex drawing you into competitive games helped, but I’d like to know what made you decide to pursue a career in esports?

I didn’t have a plan when I left England. To clear my head and have a brand new start, I went home to Greece. My plan was to get a job for a year, save some money on the side and then go back to England on my own terms to study what I wanted. While I was on this break, I coincidently met, well… now an ex-partner, up until four months ago, who was from Germany and we met through Counter-Strike (CS). After a few months, I moved to Germany to be together.

Basically my entire journey up till now is about fucking romance, you could make a movie out of it! (laughs)

When I moved to Germany, I discovered streaming. I found it really cool and then I also starting using YouTube, I was doing make-up videos while also doing games, and back then I was somewhat of a semi-pro in CS. I wanted to be a CS pro but… the women’s scene in Europe was just nothing. It just wasn’t possible. I continued streaming CS and a Greek organisation somehow found me asked if I would be interested in joining them. It was Ad Finem and I remembered they had won something significant in Dota 2 at that point, and over two months they blew up in popularity for some reason in Dota, and now they brought me on as well.

At some point, the ESL One Cologne 2016 Major was really close to where I was living at the time, about two hours away, and I remember messing the CEO of the org asking if I could go because I would love to see it live.

He replied: “You know what? I could give you press passes and you could help up do interviews.”

I was overjoyed and fangirling all over the players because they were big heroes to me.

I attended ESL One Cologne, did a bunch of interviews with the players, and there were names like Semmler, Pansy, device and TACO back then, the world champions from SK Gaming, funnily enough! When I returned with the recordings, the CEO sees them and was surprised, asking me if I ever done anything like this in the past. I replied I’ve only been playing games and he said that I was really gifted in front of the camera, that I was very natural and had good knowledge of CSGO and about the history, the players and the like.

He then passed the recordings to another Greek organisation, who at the time were hosting a small Balkans LoL tournament, and they asked me: “You’re really knowledgeable about CS, but what about LoL?”

I said: “Well, I play and watch LoL, like Worlds for example, but I’m not a caster or an analyst.”

They then told me they’d like me to host/cast Balkan tournaments and that’s where it all started. ESL later reached out to me for their Balkan tournament, then DreamHack in 2019 for the old Nordic Championship, and then a bunch of other gigs like women’s tournaments where Froskurinn couldn’t attend a lot of them. I was somewhat lucky in that sense, since I was considered the next in line to be invited.

It just all happened way too quickly and I realised that this was ‘it’. When I walked into the DreamHack studio in 2019 for the Nordic Championship finals, the lights, cameras and just everything about the atmosphere, I thought, “yeah, that’s it”. There wasn’t even an audience, it was just about walking into the studio and realising how real everything was.

Troubleinc casting the Nordic Championship 2019 summer finals

Do you remember you first ever cast?

Oh my god, I do. It was for a Greek/Balkan tournament back in 2016 or 2017 and oh dear lord… we were at an internet cafe, we booked a little booth which was closed from other areas, and it could only fit two people, but we needed to go in as four. That meant we were squashed in together so that we fit in the camera, but it was so much fun. Everyone there was so passionate and enjoyed it despite being squashed in a tiny booth!

In your journey so far, from casting squashed in a booth, to the Nordics, the NLC, EU Masters and now the LEC, what are the most important lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

I will only talk from my side as a woman going through the esports scene. Due to the unrealistic doubt that people have about you, like they don’t know if you’re talking out of your arse, for example, but also due to me being a woman, I generally have tried that much harder to prove my worth, and I focused too much on the negatives from the people around me rather than focus on my own journey, to the point where I was sometimes extremely unpleasant to work with because I was constantly stressed and trying to fix things that didn’t need fixing.

We’re real people with real lives and, for fuck’s sake, we’re casting video games! It shouldn’t be too perfect, but as a perfectionist I always kept telling myself things had to be better.

However, something I worked hard on in 2020/2021 is to let the world… be. Let them do or believe what they want to and just focus on myself, my brand, cast, and see how I can better that. Also, to see how I can be a better colleague to my peers, since I was so stressed that I sometimes ‘threw’ my stress on them. It was just not pleasant. Now, I’ve learned to treat my job as fun and not something that’s stressful for me because that held me back, and since I’ve done that I feel like my potential has also been fully unleashed.

I’ve never had Quickshot tell me to stop saying ‘fuck’. I say it all the time on socials and if I could say it on broadcast, I fucking would! It’s my brand, I’m unfiltered and uncensored, and that’s how I’m going to stay. That’s my genuine self. If I could give any tips, be unapologetically you.”

Regarding being a woman in esports, I will revisit that later on. Now that you’ve cast LEC, which I’m sure was a huge moment for you, what was like for you to be there and do the actual broadcast?

Man… I don’t know what to tell you there. I mean, even getting to cast EU Masters 2021 spring in the LEC studio, right, I broke down. I was talking to my producer about wanting to do segments for the semis (Saturday) and finals (Sunday), and when my producer said he’d give me the rundown for Saturday only, I froze. Was I off the show?

I asked why and he said: “Oh, because you’re going to be casting on Sunday.”

I literally broke down in tears then. I was casting the finals? Me? I couldn’t believe it.

When the call came in from Quickshot to be a guest on the LEC, I got goosebumps. These are the people you look up to, the ones you want to stand next to and the people you want to learn from. They are the pinnacle of LoL and entertainment surrounding it that you watch on your screen, and being able to be next to them, talk, learn and work with them, it’s just honestly a dream come true.

Stepping in the studio to do the LEC instead of EU Masters… it’s like a big slap in the face but in the nicest way possible. It took five years, but I’m finally here.

I recall you were also casting an SK Gaming match, which must have been a strange experience for you. What was it like working for SK and also casting their game?

Basically, you just have to be very careful. When I’m casting SK, I completely detach myself from the brand and the organisation. I am a professional. I look at SK the same way I would look at any other LEC team and I try to be impartial. Funnily enough though, they did get their first win with me casting, so I don’t know if that was scripted by the LEC scriptwriters!

I felt that I did well in that regard of being impartial and not being biased towards any team or player.

My first role model, the first woman in esports I ever looked up to, had to be Pansy. It still is Pansy. She’s such a hard working individual. My first interview back in 2016 was with her as well and it was so eye-opening on all the shit you have to go through to make it as a woman.”

You’re their good luck charm, perhaps! And on your casting, you have a unique accent. Where does your accent come from?

It’s like a blessing and a curse, really! I’d say this has been what’s most controversial about my casting, the fact that people love the accent and find it ‘cute’, or they just… can’t fucking stand listening to me! (laughs) Which is fair enough, right? Everything is very subjective and when it comes to that, I completely understand.

Since I’m born and raised in Greece, there’s probably some Greek accent there. In Greece, you grow up to American English, not British English. Movies and what you learn are all in American English. But since I also lived in the UK for three years, a lot of my accent comes from there because I also absolutely love the UK accent. I lived in the South of UK, which I found to be the most… easy on the ear, so to speak.

But then I moved to Germany, so there’s also a lot of German in the way I speak English now. So it’s Greek, American English, British English and German. Stir it in a pot and see what comes out!

I’d like to follow up on one your comments where, as a woman in esports, you mentioned there have been challenges. How have you dealt with comments or criticism on social media about your casting, accent or otherwise? Do you read them often?

Hmm… I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I don’t receive anywhere near as much hate or mean comments as my peers or colleagues who are much bigger in the scene do. Once people get to know you, you’ll get more of these things for sure. I’ve just gotten the regular ‘go back to your kitchen’ or ‘oh lord it’s a woman, mute her!’ comments, which honestly, I don’t get bothered about at all.

The only comments that will stick are the ones that dig on my analysis. When I’m very passionate about something, a lot of the times I come to a conclusion without explaining why I’ve come to this conclusion, which I can understand where people come from on that aspect. I haven’t received any hate or malicious messages… but quite frankly, when I do receive them, they are really funny. I’m very lucky in that department.

The worst comments I’ve ever had were about my accent really, but I think that’s what a lot of casters with non-native English speaking backgrounds have had to deal with, like with Deficio or Krepo for example. But guess what? That’s what Europe is all about!

When I walked into the DreamHack studio in 2019 for the Nordic Championship finals, the lights, cameras and just everything about the atmosphere, I thought, “yeah, that’s it”. There wasn’t even an audience, it was just about walking into the studio and realising how real everything was!

I agree! Regarding some of your peers and colleagues you mentioned – who are your role models in the esports scene and who are some of the underappreciated ones that you’d like to shoutout?

My first role model, the first woman in esports I ever looked up to, had to be Pansy. It still is Pansy. She’s such a hard working individual. My first interview back in 2016 was with her as well and it was so eye-opening on all the shit you have to go through to make it as a woman. Specifically, back then when the situation was much more grim.

Now a lot of minds are more open and inviting to see women be knowledgeable and actually know what they’re talking about in esports spaces.

Current role models would have to be none other than Froskurinn, sjokz and Laure. I’ve not seen individuals work as much as them. I know it’s a cliché but women have to work twice as hard and I will forever be giving them props for how long and how hard they work every single time. That’s not necessarily to prove anyone wrong or to rub it in anyone’s face, it’s about them getting better and evolving themselves in the industry, and I can’t give them more props than I already have. I’m very lucky to be friends with a lot of them.

Jess from Rainbow Six Siege is not underappreciated and a small figure, but I absolutely love her. Even my guts love her! She is one of the funniest, more endearing and honest people I’ve ever met, she deserves all the success going her way. The other one I’d like to shoutout is Carmeline who is the current host of the Baltic Masters and made an appearance on the NLC too! She’s absolutely lovely, a great personality and so good on-air when she speaks to the camera. I’m sure there’s a lot of talent hiding behind her as well.

Further reading: Interview with EU League of Legends casters Noa and Carmeline on women in esports

Working four jobs has not allowed me much time to watch everyone that’s up and coming, but I know there’s a lot of them, both men and women. What I can say is I think the most important thing is not trying to be preppy and professional, it’s to be yourself, because the only thing that’s going to differentiate you from the rest is being 100% you.

I’ve never had Quickshot for example tell me to stop saying ‘fuck’. I say it all the time on socials and if I was allowed to say it on broadcast, I fucking would! It’s my brand, I’m unfiltered and uncensored, and that’s how I’m going to stay. That’s my genuine self. If I could give any tips, be unapologetically you.

Before we end, I’d like to ask about your personal goals as a caster or a person working in esports. What’s your ultimate goal?

Honestly, my goals keep getting refreshed but my ultimate goal would be to be the best colour caster there’s ever been. If I have a moodboard, this would be at the very top. So far, the year before my goal was to make EU Masters, which I did, and after EU Masters you obviously would want to move one step forward and cast the LEC, which I have.

So now, after an LEC guest appearance, it would be to make sure that I become a permanent member of it and find a home for myself to cast, like I do with the NLC. After that it would be to cast the big guns like MSI or Worlds, to see the big stage and the people, and casting all the memorable international best-of-fives.

So yeah, my goal now is to be on the LEC permanently, then Worlds after, for sure.

“Stepping in the studio to do the LEC instead of EU Masters… it’s like a big slap in the face but in the nicest way possible. It took five years, but I’m finally here.”

That’s very ambitious and I hope you make it. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any additional shoutouts you’d like to give?

Thank you guys for being so perseverant with me and we did it, we finally did an interview together!

To all the people struggling to find their footing, I just want to remind people that I started doing esports when I was 25. I did not know what the fuck I wanted to do up until that point, so hold on and keep looking around. One day it’s going to hit you in the face and you’re going to fall in love with it, and you’re going to continue pursuing for the rest of your life!


You can follow Troubleinc on Twitter here. Troubleinc casts on the NLC every Tuesday and Wednesday on the NLC Twitch channel from 5pm BST.

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