Laure Valée is a fixture in League of Legends esports. After her first on-camera appearance on a French broadcast during Worlds 2014 as an up-and-coming journalist, she immersed herself even more in the scene. In 2018, after years of hard work, she found the courage to take the next step and became an official member of the EU LCS, doing post-game interviews with players and coaches.
But Laure wasn’t—and still isn’t—done conquering new territory.
While being a mainstay on the LEC broadcast and making appearances during MSI and Worlds, she kept up the grind and steadily improved her craft in anticipation of taking bigger steps. All that hard work is coming to fruition. 2023 is her year.
A Swiss Army knife on the LEC broadcast
Laure’s next steps started at the place she has made her home: the LEC. Over four years of conducting post-game interviews have taught her a lot, but there was much more to explore.
“It’s my drive to do new stuff all the time. I always want to take it a step further,” she said. “But I always stand in front of the stage for ten, fifteen seconds before each day starts. I realize, ‘Holy shit, this is my life. I got there. This was my goal and I got there.’”
“You want to have your own brand. You want to have your own voice. I’m constantly criticizing myself, but being that perfectionist is also what got me this far.”
For her job as a journalist and interviewer, Laure already meticulously studied the game, often talked to players, and binged interviews. She wants to be prepared to take any interview in any direction if the moment calls for it. But the vast majority of her efforts and wisdom go unnoticed on the LEC broadcast. The amount of knowledge you can convey in brief post-game interviews is extremely limited, and they serve the purpose of making the players shine.
She pushed herself to go further. The first step out of her comfort zone was doing on-air telestrator segments, in which she informed the viewers about the developments of the immensely popular French league, the LFL. Now, Laure regularly hosts the LEC show and appears on the analyst desk.
“Riot approached me and said, ‘Hey, we want to renew you for this year. But not only as an interviewer. We want to give you more space.’ Of course, I told them yes,” Laure said.
Finally, she was able to follow in the footsteps of people she had long adored. Laure listed Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere, Frankie Ward, Alex “Machine” Richardson, and James “Dash” Patterson as sources of inspiration.
“It’s hard coming in as the new one when they are the people you watched as you grew up in the industry,” Laure noted. “You want to honor what they established in esports, but you also want to make your own space. You want to have your own brand. You want to have your own voice. I’m constantly criticizing myself, but being that perfectionist is what got me this far.”
Better call Seoul
Laure’s ambition didn’t stop at the border of France and it doesn’t stop at the border of Europe either. When visa-related issues are resolved, she’ll head to South Korea and partially host the English LCK broadcast. Even for Laure, who has been following the competition intensely ever since she fell in love with League of Legends esports, it’s a somewhat unexpected and spontaneous development.
The ball started rolling in Mexico during Worlds 2022. Laure spoke with her good friend, Jeesun Park, during the Play-In Stage. Jeesun, mostly known for her on-air interviews and translating work, also produces the LCK’s English broadcast. When Jeesun mentioned the workload the broadcast brought, Laure expressed interest.
“When I told [the LCK casters] that I would come to Korea and host the show, Atlus said, ‘For me, you’ve always been part of the family.'”
“I was like, ‘Wow, if you ever need a host, just know that I’m available!’ I was joking, but not that much,” Laure explains. “This joke became serious. I came back to her a couple of days later and said that I actually meant it. That I would be happy to go there and help with hosting, editorial work, and everything else.”
When Worlds concluded, Laure and Jeesun began working out the details. She had visited South Korea on several occasions, but hosting the LCK means actually living in the country and immersing herself in the culture.
“I went to Korea for the first time in 2018 and fell in love with the country. I was already in love with the LCK and esports,” Laure said. “I’m really excited. Also a bit scared, to be honest. It’s one thing to visit Korea as a tourist. It’s something completely different to live there. But it’s a good chance to brush up on my Korean.”
She won’t be surrounded by strangers on her new adventure, though. Through a shared passion for South Korean League of Legends, Laure has befriended the casters and analysts of the English LCK broadcast.
“I know them so well that it just makes sense to take this step.” She recalled, “When I told them that I would come to Korea and host the show, Atlus said, ‘For me, you’ve always been part of the family. Finally, you’re gonna come and join us.’”
OTP celebrates French esports
Though Laure travels far and wide to chase her dreams and enthusiastically plunges herself into new challenges, she remains fiercely loyal to her French roots. She was raised in France’s tight-knit, passionate esports scene and it provided her with the opportunities to grow as much as she did. She now aims to be a representative of France that French fans can be proud of.
Laure also co-founded a company whose broadcast French fans watch on a weekly basis. One Trick Production, better known as OTP, launched at the end of 2020 and is now the official broadcaster for the LFL. The company also has co-streaming rights for several international events in Europe, as well as MSI and Worlds.
“We feel that, if everything is genuine and we have fun on-camera but also backstage, the viewers will vibe with us even more.”
“A few people left the previous broadcast, O’Gaming. They decided to create OTP and they asked me if I wanted to be one of the co-founders,” she explained. “I was honored that they saw my role, whether it’s in France, the LEC, or internationally, and my views on esports as something that is interesting to them.”
She describes the founding of OTP as the project started out of passion by a bunch of friends who share the same views on the industry and on what a broadcast should deliver. The direction is simple: they just want to have fun with the show. The formula yields incredible results. OTP’s broadcast has, at times, contested the viewership of North America’s premier League of Legends competition, the LCS. Even esports fans who don’t speak the French language tune in to OTP, just for the atmosphere of the broadcast.
“We feel that, if everything is genuine and we have fun on-camera but also backstage, the viewers will vibe with us even more,” Laure said. “This is what people are looking for right now. Especially when I contrast this to the LEC. It’s not more professional, but it’s more polished, in a way. It’s a different approach.”
From afar, she helps her colleagues to the best of her abilities. It’s not always easy, especially when she works on the other side of the globe. With OTP’s mission statement, they continue to find success.
“When I was in Mexico, I did broadcast interviews for them. For me, it was in the middle of the afternoon,” Laure recalled. “But for them, it was during the night. I think it was 4 AM and they needed to stay awake. What better way to keep viewers, and yourself, awake than by doing some stupid shit? It works!”
The price of doing everything
Traveling around the world to host shows and interview players, it’s a dream come true for Laure. But as excited as she is for what’s ahead, she has learned valuable lessons from the past. When you keep running from event to event, there comes a point where your body demands a pause.
“[Last year], I wasn’t happy in Paris and I wasn’t happy in Berlin. (…) I realized that I had to pump the brakes if I wanted to keep doing the job I loved.”
“I lost myself in the process,” she said. “I was constantly traveling back and forth between France and Germany. I wasn’t happy in Paris and I wasn’t happy in Berlin. I couldn’t wake up in the morning, I was feeling stressed and anxious. At some point, I realized that I had to pump the brakes if I wanted to keep doing the job I loved.”
She went into therapy, which helped her realize what went wrong. Additionally, she surrounded herself with people who could keep her grounded. Her agent, manager, and assistant all weigh in on important decisions in her professional life. When Laure presents them with an opportunity she received, but it doesn’t fit in her calendar, they help her stop and breathe for a second.
“Taking a step back is not the easiest thing to do. Especially when you’re a freelancer. You never know when the next opportunity is going to line up. You don’t want to step off the train because you don’t know if you’re going to be able to jump back on afterward.”
No challenge big enough
With a clear vision of the road ahead and a support network around her to guide her through the process, Laure is ready to take on everything she sets her eyes on. Within League of Legends esports, her hard work led her to heights she once thought were unattainable. From Paris to Berlin and from Berlin to Seoul, from post-game interviews to hosting the largest shows: the world is her oyster.
Despite all the glamour and spotlights, Laure stays grounded.
“I still see myself as an esports fan and a League of Legends fan. I’m lucky enough to be working in this industry. I always think that I have the responsibility as a fan to deliver a fun experience, in a way, and through what I’m living help fans have a good time.”