“My name is Ricki & I am the Bad Bitch of Fighting Games.”
Them there are fighting words, and boy-oh-boy, would we love to tangle with HelloKittyRicki. Not only is she girl-nextdoor sexy, but she was the number three biggest female earner in eSports last year. Sexy and rich? Yes, please!
However, there is more to HelloKittyRicki than meets the eye. Let’s get to know this dream gamer.
We know her as HelloKittyRicki, but those who know her best call her Ricki Sophie Ortiz. However, Ricki Sophie wasn’t always this talented star’s name. In fact, her name was a completely different gender.
Ricki was born a cismale. She was born with the parts a man is born with. However, the star never identified with the role that was thrust upon her the moment she entered the world.
Although Ricki always knew she was different. When she looks back at her childhood years, they are actually quite fond. The gaming sensation described this formative time of her life as “normal and relaxed.”
The starlet grew up in California. Growing up, her parents were blue-collared workers. One was an engineer while the other was a metalworker.
Ricki was heavily influenced by her grandmother. Since her parents were always busy making money, Ricki’s grandmother took on the responsibility of practically raising her.
Unlike most members of the trans community, HelloKittyRicki had a solid foundation with her father. In fact, he left a lasting influence on her that has seen her star rise ever since. Ricki Ortiz has her father to thank for introducing her to video games.
She played her first fighting game at the Golfland Entertainment Center. Her father brought her to the Milpitas, California hotspot when she was merely a grade schooler. By the time middle school hit, Ricki was hooked. You can find her at the local arcade every day after school.
At a very young age, Ricki knew she had a knack for competitive fighting games. With the support of her family, she honed her skills after school until she was an elite player.
Long before gaming competitions were the norm, HelloKittyRicki decided to strike while the iron was hot. She left the comfort of San Francisco County for the first time of her life. Even more nerve-wracking, she made the trek down to the Blue Star State of Texas. This culture shock would be the push out of the comfort zone Ricki needed to become one of the top female gamers in all the world.
While she came up short, Ricki was very happy that she listened to her “friend and mentor,” John Choi. Upon John’s insistence, Ricki took the leap and was fully hooked. Now, she was ready to start her career as the top trans gamer.
Once Ricki graduated high school, the world of gaming bubbled to the cusp of blowing up. HelloKittyRicki was all too eager to ride that wave.
Bitten by the traveling bug, the burgeoning star once again packed up and left the Bay Area. Except this time, Ricki traveled across the country to New York City.
Ricki learned that the arcade scene was second to none in the City Never Sleeps. Immediately, she immersed herself into the culture. With hundreds of unique games at her fingertips, Ricki was like a child in a candy shop, and she couldn’t get enough. Luckily for her, her addictions were paying dividends. She was gaining tons of experience that would suit her on the next leg of her journey.
Texas got HelloKittyRicki prepared for tournament life. New York became the boot camp. With hours upon hours of gaming under her belt, Ricki was ready for the big time.
The gaming sensation entered the Evolution Championship Series back in 2003. Since that inaugural tournament, she has shown up every year and knocked it out of the park.
Ricki consistently ranks in the top of the brackets for some of the most sought after games, including:
While the Evolution Championship Series has proven to be rather fruitful for Ricki, she has branched out to enter a number of Capcom Tournaments as well.
By 2016, Ricki Ortiz was a seasoned pro. With fighting games and arcades being her strong suit, Ricki started to rub elbows with the Capcom universe. This decision led the competitor to enter the 2016 Capcom Cup.
To prepare herself for this occasion, Ricki Ortiz trained like a true athlete. She entered a sort-of Capcom boot camp by training three weeks straight. Her trainer was an intense player by the name of Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez. In retrospect, Ortiz doesn’t know if this was the right call. She called the conditions less than ideal. Either way, it seemed to work out just fine for the star in the making.
Her first outing was quite the success, even if she came up a bit shorthanded. She came in a highly respectable second place, losing out to Du “NuckleDu” Dangin in the finals. Although she came up with the silver medal, the star did pocket a whopping $60,000 for her efforts.
After the event, the star took a sabbatical from the game she loved. She slowed down on her Street Fighter playing, focusing on her personal life and enjoying time playing other fighting games. In fact, she was so burnt out from the exhaustive tournament that HelloKittyRicki had no intentions of throwing her hat into the ring for the 2017 Capcom Cup. That was until an old friend pulled the starlet back in.
When you win the Capcom Cup, you are automatically entered into the following year’s tournament so you can defend your crown. However, NuckleDu ended up pulling off the tournament. He felt the right thing to do was to place his runner-up from the previous year into his spot. Hesitantly, but not one to turn down such an opportunity, HelloKittyRicki agreed to the coveted spot.
Unfortunately for Ricki, lightning did not strike the twice. The Street Fighter aficionado was actually ousted from the tournament within the first round. She played against Tokido in the opening round of the tournament and lost in a convincing manner.
While most gamers prefer online RPG games, Ricki Ortiz is a bit unconventional. Her love for arcades has caused her to go down a road less traveled. While Marvel vs. Capcom is still popular, they aren’t as widely played as computer games because they’re not as readily available. Therefore, the players are at the mercy of the bandwidth of everyone involved. That gets under HelloKittyRicki’s skin.
Ricki is not a fan of RPG computer games because there will always be an inevitable lag in gameplay.
As Ricki said, it’s like, “I’m playing blind almost, because you’re taking my best attributes away.”
You don’t get these sort of inconveniences when you play fighting games under the Marvel vs. Capcom banner.
Under the Marvel vs. Capcom banner, Ortiz is a huge proponent of the Street Fighter franchise. This classic game has aged well and Ricki has been along for every step of the ride. Since day one, Ricki has been a self-proclaimed Chun-Li fan. The first time Ricki played Chun-Li she was nine years old. Since then, Ricki has all of the character’s top moves and facets down pat.
In an interview with ESPN, Ricki spoke about her love for the Chun-Li character.
She stated, “[Chun-Li is] the one who makes the game fun for me.” Unfortunately for Ricki, all good things must come to an end. In 2017, Capcom discontinued the Chun-Li character. Since then, Ricki has struggled to find a suitable replacement. Notably, she also hasn’t entered a Capcom Cup since the announcement (and humbling loss in 2017).
Ricki Sophie Ortiz came out as a gay man in 2003. While it felt like a huge relief to start chipping away at the person she was inside, coming out as gay did not make her feel complete. As she explained, the proclamation, “didn’t feel right.”
After falling in love with RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ricki realized that she is a transgender woman. This announcement was decisive to the gaming world. Amidst harsh backlash, Ortiz fell into a deep depression around 2012. This started to affect her gaming career.
However, Ricki took the reins of her life. In 2014, she started her official transition from male to female. Now, the star enjoys showing off her best assets…along with some kitty filters and pictures of her man.
While HelloKittyRicki doesn’t have her own YouTube page, she has popped up on many others. Sure, they’re just of gaming. However, you get a good sense of her personality, get to watch how good of a player she is, and of course, check her out as well. Here are some videos of HelloKittyRicki from other peoples’ accounts.