We’re proud to announce October’s Ambassador of the month, so give a warm shout out to Mistress Sara! Not only has Mistress Sara been an active Xbox Ambassador since joining the program in December of 2012, she is also hailed as one of the nicest, most respectful, and supportive Ambassadors out there.
Normally, you’d be able to find Mistress Sara connecting with Ambassadors through chat activities. Since Season 11 chat’s been unavailable, Mistress Sara took this as an amazing opportunity to connect with other gamers in other ways, including Twitter and Forums, and is currently number 62 on the leaderboard! She took this time to turn a negative into a positive and utilized other great ways to unlock XP while still connecting with gamers. She’s also highly active during Xbox Ambassador Mixer streams, making sure that the host has great moderation and that the gamers in chat have fun.
But don’t take it from us, learn about Mistress Sara in her own words!
What is your favorite, FAVORITE game of ALL time? What kind of memories and/or feelings does it give you?
I’ve been playing games for years. Some of my favorite games were the ones my family would play after dinner at the table when I was a kid. I remember the first time I played Uno at the table with my family and laughing when one person either kept getting skipped or having to draw cards each turn.
When Uno was released with the camera support, it brought back many of the childhood memories playing the game growing up. My favorite part about playing Uno online with friends, you never knew what was going to appear on camera. We would all do random gags on camera including having a shark fin move across the frame just to add more fun to the game.
What are some of your other hobbies aside from gaming, like sailing?
When I’m not gaming, I can be found doing several things. In the colder months, I’m baking cookies, making chocolates or peanut brittle for family and friends. I try to stock my freezer at that time with cookies so that in the warmer months I don’t have to use my oven as much. Doesn’t always work as I like to snack on a few cookies when I’m playing video games.
From spring to fall, I can be found sailing and preparing for some long-distance boat races, ones that take a couple days to complete. I get asked this often, but for sailboat races, the racing doesn’t stop until the boat crosses the finish line or drops out. The crew takes shifts and sail through the night in all sorts of weather—rain, fog, sleet and yes, even snow. Thanks to a rare, early May snow squall a few years ago, I can say I have sailed in the snow. Thankfully, it wasn’t much, but flakes were landing on us while we were out on the water. The best part, no one cared. We were having fun out on the water practicing and getting coached on ways to improve our boat handling skills. Plus, the crew was happy to have homemade cookies to munch on.
What are some of your goals as a gamer (like are you stuck on a level in a game) or personally (like a nutrition or fitness goal)?
This year I set two goals. One was to get my gamerscore to 85,000 by the end of the year. I typically increase my gamerscore on average about 10,000 each year. This year will be the largest increase yet of 16,000. If I can do that this year, then by next year I should finally reach 100,000, and possibly close the gap between my husband’s, King Ron, and my gamerscores. Nothing like a little family rivalry to keep things interesting.
The other goal was to become more familiar and comfortable with streaming and being on camera. I went to school for video production, but never felt comfortable on camera. I’m fine when there is someone else present with me but being the only one on screen always bothered me. I wanted to work on that. Since users can now stream through the console, and I have a Kinect, it allowed me to start getting more comfortable without a large financial investment.
Tell us about things you’re passionate other than video games.
Things I’m passionate about children and animals, specifically endangered species. With how the world is changing, once a species is gone, it’s gone. There are so many beautiful animals out there that are struggling to survive due to habituate loss and hunting. I don’t want to see the younger generations only being able to see or learn about these species from photos and videos. They should be able to see them with their own eyes. So, when I’m able to do something to help kids be able to have the same joys I had growing up, I’m happy to help.
As a woman in gaming, do you feel like Xbox Live is becoming more diverse and how do you include other gamers through Xbox?
Xbox Live has always been diverse. I’ve been there since its start, but I don’t feel that it’s always welcoming to women and minorities. I’ve been playing video games since the 80s. I remember going to the arcade and seeing just as many ladies playing games as guys. Growing up, my girlfriends had consoles and were better at many of the games than boys in my classes. We never looked at games as a “boys only” thing. At that time, games were a kid’s thing.
When Xbox Live came out, it seemed more male dominated because ladies wouldn’t speak. Many were harassed or felt unwelcomed, so it was better to remain silent than deal with the comments. I will agree, I did that too. I wouldn’t play on Xbox Live without one of my guy friends being present so I knew I had someone there watching my back as well as be a third-party witness to what was going on.
As time went on, I met a few nice people, who introduced me to some more nice people, and my gaming group grew from there. I’m not the best at many games, and I don’t care. I play games to have fun and relax. Whenever I play with other gamers, regardless of the game goal or skill level of the other gamers, I try to stay encouraging and positive. It tends to make the play session a bit more fun and inviting.
Everyone’s story is unique, tell us how you became a gamer!
I’ve been playing video games since the 80s. I first started playing games on an Odyssey 2. When my brother was old enough to drive, me and him would go to the local arcade and play video games until we ran out of tokens. In college, my father picked up a PlayStation console and I had fun playing Crash Bandicoot on it. Fast forward to 2001 when the original Xbox was released. My now husband, King Ron, purchased a console. It was the first time I had heard of Xbox. After he got the console set up, he helped me set up an account for myself. The following Christmas, he decided to pick up a second console and set it up as mine, so we could play some co-op games and not be on the same TV.
When the Xbox 360 was released, King Ron and I ended up each getting one on launch day. It was at that time I decided to start this account. I wanted to play online more, but users struggled to pronounce my original gamertag. I started this one figuring it would be easier pronounce.
I never really thought of myself as a gamer until I got involved with the Xbox GamerchiX group. It was an amazing group. It didn’t matter what your gaming skill level was, the only things that mattered was that you were there, trying their best, and having fun. The night I started calling myself a gamer was the night I was one of 20+ hostesses for their Xbox Community playdate and we were playing Halo. I didn’t do well, but none of the participants cared. Everyone was happy to be playing games.
As an Ambassador, what type of impact are you looking to have on the gaming community?
Like many Ambassadors, I hope to have a positive impact on the gaming community. Whether it’s helping a parent better understand what their child is talking about in a specific game, breaking bad news to a user tactfully, or just helping someone who has never (or rarely) played video games understand how to use their console.
I try to treat everyone the way I want to be treated on Xbox Live, with respect. I know there are people out there that say and do things just to be mean, and that’s fine for them. I like to show that those people are the exception as I’ve found more people just looking to have fun and be friendly.
How do you define community and what makes it important to you?
To me, community is a group of like-minded individuals with a common goal to do something to better the society as a whole. A community can be a force for good and having a stake in a community is what makes it important to me. I can be helpful and enjoy the fruits of that labor, or I can be the rogue that just destroys the work of others. If I destroy the work, odds are I’m going to be kicked out of the community or must fix the damage I did. It’s easier to be helpful in a group than do the work alone.
You have really made your mark on the Xbox community. What motivates you to make friends and connections within the program?
I like helping and meeting people. At the same time, I’m not much of a conversationalist. I should say, I like talking with people and being part of a conversation, but I’m not always one to just strike up a conversation.
Part of my motivation to make friends and connections is knowing by doing, so I become part of a group. Doing things solo gets lonely and old after a while so it’s nice to be able to get with a group and work together to complete a task. I have found with many things in life, one gets out of a group or program what one puts into it. Having the ability to socialize with people I wouldn’t normally get to see is a wonderful change.
I’ve met many wonderful people over the years in Xbox Ambassador Program. Many of them, without realizing it, inspire me daily to do more, and not even do more within the program, but do more in general. I would hope that I would inspire someone else in the same way.
The Ambassador Program is comprised of different people from all around the world. What do you think brings so many people, from different walks of life together to achieve the same goal?
I have found that when bringing a group together with one similar interest, it’s only a matter of time before the group starts to find other similar interests. While Ambassadors are all gamers, once they start chatting and getting to know each other, it’s not long before they start finding other things they have in common.
Open floor: tell us something that’s outside of gaming, give us some insight into you as a person.
I’ve been described as a unique individual with diverse interests. They all work well together as I love making things and solving puzzles. I play video games, own a motorcycle that’s older than myself, and plan events for a living. I do crafts to relax when I am traveling for work.
A few years ago, I started doing a “Flat Stanley” kind of thing where I bring a cutout of someone with me on work road trips. It started as a way for a friend to hang out in spirit and has turned into a way for me to not feel as alone when on long work trips.
I have fun trying to create a narrative around the photos I take. It has worked so well, I now have a few different paper friends (all people I know) that travel with me. My favorite one to travel with is the one of my husband King Ron. Not just because it’s my husband’s. When I’m away, and we’re chatting on the phone photo, I have his picture to look at while we’re chatting. Helps lessen the distance. In that aspect I can be old school.
We’re so happy to showcase an Ambassador of the month as awesome as Mistress Sara. Thank you for all that you do in the Xbox community, and thanks to all Ambassadors! Make sure to give some love in the comments below to Mistress Sara.
Do you know of a great candidate for Ambassador of the month? Tell your ACE!