Rumay Wang (Born: April 18, 1991) is an Asian American gaming star known as ItsHafu. Friends call her “Hafu” for short. Over time, the shorter name seems to have won over! She is a competitive eSports player who specializes in World of Warcraft and Hearthstone.
Hafu Early Beginnings
Rumay Wang is an American citizen, born to Chinese immigrants, who came over from Beijing. The future Twitch star was born on April 18, 1991, in Newton, Massachusetts.
Her family grew up in the highly affluent city of Lexington. With a median income of $137,456, the people of Lexington aren’t hurting for money. However, the Wang family didn’t share in the wealth that other members of this Boston suburb did.
Her parents struggled to make a living. Mrs. Wang was a computer engineer. In a change from traditional Chinese norms, Rumay’s mother was the breadwinner in the family.
Rumay’s father was busy studying for his Ph.D. Eventually, his hard work paid off. The Wangs started a very successful technology security company.
Hafu Starts Gaming
Hafu played a little bit of video games as a young child. However, she really got into it during high school. Her friends were big fans of World of Warcraft, especially her boyfriend at the time.
Almost immediately, Rumay was hooked. She would interact with friends at first. However, she started showing her personality to strangers all over the internet. These sorts of interactions were the genesis of her future career. It helped her feel comfortable showing off her personality, all while honing her sick gaming skills.
Rumay’s love for World of Warcraft ran so deep that she skipped her high school graduation to play! However, graduation weekend saw Rumay topping the leaderboards. She knew it was well worth it.
Hafu Drops Out of College
After she graduated from high school, the future ItsHafu attended Bentley University. While she was doing okay in her studies, Rumay’s heart was into it.
As Hafu told NBC News,
“My parents were really strict. I grew up to be everything they didn’t want. They wanted me to study really hard because that’s how they found success. Instead of studying, I just played games all day.”
It’s not like Hafu didn’t try to make the most out of her college experience. She even pledged to a sorority.
During her time at Bentley University, Hafu enrolled in the School of Business. She was eyeing for a degree in finance. Her idea was to manage and make money since she knew what it was like to struggle growing up.
With that said, Rumay was addicted to World of Warcraft and had to explore those feelings. After a lot of soul-searching, Rumay made a major decision. She was going to drop out of school and pursue a full-time career in streaming.
Rumay recalled her conversation with her parents,
“They begged me not to. I told my parents, ‘If within one year, you don’t think I’m successful, I’ll go back to school.'”
After three years in the finance program, Rumay officially dropped out of Bentley University in 2012.
Hafu Starts Gaming Career and Pay
Hafu started her gaming career with a bit of a following. She was already crushing it in World of Warcraft tournaments.
At first, Hafu’s primary income was through Twitch donations. Things were slow, and her family was nervous about the decision.
“Back in the day, if I didn’t make $100 that day, I might not be able to pay rent. I changed my business plan to be more about sponsors instead of relying on crowdfunding.”
This business model worked. In no time, Twitch made her a partner. She started making a comfortable living off sponsorships and advertisements. Today, Hafu estimates up to 10% of her income is from donations.
Hafu Twitch Success
Hafu is one of the top female streamers in the world. As of November 2020, she is just short of one million followers. Her Twitch page is pushing for one million. To achieve this milestone, Hafu has started creating extra content.
The average stream has over 45 million views. Her page remains one of the top 100 streams on Twitch. With 75% of the audience being male, Hafu feels she has to work harder to get over the preconceived notions of what a female gamer is and to keep people coming back.
Hafu remembers the day she realized she hit it big. It was when her mom saw her success firsthand.
“It wasn’t until I showed my mom the world leaderboard. I was like, ‘Look mom, I’m number one. Isn’t that something?’ That’s when she started letting me play once I finished my homework.”
See, mom. She didn’t need all that schooling anyway. Your baby girl was destined to be a big star. Unfortunately, she was going to get the bullying and harassment that comes with schooling…on the internet.
Hafu Fights Sexual Harassment
At 17, Hafu was scared to death when she entered a tournament and saw who she would be playing against. The team’s name was “Gonna Rape Hafu at Regionals.”
Hafu warns female gamers that there will be a lot of harassment on the way up. She encourages females to keep doing what they’re doing and not to give in to the trolls. Rumay mentors upcoming female players and makes herself available for them to vent to when they get harassed.
Now an established star, Hafu has transitioned into the world of Hearthstone. This new content has grown her popularity more than ever. Just as she evolved from World of Warcraft, Hafu thinks she’s bigger than Hearthstone, too.
“The good thing is. I don’t think I’ll end when Hearthstone ends.”
It’s already happening. In 2019, she became the number one player in Teamfight Tactics while the game was still in the beta phase. This achievement got her signed with G2 Esports. Since then, she was nominated for Twitch Streamer of the Year for the 2019-2020 Shorty Awards.
Pulling in big sponsors like Doritos, there is no doubt Hafu is around for the long haul. She’s paying it forward with other female gamers. No matter what, we will always feel her legacy.