Jasmine “Jazzberry” Graham is a 23-year-old professional gamer from Virginia Beach who has been playing professionally for three years. Graham plays with UMG Gaming, balances a full-time job and is studying to be a personal trainer.

Graham’s been steadily building her career since discovering competitive gaming. “When I first started back in 2014 there weren’t a whole lot of females,” she said. “When I started out I was on clan and they wanted to take an all-female team to LAN event, and I thought that sounded awesome – I could travel, compete, meet all new people and meet the pros. It was so cool for me.”

Graham took her lumps in the Open Bracket divisions where the competition often turned intensely personal. “When I was teaming with all girls a lot of guys would say really nasty things across the table,” said Graham. “There was a lot said and they called us names. It’s not as bad anymore, the refs don’t allow it – you’re not allowed single out anybody.”

Graham worked steadily to climb the ranks. She took the most recent semester off school to focus on her current opportunities. “I’m studying how to be a personal trainer which I think I can work into pro gaming because there’s a few people going that route,” Graham said. “I think it would be really beneficial. I also work full-time still so I have to take every chance I get to play.”

“I want to keep this team together because a lot of teams don’t – Teams will drop a person and pick one up,” she said. “What they don’t realize is that a lot of this is based on chemistry – the gun skill and game knowledge will come together as you play together and get on the same page. It takes a lot more than just being good at the game, my teammates and I practice almost every night.”

It’s easy to overlook Graham in a crowded convention hall with her slight and petite presence, but Twitter is where she stands tall to you young women wanting to join the ranks. “I had a girl come to me and wanted to join a female League, but she has to wait as they raised the minimum age to 18,” Graham said. “I told her to keep grinding – don’t give up and don’t take things personally. A lot of people look at this as business and don’t take it personal because you’ll get yourself demoralized.”

“I used to take stuff personally but then I learned you can’t make it if you do that,” said Graham.