Jeff Kim catches up with viOLet, a player who we've followed since the beginning of his Starcraft 2 career nearly two years ago, now one of the most intimidating Zerg players in the world and a force to be reckoned with at tournaments.
A year after we interviewed him when he was just another name on the MVP team roster, our friend Donghwan returns to Cadred to let us know what's gone on in the last year and how he's taking it all in. Please note that this is one of very few interviews where a Korean player has replied entirely by himself in english without any help, opposed to my first interview with him where I had to translate it.
After speaking casually with him for an extended length of time, he expressed the need to send a message of hope to any upcoming talent, as he was a year ago, and additionally convey the fact that he is a very motivationally-driven player, crediting most of his achievements to his loyal fanbase and friends that support him throughout his journey as a professional Starcraft 2 player. He went on to say the theory that anyone can become anything they want is only limited to their imagination and will to strive for excellence.
Additionally, his manager Andrew Tomlinson has revealed that a "life-changing personal sponsorship" has been solidified and that details will be released early next week if not later this week. More details to come on that. Huge thanks to Pamm K, MLG, CyberSportsNetwork and TL for the pictures.
Welcome back to Cadred, viOLet! Last time we spoke you were trying to make a break, but had a little trouble doing so.
Yes, thank you for the warm welcome back. Like I said in Razer interview, I saw the awesome comments from the first interview long time ago and it makes me feel so cool so thank you to everyone for helping me go far!
What's your favorite aspect of the American way of life? What's the biggest change from the Korean culture you've been accustomed to the vast majority of your life?
I think the most cool thing is pancakes, it's like apple pie. Another thing is the appearance of American people and how they look different than Koreans, but I like it because it's nice to see different cultures and things. In Starcraft, Americans act super excited when they watch games, it's so different but interesting.
How's your english progressing? You're considered the best english-speaking Korean Starcraft 2 player.
Well I live with Andrew, you guys know he's manager of me, and I always hear them speak English, so I try to speak it myself. Now I'm study for 8 months and getting better, but still not enough. I will study more then I am American Hwanny!
Rachel's been kind enough to let you interview a few people in english including some big names such as DongRaeGu and djWHEAT. How'd you like that, any chance you'll be doing more in the future?
Yes why not, DRG and djWHEAT they are very close friend of mine and I give them a lot of respect for how they help me with gaming as well as how much they support outside gaming. If I have another chance, I will take it because its so fun with good memories attached and fans like it too!
After your story broke, you became somewhat of a new hero on TeamLiquid, resulting in a shockwave that took the entire scene by storm making you loved internationally by tens of thousands of people. For those of your fans that don't have the chance to speak to you often, what's one thing you want them to take away from your career so far? What's one thing you want them to remember about you?
One thing I want people to know me for is that I really try to put much time into training. Sometimes people say that some gamers do not put tons of time into gaming but I really love it and it is a big part of my life. One thing I like to say is that from now on after MLG Arena, I will begin stream when I'm at Andrew house during off time when I am not at tournaments, so I can have fun again with my fans. I love my fans, so please come to my stream! I will tell the website link when Andrew help me with it don't worry guys kk.
You state that anyone can become anything they want; how much has this saying impacted your professional gaming career?
Yes, since I was young my dream was to become a pro gamer. The reason I am pro gamer today is because I dedicate myself to what I love. Follow your dream no matter what it is the best way.
In what ways do you maintain motivation to become the best and keep pushing forward, even if you're not on top of your game?
It is easy in steps: good sleep, good eat, good break. This is most important thing, before anything else even practice. Yes gaming takes time, but if you do not enjoy life like hobbies and relieve stressful, it is a job not passion you love.
People admire you more for your personality and hospitality towards everyone you come across more than your actual in-game skill. How has said trait of being humble impacted your career?
I'm not that cocky but when I talk in English sometimes words is mix up but fans love it, that is why I always choose English when I can with no translator. People see me over time get better with my speaking, they can come along on journey ride with me and be my friend from start, and see me improve. Also I hope to get American citizenship! After that fans love me more maybe!
It's been a rough road so far but when situations come down to the wire and force you to perform under pressure, more times than not you're able to do so. What's your technique behind staying calm in hairy scenarios?
Mind control. LOL.
You took home Spring Arena 2, the biggest win of your entire career. What was going through your mind during that tournament?
It's hard to say in wording but after I won MLG in my mind so relax, and confidence and comfortable. I say to myself wow I can win big tournament, it means huge deal to me in mentality.
You fell apart a bit at Anaheim, not performing well in pool play resulting in being knocked out by SaSe while the KeSPA players were on stage; are you taking the back seat in US tournaments to focus 100% on the Code S games you have coming up or were you just not feeling too hot this LAN?
I will say my practice wasn't 100% but now 100% I can win again. I will travel to Korea when I can for tournament, but also I will live with Andrew in US. I don't plan on move from America right now.
We continue our interview with viOLet to see what he's got planned regarding his future in the United States as well as what tournaments we can expect to see him at.
Will we be able to expect you to be at 100% next LAN to take home the trophy in July?
YES dude of course I am 100% now I can win tournament! With mental confident I can become winner because dedicate yourself is the step to winning and success.
So what's your next goal?
I don't know. I want to win huge championship again, I love that feeling it makes me feel so good.
When will you begin streaming again?
Coming soon! The internet at my home in Texas is getting upgraded next week so please make sure follow Twitter or Facebooks and see updates about it when I go online but not on tournament days because I only stream at Andrew house.
Do you have any plans to obtain full citizenship for living in the US?
I get citizenship then after... marry pretty American woman? LOL.
Will your family move to the US in the forseeable future or will they remain in Korea, allowing you to go back and visit every few months?
If I will make many money, I will invite parents to USA and they can have live with me. Pro gamer is one dream then another one is traveling, so I want to see the whole world and let my parents come along on my journey.
Your good friend DRG has been on a winning streak lately, and last interview you said your inspiration for your Zerg play was NesTea -- has that changed at all?
Nope doesn't change, NesTea still inspire.
What do your parents think of the fame you've gained in the last year? What about your family as a whole?
My family has been busy with working and other things. Even though we can only able to talk through cell phone, they are very proud of me and support me 100 percents. When I hear this thing, it gives me even more confidence boost to do better and I will keep going!
If you ever quit professional gaming, is there a chance you'd become a shoutcaster (either in Korean or English) or interviewer?
LOL that's good idea man. Yes I maybe become one of those because I love doing it and I know I can't be pro gamer when I am really old so maybe I can do different things.
Are you more confident now with yourself now more than ever, seeing as you're ranked as the 7th best player in the world according to the TeamLiquid Power Ranks?
I know this sound funny, but this is not enough. I always want the top and I will dedicate to do this. I want number 1, and I will get it one day. Thank you for cheering for me everyone of my fans, it means so much to me and keeps me going better!
Heart of the Swarm. Will you be practicing that, and will you maintain playing Zerg or race switch?
I heard Protoss and Terran is super imba... so maybe I switch, but we will see later when releases.
You made Top 5 Players for IGN with your double nydus worm play. Can we count on seeing a triple or quad in the future for your fans?
If same situation then yes we can see again, but when I get another chance, we will see!
What's some advice you can give to the people that want to become as successful as you, or are looking to become a solid gamer, whether in Starcraft 2 or a completely different game?
If you really want, don't give up efforts. They will not betray you, so trust yourself.
Any last shoutouts you'd like to do for sponsors or friends?
Thank you Jeff for everything, also thank you to my manager Andrew for all the help he give and let me live with him, and my American parents and friends from CSN and others. I also thank Cadred people for reading my interview I love nice comment it makes my confidence boost and I will try to do my best for next tournament like always. USA VIOLET FIGHTING!
That concludes my brief interview with viOLet. The journey of his life and career is just a sample of what the gaming scene holds, professional or casual, in that we all have stories to share and a unique aspect on what many of us would call our passion. Expect to see viOLet at upcoming international LANs including the next GSL tournament along with smaller events focused mainly in Europe including the GamesCom tournament later this year. For now, we let him return to his busy schedule as we wait in anticipation for the next tournament he plays in to dominate which will be this weekend as he makes his return to New York for MLG Summer Arena.