Perez, Madison Mann, Carlee Gress, and Hannah Reyes — known online as TINARAES, maddiesuun, Carlee, and Hannah — had never been to New York City before. Three of them live in Los Angeles and train in Fortnite at Gen.G’s North American headquarters. Hannah, who’s 17, is still in high school and lives at home. The women of Gen.G’s Fortnite team were in New York City for the Fortnite World Cup Finals, the highly anticipated $30 million event that was held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, a 23,000-seat tennis stadium best known as the home of the US Open.
None of Gen.G’s players were at the event to compete. Out of the nearly 200 players that participated in the Fortnite World Cup’s solo and duos events — 100 players in each, though some qualified for both competitions — no female players qualified to play in the main event. (Multiple female players competed in the Celebrity Pro-Am, including Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler, a 13-year-old player who announced her signing to top e-sports team Faze Clan during the event.) Though the women from Gen.G, who play together in two separate duos teams, didn’t compete at the event, it was important for them to be there. “I never had [a female role model] growing up in the e-sports scene,” Perez said. “I want to be the role model that I never had for these people.”