I’ve gotten some questions about my alter ego, Victoria Catherine. The questions aren’t necessarily about how she came about, but about her look and the avatar in general. Some have asked how I did it or what game it’s from and some (insert heavy sigh) have wondered why she isn’t Black or Black enough because I am a Black author. I’ll touch on that, but not too deeply. In the end, those people who are quasi-offended by her look won’t like it even after explanation.
My avatar is from a virtual world called Second Life. I began playing in 2011 when I left my job to become a stay at home mom (my fellow SLers wouldn’t like the term ‘playing’ but for educational purposes that’s the word I will use). As many of you may know, I’m an a-social introvert, in other words, I don’t do people well. Being in SL allowed me to interact with people, work, and even make real money without having to small talk or shake people’s hands (I loathe it).
Building your avatar in SL is a process. It takes real skill to come up with a shape that really suites what you want. Many go for their dream body, others try for realism, and a nice amount say fuck it and become an ocelot with wings. Hell, I was a mermaid for a while.
Once I learned the ropes of SL, I dove in hard. Rather than go with a standard avatar shape, I designed my body the way I wanted and looked for skin to compliment it. Unfortunately, as with RL, dark skin is not catered to correctly. Most deep tan and darker skin tones make the avatar look like offensive ads from the 50’s with either flat matte pitch black non-dimensional skin or glowing t-zones, cheekbones and very white lips. The creators haven’t quite grasped the concept of shades when it comes to Avatars of Color (AOC), especially woman avatars. Sadly, they simply didn’t bother to research.
Alas, there I was, searching and searching for something to compliment me when I finally said enough. Eventually I became a mixture of different races and ethnicities. In the end, though, I decided to be color ambiguous and color inclusive at the same time. As a flesh and blood human, I live in my brown skin every day and I love it. SL is the one time I can take it off and be something else; another color, another gender, another species, and I ran with it. I didn’t want to be regulated to a horrible representation of true beauty; of Black beauty. Plus, Victoria has been with me since I was a little girl, she is my imaginary friend and still is to this day. Victoria was once a fish in my brain so I think I can be free with her when it comes to SL.
Ya’ll are going to hate me but at the current moment, after much trial and error, I based my avatar on my Puerto Rican BFF, red headed Rhianna & Kim Kardashian. It was easy to settle there and I felt comfy because on any given day I could change it up. In the beginning, before I knew what I was doing, Victoria was looking basic as hell #thestuggle. I think I’ve done a good job to switch her up and around and make her everyone and everything I’ve ever wanted to be. You never know if she will be blonde, brunette or a furry. So watch out and stay tuned.
The many looks of Tori