Behind The Name – An Interview
I decided to take the time to interview one of my closest, longest friends. She is somewhat “famous” on Instagram in the Destiny gaming community, having reached over 8000 followers. You can find her at @ihaveasushicat on Instagram!
Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie. The game is set as an adventure for the Guardian, who is the playable character. There are three classes you can choose from, as well as three races to make your guardian a bit diverse.
Me: So, tell everyone a bit about yourself!
Her: I’m Sherry Jo, but most people online call me Sushi or Leiayrah. I’m a single mother, raising my daughter to be strong, open-minded, respectful, but also to remember to remain a kid at heart. I run an Instagram account for gaming by the handle of ihaveasushicat. My account consists of edited screenshots, clips, and fan fiction lore.
Me: What drew you to Destiny?
Her: Working at GameStop drew me to Destiny. I kept seeing the previews and getting the hype of this new game, and I really wanted to try it out. The live action trailer was what did it for me; I had to have the game.
Me: What would you like to do if you could spend one day in the Destiny Universe?
Her: I don’t really know where to start… I guess I would explore the wonders of the Tower, talk with the Vanguard, and the non-Guardians, before jumping into my ship and heading to a planet, or moon, preferably Nessus, since it’s been transformed by the Vex, a time-shaping alien, and explore its beauty. And, of course, if I died at any point, I’d come back to life because of my Ghost, a little ball of Light who gives me my life.
Me: Why did you choose Instagram as your audience platform?
Her: I didn’t choose Instagram as an audience platform; the audience chose me. My account was personal, and I would post random pictures of me, or nature, my cosplay, or my cat. Then when I started exploring Instagram more, I saw that there were accounts of things I really enjoyed, such as Destiny, and I started occasionally posting about Destiny. Then an account I followed was doing a contest with screenshots from Destiny, and I decided to try it out. I got hooked. I didn’t win the contest, but it gave me the experience I needed to continue to grow and change my Instagram. I deleted all personal posts and completely immersed the account and myself into the game. And I started to improve my editing and eventually started to do clips and videos. An audience came, occasionally I got shout-outs that I never asked for. I was myself, and I’m still myself, and I just kept growing, and people wanted more, so I continued to give them just that.
Me: Best and Worst thing about Destiny?
Her: The best and worst thing about Destiny is the community. For the most part, it is close, caring, we stick together, and we protect each other. But there is some toxicity in the community, and it can make or break it for others. It’s easy to ignore the good and only see the bad, but I try my best to inspire people to push the bad away, ignore it, block it, and focus on the good.
Me: Why choose the username “ihaveasushicat?”
Her: Because I have a cat named Sushi! I couldn’t think of anything else, and I realized Sushi could be the main attraction, or a mascot, for my page.
Me: Where did the name Leiayrah come from?
Her: The name Leiayrah (lee-air-ruh) comes from my original stories, from a character named Leiara. (Pronounced the same way.) When I started online gaming, I wanted to use the name Leiara, which I thought I had made up at the time, but that name was taken on World of Warcraft. So, I gave it a different spelling, a unique one that no one would think of.
Me: If you could change one thing about Destiny’s universe, what would it be?
Her: Honestly, I would make the Fallen (Eliksni)), an alien race, a playable character. A lot of the community wishes the same. There are a lot of Fallen fans out there, and we want to be able to play them, and let them use the Light again.
Me: Is there any way Destiny has impacted your life outside of video games?
Her: Destiny has definitely impacted my life outside of the game itself. Not going into in-depth details, the game has helped keep me level-headed, has helped me through my depression. I’ve met some great people through this game, close friends. Also, I was told I was unable to have children, and for years I believed this. But, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, it was like she was a light inside me, a new life that I never thought would be. In the game Destiny, the playable character has a Ghost that gives them life. At one point, our Guardian calls the Ghost “Little Light.” My unborn daughter was my Little Light in a time of darkness. So, I named her Mara after Queen Mara Sov in the Destiny universe. A powerful being, beautiful, elegant, bold and a leader and light. I knew my daughter needed a powerful name, and also a name after something that had impacted me so much. She’s my Little Light.
Me: Any final thoughts?
Her: If you’re striving to “make it big” in social media, don’t give up. It’s been a long road to get where I’m at, and I still don’t consider myself a popular or big person in the Destiny community. I’m still growing and learning. But remember to treat everyone with respect. Don’t send out hate. Don’t be a person someone dreads to see or be around. Ignore the haters, and what I mean is don’t give them your time. They don’t deserve it. Just block them and move on. It’s the easiest way to stay drama free. And, do what makes you feel good, by posting screenshots or game plays, or your OC’s (original characters). Don’t forget to love yourself, and give yourself a break on occasion.
Maintaining a positive outlook on social media can help attract people to your account. There are those who have gained attention by dealing with haters in a somewhat funny fashion, but for the most part, it is best to ignore anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Whether this is by harassment, hateful comments, degrading you or your work, etc. Don’t hesitate to take the necessary steps (blocking, reporting) to make your social media spaces safe for you. If you want to be successful, it will take a lot of work. Years, sometimes, and lots of dedication to gathering that following. Don’t give up!