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Orillian could be crowned King of the Nerds

By Sara Carson, Orillia Packet & Times

Celeste Anderson, a Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate, is Canada’s only contestant on the Kings of the Nerds.

Celeste Anderson, a Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate, is Canada’s only contestant on the Kings of the Nerds.

North America’s ultimate nerd could be Orillia’s Celeste Anderson.

Anderson, 23, who has an obsession with video games, is Canada’s only contestant on the King of the Nerds reality show.

“The reason why I initially wanted to do the show is to challenge myself and get out of my shell,” Anderson said. “I was very shy and quiet and I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone.”

The Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate became a competitive gamer at 16.

“For the last six years after I graduated high school, I had a really big obsession with video games and so I decided that I wanted to explore that gaming world,” Anderson said. “I ended up going to a lot of video game tournaments and then I got recognized.”

At 17, she became a professional gamer travelling throughout the United States, earning cash to play video games and compete in tournaments.

In those six years, Anderson became known as one of Canada’s best female gamers.

When she was approached to be on King of the Nerds — they were looking for an extremely passionate and competitive female gamer — Anderson wasn’t interested.

She suffers from stage fright and gets anxiety.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh, no. I don’t really want to. It seems kind of extreme,’” Anderson said.

Even when Anderson decided to audition, her parents were leery.

As a child, Anderson was so shy she couldn’t speak to servers or cashiers to order her own food.

“My mom actually fought me for a while,” Anderson said. “(My mom said) ‘It looks like it stresses you out. Don’t do it.’”

Anderson ended up putting an audition video on YouTube.

“And it got a lot of attention,” she said.

After first being named a finalist, Anderson was given a spot on the show. She was the youngest competitor and the only Canadian.

“I don’t usually like being part of the minority, but I feel so awesome representing Canada,” she said.

Anderson’s expertise isn’t restricted to video screens; she can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 25 seconds.

The Slice Network show — filmed in the summer of 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. — pits 11 nerds against one another in a Survivor-esque competition.

The one who remains at the end — the King of Nerds — wins $100,000.

It began airing Jan. 17. The fifth episode aired Wednesday night.

Anderson has been competing against a NASA protection engineer, a master hacker, a neuroscience student, a young-adult fantasy writer from California and a role-playing game designer from California among others.

“I’m the type of person that likes to compare myself to others and a lot of people on the show were not hard-core gamers like me,” Anderson said. “I felt ‘Oh, geez, it’s cool to be the only Canadian contestant,’ but I feel very different.”

Although shy, Anderson is competitive and always wanted to be on a reality show.

“It’s crazy to (watch),” Anderson said of watching the show. “I find (I’m) laughing at myself.”

Her parents have also been watching and enjoying King of the Nerds.

“My family is so extremely happy for me and so excited about the show,” Anderson said.

To promote the show, she appeared on the Conan O’Brien show Feb. 12.

“Oh, my gosh, crazy,” she said of the experience. “He’s such a nice person. He’s the kindest, friendliest giant. It’s becoming really crazy ... getting all these opportunities.”

King of the Nerds has helped Anderson, who is in her second semester of computer science at the University of Waterloo, become more self-confident.

She hopes to use her education to become a video game creator.

“After the show, I felt so motivated to go back to school,” Anderson said. “I can bring the confidence I had from being on the show to my gaming or what I want to pursue.”


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