If you show any League of Legends player a picture of this woman, 90% of the time they will recognize her, by face if not by name. That is completely understandable, as she is one of League of Legends’ most recognized faces, having been present at every League international tournament as an MC.  We often see her interview players, but rarely do we have the chance to see her at the receiving end of the interviewing, to really get to know her.

This is no doubt one of League of Legends' most recognized faces

Eefje Depoortere, also known as “Sjokz”, was born on 16 June 1987 in Bruges, Belgium. She loved playing video games growing up, with her first competitive gaming experience being in Unreal Tournament, a popular online shooting game in the early 2000s. She participated in several LAN tournaments during that period and even went so far as to win a national cup. Her nickname, Sjokz (pronounced "shook"), also came from a weapon from this game, the shock rifle.

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Depoortere loved playing Unreal Tournament growing up, and her nickname also originated from that game

Going to college, Depoortere had to temporarily stop her gaming activities as there was no time, no computer, and no good internet connection. However, after four years of studying history, she realized she much preferred to be a sports reporter, so she stayed in school to get a Master’s Degree in Journalism and an additional teacher’s degree.

After finishing school, Depoortere still could not decide what she wanted to do with her life. She had various temporary jobs and played games in her free time. It was then that an old friend from her Unreal Tournament days introduced her to League of Legends. That was in 2011, when the game was still young growing. Depoortere shared that she “didn’t like it at all at first” because she “just wanted to shoot people”. Luckily one of League’s original champions, Ashe, satisfied her. She started to really get into it then.

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She first got into League of Legends in 2011...

After a few months of playing League, Depoortere came across a stream that changed her life. It was a match of the professional League of Legends team Counter Logic Gaming. Depoortere was hooked. She discovered that the game she had been playing for a few months had a competitive scene. It reminded her of Unreal Tournament, but it was bigger in every way. She knew then that she had to be a part of this world.

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... and was determined to get into its competitive scene a few months later

Depoortere started the first step towards her goal as a freelance journalist writing Esport-related articles for SK Gaming and eventually worked her way to being their chief editor for League of Legends-related content. This then led to her first on-screen job as the host of Summoners Recap, a show for League fans to update news about the competitive scene of the game. Over time, her love and dedication to her job got her more recognition. This opened a lot of chances for her to start traveling around Europe and interviewing players in different tournaments.

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Her love and dedication for her job gradually earned her more recognition

But life isn’t always pink. Even though Depoortere was doing what she loved and was making progress, it was not a steady job. She was running out of money. Pressures were put on her to find a reliable job. “I was in that hybrid between being a student and a freelancer and there wasn’t really a lookout to a steady job. Things were getting difficult”, she said, “I knew I had to make a decision, either I find a job or I quit and leave everything behind.”

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But life isn't always pink

It was in that moment of instability that she was approached by people from the ESL – the largest Esport Company in the world. At first, they only hired her to do a small fan interview, but she did such an amazing job that just a few weeks later she was offered a job as an interviewer for the first European League Competitive Series (EU LCS) in 2013. And that is the story of how we get our beloved Sjokz on the LCS Stage.

The establishment of the LCS was a major milestone not only for competitive League of Legends, but for Esport in general, and Sjokz was a part of it. She was also the host of the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship in 2013, the most-watched Esport event in history up to that point. Her beauty, charisma, and professionalism made her one of the most popular faces, not only in Europe, but in every international League event.

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Sjokz's beauty, charisma, and professionalism made her a popular face among the League of Legends community

One thing for certain, Sjokz is not there just to look pretty. Far from it. She is not there to simply deliver opening speeches and ask players repetitive questions either. From her perspective, it is very important to develop a personal connection with the people she interviews. She likes to be herself, and talk to the players as a person to a person. That makes her who she is in front of the camera: Professional, but hilarious and at times brutal. We have all probably had a good laugh from seeing Sjokz roasting players, casters and analysts alike during interviews. The reason she can pull that off while at the same time retain professionalism is because, as she said: “I build a connection with them over the years, or I’ve talked to them behind the scenes and I know how far I can and can’t go.”

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Sjokz taking a selfie with Korean pro player Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan

Of course, building connections with players isn’t always just fun and games. Sometimes it means being with them through tough times as well. Such is the case in Sjokz’s interview with former Team Solo Mid (TSM) Top laner Marcus “Dyrus” Hill after his last match as a professional League of Legends player. Ending his career with a defeat at the hands of LGD Gaming, Dyrus was very emotional during the interview. He felt as if he had let his fans down, and Sjokz stood beside him then, almost literally offering him a shoulder to cry on. Sjokz later admitted she was proud of the way she handled the interview, and it was a big moment in her career too.

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Sjokz during her interview with TSM top laner Marcus "Dyrus" Hill after the last game of his career

Sjokz’s influence extends far more than most realize. Through her, professional League gamers become closer to the viewers. Through their interaction with Sjokz, people see them as they really are: Not some names on top of digital characters on a big screen, not “nerds” with social anxiety who impassively sit in front of the computer playing games all day as stereotypes make them out to be, but real people, with characters, emotions, struggles, just like everyone else. She helps fans connect with players, who often seem so cold and detached. She brings the soul to competitive League of Legends.