Career Woman

6 Women making a name in the world of eSports


The myth that only males enjoy video games was shattered long ago, as 9% of women in the United States between the ages 18 – 29 consider themselves to be hardcore gamers. Many find the term “girl gamers” to be a needless perpetuation of the idea of females as a minority in gaming, and prefer to simply be called “gamers”.

In Asian countries like South Korea, females are commonly found in Internet cafes, playing MMORPGs and MOBAs alongside their male peers. While past studies have shown a divide on game genre preferences between genders, the divide is closing as more females enjoy action and fighting games in recent times. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the top women in competitive eSports gaming.

Scarlett (Sasha Hostyn)

As a professional StarCraft II player, Sasha Hostyn (pictured above) started making waves in 2012 when she beat a handful of high-ranked pro players. Since then, she’s been in more than 140 tournaments, and has placed highly in some of the most intense competitions. Throughout 2013, she actually stayed in South Korea to train for competing back home in North Korea.

In 2015 she briefly switched to playing DOTA, but returned to StarCraft II. In 2018, she won the Intel Extreme Masters tournament. Her career earnings are currently more than $300,000 USD.

V. Selbst (Vanessa Selbst)

While not traditionally an eSport, the game of poker has been seeing some crossover into the Esport realm, with cross-promotions between poker tournaments like WSOP, and eSport tournaments being held at Las Vegas casino and hotels. For female poker players, none have earned more than Vanessa Selbst, whose career winnings currently stand at over $11 million USD. She was the first woman to be ranked #1 in global Poker rankings, and was sponsored by online Team PokerStars Pro.  Poker has a large number of female players, whether live or online. You can find many female players at online casinos like

Mystik (Katherine Gunn)

As the second highest-earning woman in esports, Katherine Gunn won the second season of WCG Ultimate Gamer, with a grand prize of $100,000. She also competed in the Championship Gaming Series. Her primary game was Dead or Alive 4, but has also competed in tournaments for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, H1Z1, Halo, and Super Puzzle Fighter.

She also created a professional gaming and cosplay team called Less Than 3, which was sponsored by MadCatz, and she hosts numerous gaming-focused shows on Twitch and YouTube.

HelloKittyRicki (Ricki Ortiz)

Ricki Ortiz started out in Tekken, but has branched out to numerous other fighting games. She’s played competitively in titles such as Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Street Fighter IV and V, Marvel vs Capcom, and numerous other titles (mostly in the Tekken and Street Fighter series of games). She’s been in over 60 tournaments, and her biggest win was at the 2016 Capcom Cup, where she took the 2nd place prize of $60,000.

Kasumi Chan (Marjorie Bartell)

Marjorie Bartell is known as the first female gamer to make it to the finals in the Championship Gaming Invitational. She’s also placed highly in numerous other tournaments, such as coming first in the 2007 Championship Series Gaming. For that first place win, she took the grand prize of $50,000. Marjorie focuses primarily on fighting games, notably Dead or Alive 4, and takes her online name from one of the game characters.

zAAz (Zainab Turkie)

A professional Counter-Strike player since 2002, Zainab currently plays for the Besiktas Esports team, as their rifler in Counter-Strike: Global Operations. Throughout her gaming career, Zainab has placed first in several competitions, notably Intel Challenge, Copenhagen Games, GameGune, and others.

She has earned a total of $36,568 for her tournament winnings, and while that may not sound like a lot for an eSports pro, she also has several sponsors and marketing deals with hardware companies like Sandisk. Aside from being a professional gamer, she also appears to have a bit of a philanthropic side, as she ended up in the Swedish newspapers for purchasing a flight ticket for a homeless man to go home.

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