Continuing our efforts to engage in real discussions with the leading members of the gaming industry and beyond, TriplePoint recently had the opportunity to chat with IGN’s on-camera host and staff writer, Jessica Chobot. Since 2005, Jessica has become a key influencer within the gaming community and we were fortunate to talk with Jessica on her quick rise at IGN, social media, and oh yeah, the infamous PSP photo.
TP: How did you find yourself in your current roles at IGN and Maxim?
JC: How I got my spot here at IGN is a long and intricate story, so I’ll give you the semi-quick version. I was going through a quarter-life crisis and working as a model for quick pocket money and at EB Games for discounts. I had pre-ordered a PSP and the day it was released was the same day I had a photo shoot. On the way to the shoot, I stopped by EB to pick up the PSP, took it with me to the studio and during a break, showed it off to everyone and was screwing around and taking goofy pictures. One ended up being the “PSP lick” picture.
Shortly after getting a copy of the photos, I showed them to a friend who informed me I should send them to Kotaku to see if they’ll post it. I thought, ‘Sure. Why not?’ Sent them over to Brian Crecente and figured that was my fun 15 minutes of fame.
And then, things blew up! Brian IM’ed me and told me how everyone was asking who I was. G4 asked me for an interview on Attack of The Show. IGN hit me up to be a part of their Babes channel interviews (now called Stars) and I started freelancing for Brian’s personal site and FHM UK.
From there, I hounded daily until they offered me a job freelancing for their IGN Insider section which eventually led me to being hired full time as their main on-camera host for our shows (IGN Strategize and The Daily Fix) and event coverage (E3, GDC, Tokyo Game Show, etc…).
As for my spot with Maxim, that was more of a ‘guest appearance’ type of thing. Nothing permanent.
TP: You’ve transcended games journalism and have established yourself as a unique brand. Define the Jessica Chobot brand.
JC: I like to try and think of myself and my brand as the non-shameful female nerd. I say non-shameful because I feel that a lot of women out there are still a little intimidated by tech and gaming or, if they aren’t, are refusing to come out from their boyfriend’s shadow and step into their own limelight. Also, for the ones that are brave enough to stick their necks out, they’re often put into such a competitive position within their gaming/nerd careers; they find themselves attacked from all sides and end up becoming overly agro and defensive. And still another theme is for women to take the easy way out, show some tits and cash in on the nerd trend without offering anything of real substance or talent.
I find nothing wrong with any of these approaches…to a point. That point is usually reached when someone gets involved in the industry without any real passion for it. Or takes whatever shtick their going with and only half-asses it or attempts to be something they aren’t.
My motto: Do whatever you want. But if you’re gonna’ do it, then do it well.
TP: How have you used social media applications such as Twitter to connect with your fanbase and extend this personal brand?
JC: I use Twitter, Facebook and Modlife to tell people what I’ve got coming up, things I find cool that they might want to check out and sometimes just to shoot the shit. Lately, I’ve been using my Twitter account to sound off on the REAL AWESOME *sarcasm* United States airlines and the TSA. It’s a well-oiled machine and the TSA treats people with SO much respect that it makes me proud to think they’re the first people visitors to our country get to interact with. (Hahahahaha! Oh, I crack myself up sometimes!)
TP: What is the craziest PR request you have ever been sent?
JC: Honestly, nothing too bad. Wacky PR requests usually get dissolved before they even hit my office inbox.
Typically they revolve around the common denominator stance of: attractive girl in some sort of bikini or sexy get-up or some play off the whole PSP licking thing. I’ve gotten a little irritated by that at times because it just shows a complete lack of creativity. Nowadays though, the PR stuff I see come across my desk is a lot more funny and cool. I’ll admit it; I have no problem showing off a little skin if the concept is good. I just don’t like it when it’s the default and offered up with nothing else.
TP: What is the best way to pitch you?
JC: Pitch me something that is creative, pushes the boundaries, funny and proves that you have some familiarity with our demographic. Not knowing who our audience is a MAJOR turn off. It just screams volumes about how you don’t care and are making no effort to do your job.
TP: Any current games you are unbeatable in?
JC: LOL! No. I’m beatable in everything. I love gaming but I don’t think I’d be defined as a “good gamer” in competitive gaming terms.
TP: Any last words?
JC: When I go home tonight, I’m going balls deep into some Bioshock 2.