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OhMyV33nus on being an LGBTQ+ pro player

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OhMyV33nus talks about the road to winning a championship, almost quitting the pro-player life, and the challenges of being queer in the gaming league. Photo courtesy of BLACKLIST INTL

It’s been a long hard road for Johnmar Villaluna, also known as the player OhMyV33nus of Blacklist International, the team that took home the championship in Mobile Legends BangBang Profesional League Philippines season seven. It’s something that the pro player emphasizes in our interview over video call, as their win couldn’t have happened at a better time — taking home the crown just a few days away from Pride Month.

OhMyV33nus was quick to rise from the many derogatory, sometimes homophobic, comments hurled during their losing moments. But they were proven wrong as Blacklist defeated Execration, with “Bow down to the queen” and OhMyV33nus trending after the MPL PH grand finals. (Though earlier this month, Execration managed to overcome Blacklist International at the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Southeast Asian Cup 2021.)

“Hindi madali, kahit gaano mo pinu-pursue kahit 24/7 ka maglaro ng Mobile Legends, or kahit ibang games na may [pro-players] din…kahit super tagal kang naglalaro hindi magiging madali. Talagang 50 percent talent, 50 percent pa-swertihan,” says Villaluna.

Villaluna, who will be turning 27 soon, says that it’s been a dream to be a pro player and fulfilling it now has been such a ride. “Yung mother ko kasi OFW talaga ever since. Dun ako sa lolo and lola ko nakatira. Hindi kasi techie person yung lolo’t lola ko so ayaw talaga nila sa gaming. As in ayaw nila. Even ‘yung mother ko ayaw din sa gaming. Siguro talagang sobrang competitive ko, sobrang kulit ko kaya kahit ayaw nila,sobrang pinupush ko. And luckily, sobrang nag-[succeed] ako dito sa gaming kaya andito ako ngayon. Kaya natutulungan ko na ‘yung family ko.”

“Umabot na ako sa point na titigilan ko na yung gaming totally,” Villaluna adds. “Umabot na ako sa point na maghahanap na ako ng trabaho, somehow related pa din sa gaming, yung parang back-end support, mga ganon. And then nung nag-Mobile Legends na ako…”

Here, OhMyV33nus talks about the road to winning a championship, almost quitting the pro-player life, and the challenges of being queer in the gaming league.

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Interview and video by SAMANTHA LEE