5 Top Performing Female Esports Athletes to Watch in 2021
Written By: Chris Murphy and Mark Yasak
With international women’s day this week, we’re recognizing five female gamers who have left their permanent mark on esports. These dedicated trailblazers broke into a male-dominated industry and continue to make a name for themselves while paving the way for others.
- Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn– Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn is a Canadian-born professional gamer that recently joined the Shopify Rebellion esports organization. She is most well-known for playing StarCraft II, and in 2018 she became the first female gamer to win a major StarCraft II tournament. She also occasionally competes in Dota 2. Sasha currently holds the world record for “highest career earnings for a female competitive video game player.”
- Li “Liooon” Xiao Meng– Born in mainland China, the 24-year-old gamer has already compiled enough accomplishments to cover an entire career. “Liooon” is the first woman to win the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals and to win a BlizzCon Esports Tournament Title. She is a 2019 Hearthstone Global Champion and gave an impassioned speech for gender equality within esports after sealing the victory. At such a young age, one can only guess what heights she will soar to next.
- Katherine “Mystik” Gunn– When “Mystic” was growing up, her father owned a comic and card shop that gave her early exposure to gaming culture. As she got older, Gunn began playing Halo and Street Fighter online where she quickly proved herself to be an elite-level player. Eventually, she was featured as a Dead or Alive player on the Championship Gaming Series and won the second season of SyFy’s WCG Ultimate Gamer. In addition, Gunn is an avid cosplayer and Twitch streamer who focuses on promoting messages of eating healthy, thinking positively and playing fairly.
- Rumay “Hafu” Wang–“Hafu” is a professional World of Warcraft and Hearthstone player who quickly developed a passion for gaming after being introduced to WoW in high school. Her streams typically draw thousands of viewers and her Twitch channel has over 1 million followers. Wang often plays Among Us with her friends and the game’s massive spike in popularity has boosted her already high profile. In the past, she has spoken out about the issue of sexual harassment in esports and gaming as a whole.
- Ricki “HelloKittyRicki” Ortiz– Ricki Ortiz is a professional Street Fighter player from the United States, currently representing the Evil Geniuses professional esports team. She has been active in the fighting game community since the early 2000s. She became a well-known name in the gaming community thanks to numerous Top-8 finishes at the Evolution Championship Series early in her career. Ricki’s most notable performance came at the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour Circuit where she reached the Grand Final, eventually finishing in 2nd Place and earning $60,000. This remains the biggest cash win of her career.