Monday, 22 October 2012

Interview: Pamela Horton (Miss October 2012)

There seems to be a tendency exhibited by the hardcore gaming crowd to be immediately suspicious of any gorgeous woman -- or any woman, for that matter -- who might be into games. Is she being genuine? Or did she like Space Invaders back in the day? And her boyfriend likes Call of Duty? If anyone was going to be heaped with suspicion it would be Pamela Horton (a.k.a. Miss October 2012) who has been tagged as "Every gamer guy's dream!" The thing is, she's not pulling a fast one. She really is a gamer and there's documented proof!
What is your biggest claim to fame other than being Miss October?

I’m an artist, I love music, I love learning. There’s more than meets the eye. I’m not your average girl; I’m not materialistic in any way. I don’t know how to do my hair, I don’t know how to do my make-up. I wear jeans and a t-shirt on regular basis.

You've been touted as "Every gamer guy's dream!" So how do you answer to critics that say, “Well she’s a Playmate that must mean she’s a poser when it comes to video games. She’s not really into it. She likes to play Pac-Man and that’s about it!”

No, no! [laughs]

Why is there that "backlash?" There seems to be no middle ground between the stereotype of the guy living in his mom’s basement? Because your image goes radically against that it can’t possibly be true? Why can’t everybody be a gamer?

I think everyone is at risk of being a little bit stereotyped. It still exists in gaming even if they say they don’t. I think as a community, gamers can play up those stereotypes. Women get it more frequently but guys get it, too. It’s in people’s nature to stereotype, be sceptical and leery of what happens online.

One of the stereotypes that often goes along with “girl gamers” is cosplay. Do you do any cosplay? (Dress up as a game character.)

I did it once. I went as Ayla from Chrono Trigger to an anime convention in Dallas. A lot of the people who wanted to take my picture didn’t even know who I was. It was just, “Oh it’s a girl in a furry bikini!” I’ve never been the one to... I don’t wear skimpy clothes -- up until recently! Only because it’s part of the Playmate image, I have to have some sex appeal at all times. Like I said I usually just wear jeans and sneakers and a t-shirt. I think I own a total of one pair of high heels and that’s because of work! [laughs]

Talking about “image”, one of the stereotypical gamer traits... have you ever skipped bathing or personal hygiene to keep playing a game?

I am guilty of that! I’m not a clean freak or anything like that, but I don’t enjoy being gross. At 7 o’clock in the morning and I have this thing for 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I stall on having a shower. I have a little bit [of time]!

You’ve stated that one of your long-term plans is to possibly get into game design, specifically character design. How serious about that are you?

I’m actually really, really serious and it’s actually kind of coming to fruition. I’m in Los Angeles right now for the Riot Games League of Legends World Championships and I had the pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of people at Riot Games, including the art director who, if I was a character designer, would be my boss.

Trying to get my foot in the door, and then go back to school and when a position opens up, just to re-apply. I’d want a company to take me on not just because I’m a Playmate. I want to feel like I earned my spot!

In terms of character design, who or what do you draw inspiration from?

[static]… but I feel that I want to give the artist who has inspired me credit. And I don’t, you know, copy artwork or anything like that. I kind of let that inspire me and I’ll try to find a song to switch on the vision that I have. The way that music works for inspiring me is that I’ll hear a song and an image will pop-up in my head. I have a very vivid imagination. Say, I hear a Queen song and I see a girl in my head who is like some kind of model superhero in a jumpsuit with long blonde hair.... I see something in my head and I have to put it down... I won’t stop drawing until I’m finished drawing the character completely.

Getting into game design and character design you’re in the background. Obviously, right now you’re on a magazine cover, people will know who you are. Do you think that if you got into game design you’d be able to sit in the background with the rest of the team? Or do you think you’d want to take on being “the face” of the company role?

No! I enjoy being a part of a team. I don’t need to be the face of the team... I enjoy being the average person. [static] I don’t mind working regular hours every week!

Pamela Horton scored the cover of the magazine as well.

Being “average” what does the average person like to drink: wine or beer?

I do enjoy a soda, which means I get to be the designated driver!

When I do get the rare opportunity to go out and drink with friends, I don’t drink beer.  I’ve never liked the taste. People say, “Oh, you’ll get used to it!” But you drink it, you taste it, you don’t like it, why would you keep drinking it?

Your stand on beer is much like my stand on games. If it’s not fun in the first half-hour or hour then why would you keep playing it?


Scan credit to Retromags
community member Phillyman.
You’re 24 and you come from a different era than I do -- which feels really strange to say -- and one of the things we’ve seen lately is the dying out of print, in particular gaming magazines. But do you have any fond memories of gaming magazines?

I do. My dad actually got the first issue of Nintendo Power, and we had them coming to the house since then. I don’t remember the first issue, I just know that we had it and that dad has this giant collection of Nintendo Power. Right up until I left the house, when I graduated high school, he was still getting them.

I actually got featured in the mailbag section. I wrote in when I was about 12 years old defending the writers of the magazine because other letters were critical of the magazine. “Oh you don’t do this! You don’t do that!” [My letter] was basically, “No one asks how you guys are. How much fun you’re having with your job. Are you enjoying yourselves?” And they published that. I thought that was really cool.

Pamela's letter as it appeared in the November 2000 (#138) issue of Nintendo Power.
(Picture and research credit to Phil Theobald.)

What games are your playing right now?

I’m playing some games that haven’t been released yet. But recently I’ve been playing Pokemon Black 2. My boyfriend got White so we could catch them all. I’m enjoying Final Fantasy Theatrhythm as well. I’m a big Final Fantasy fan and the music from it has always been my favorite. Nobuo Uematsu has been an amazing composer for that music!

I do, of course, actively play League of Legends and World of WarCraft. I got the Mists of Pandaria expansion and I still haven’t hit level 90 because I’ve been so busy.

Before I let you go. You mentioned your boyfriend. One of the things that I deal with is a spouse that does not get games. Doesn't understand them, doesn't understand why I play them, she doesn't play them (outside of Professor Layton). Do you have problems like that? Does your boyfriend turn to you and say, “Turn League of Legends off and pay attention to me for a while!”

[laughs] Actually, most of the time we play together. We’ll stop playing together when we’ve had enough and go out. It’s never been, “You play games too much!” We both pay attention to what’s coming out and we can be just as excited about it, and know that we’ll be playing the new thing for a couple of days, and we won’t bother each other about it. As long as it’s not like avoiding eating and sleeping. When it gets a little extreme that’s when I’ll pipe in. For the most part we’re pretty level-headed and just have a mutual respect for each other.

Join Pamela Horton in League of Legends "MissOctober2012"; or join her World of WarCraft guild Horde side -- look for "MooseCat" on Trollbane. And of course, she's Playboy's Miss October 2012! Thanks for your time, Pamela!

- Aaron Simmer