Grace Van Dien Is Ready To Break Down Barriers With FaZe Clan

Photo: Courtesy of FaZeC Clan.
Grace Van Dien remembers the exact moment she found out she was being signed to FaZe Clan, making her the second individual woman to join the roster of the prolific esports organization. Specifically, she knows exactly *where* she was when she found out. Because she’s there all the time. “Oh, I was definitely at home,” Van Dien tells Refinery29. “I'm rarely never not.” Which makes sense, considering it’s from her home that she’s creating an empire of sorts. 
Streaming on Twitch under the name BlueFille (now FaZe BlueFille) for the last year and a half, Van Dien has built a following of almost 400,000 subscribers on the platform who tune in to watch the Stranger Things actor play Valorant (she loves that it’s like Call of Duty but more colorful and aesthetic), and — her favorite pastime of all — just chat. “I could ramble forever, so sometimes it's nice to just have people that I can ramble to,” Van Dien says. “[Subscribers] love to make fun of me or give me advice. My community’s really funny, and I enjoy laughing.”
For FaZe Clan President Erik Anderson, the collaboration was a natural fit, melding the platform’s mission to empower women in gaming and esports with Van Dien’s own. "Grace exemplifies the unwavering personal identity and resilience required to help pave the way in the necessary evolution of female gamers,” Anderson said in a statement announcing the addition. 
For Van Dien, who grew up gaming with her siblings and dad, this emphasis on breaking down barriers for women in the gaming industry was one of the big draws to FaZe, after shopping around various organizations in 2022. “When I met with FaZe, we all shared the same vision of changing the stigma around female gamers in this industry,” Van Dien says. “That's really important to me, and having people that can help me and a whole team organized in doing this, It felt like I could do more meaningful change.”
Plus, whatever ideas Van Dien threw out, she says, they never said no. Van Dien is already getting to work, promising big ideas to come, like working on developing a show about girl gamers and sexism in the gaming industry.
Ahead of the announcement, Refinery29 chatted with Van Dien about making the jump to an esports org, the difference between acting and streaming, and what she thinks it’ll take to make gaming more welcoming for women.
Refinery29: Congratulations on the announcement! What was your reaction when you heard that you were being signed with FaZe Clan?
Grace Van Dien: I was definitely intimidated. I'm very used to the acting world, and the streaming world is its very own beast. So I was really intimidated, but really excited.
Now that you're signed with FaZe, how will that change your career and the way you create or the way you can create?
The main change for me is [that] FaZe is very helpful with all sorts of content creation. So they've helped me with my YouTube channel and with different content on different channels and platforms. They just know what to do and they're motivated to get it done in all aspects and areas. So that will be the biggest change.
You mentioned shopping around a few different orgs. What makes FaZe the right fit for you? 
When I first had my meeting with FaZe, I brought up a million different ideas on what I wanted to do [and] how I wanted to fill my space in this industry; and a lot of it did have to do with being a female gamer. Every idea that I threw at FaZe, they said ‘ that's great, let's expand on it more.’ So I was never told no, which is probably my favorite thing someone can do for me. 
You're the second individual woman to be signed to Faze, after FaZe Kalei and an all-woman Valorant esports team. What does it mean for you to come into this organization?
I’m definitely nervous to be the second female individual. And I don't know what to expect. I've been streaming for over a year and a half, but I'm still new to the bigger world of streaming. I don't know how to feel yet.
It's like learning on your feet; I’m sure you’ll learn as you go.
Yeah. Acting definitely taught me to appreciate and learn your feelings as you go and don't really hold expectations of things. So, I'm definitely able to transfer that into the streaming world.
You have a lot of friends who are big names in the gaming industry, like Valkyrae and Pokimane, did they give you any advice? 
Honestly, the person who's been the most helpful for me, and I probably annoy them too much with my texts, is DisguisedToast. But he's very patient with me and very sweet. I think there's a lot to learn from everyone, and girls in the industry are very open about what it's like to be a girl in this industry. 
You started gaming when you were young with your family. What kept you gaming?
I love the instant growth you get from a game. If you do get better or if you're in first person shooters you can climb ranks, and if you’re on Animal Crossing you're building an entire home; so there's growth that you can see and you can put markers on.
You made the jump to streaming in 2021. What was the draw to streaming? 
I had Tumblr back when I was a teenager, and back then is the same feeling that I seek out now in building a community. Where you live, you don't always get to choose the people that are closest to you in terms of personality or likes; on the internet, you can seek out anyone from anywhere. And so the community that I built are people from all over the world that find a similarity in me. And I like that part of streaming a lot. 
You've created this community of almost 400,000 followers on Twitch. What's most important to you when it comes to your content? What are you hoping viewers get from it?
Maybe I’m not a very good streamer because I don't set goals for myself so much as I just want the people watching my streams  to laugh with me. I'm just hoping people who are watching are having fun. Maybe I should start setting goals.
You recently opened up about an experience you had on set, and streaming being a safer space for you right now. Gaming and streaming can still be a difficult and quite toxic space for a lot of women. Do you feel like that's still the case? 
It's extremely toxic in gaming, but I get to ban people or mute them. I don't have that luxury in real life or in my other jobs. But you hear very toxic and misogynistic things in gaming that I don't hear anywhere else in my life.
How do you navigate that and take care of yourself when you're online?
I had a bit of a rough upbringing, so my shell now is very tough. And I sometimes feel bad for the men who think they can talk down to me in that way, because I have a mouth on me. My grandparents taught at a sailing school, so I have a sailor’s mouth [and] I have a tough skin. It's hard to get to me.
How are you hoping, being in the industry and being signed to FaZe Clan, to help combat that toxicity?
Sometimes I do these fan conventions where I go and meet people who are either viewers of Stranger Things or viewers of my Twitch. At the most recent one I did in Belgium, a girl came up to me and she really loves streaming, she does it herself, but she stopped because of the toxic behavior of guys that come into her stream or that she's gaming with. She wanted advice on how to handle that and how I navigate that, and I think that is a great place to start — [with] discussing it. Being someone in the industry that girls feel comfortable to come up to and say ‘Hey, I need help with this.’ That's step one. 
What do you think the industry should be doing when it comes to changing the way women are treated in gaming?
You have systems for reporting [harassment], [and] I think that needs to be more appreciated by the people that are receiving the reports. So many times you can report someone and then nothing happens. But if people are actually reprimanded for their actions, then they either change or they're not allowed to do it anymore. That's a huge change that I could ask of the industry.
Stepping into this next chapter, do you have a dream stream partner?
I think all the people that I'm hyped to stream with other people I already stream with. Maybe getting more actors into streaming would be fun for me. I have a few actor friends that get perky ears when I talk about it, so we'll see.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

More from Entertainment

R29 Original Series