Soleil ‘EwOk’ Wheeler is one of the most inspirational streamers in the Fortnite community. Not only was she first female to join FaZe Clan, she did so at only 13. And that’s not even the most impressive feat. The teen did it all while deaf.
EwOk’s success on Twitch and beyond has resulted in the accumulation of over 250,000 followers and even more on Instagram where she sits at 368,000.
She is an anomaly in an ocean of wannabe pros and broadcasters across the globe. But where did she come from and what does the future hold?
Birth of a streamer
Wheeler first had dreams of streaming and playing against pros like Ninja when she watched them compete against each other. In search of making her dreams a reality, she began streaming on Twitch in October of 2018 when she got a gaming PC.
She likely chose EwOk as her tag because according to CNN, one of her four dogs looks like an Ewok from the legendary space opera film series ‘Star Wars’.
Like all streamers, EwOk started off small, with only three viewers watching her play at first. But as kept with it, she kept improving, growing and racked up over 300 wins in Fortnite.
But come March, everything was about to change.
Rise to stardom
On March 7, 2019, extremely popular Twitch icon Timothy ‘TimTheTatman’ Betar was coming off a long stream and decided to host the young deaf player sending thousands of his viewers to her way.
Making the most of this opportunity, the teen kept playing to her now supersized audience and went from under 1000 followers on March 7 to just under 10,000 by March 10.
From there, everything just snowballed. Positive media reaction, Twitter growth, everything. The internet was set ablaze by fact that not only was a girl this young so good at Fortnite, but she was doing it all with a severe handicap.
A few months later, her Twitch account reached over 100,000 followers. Not bad for less than a year on the platform.
It even reached a point where Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Kurt Benkert (who had viewed EwOk’s stream when Tim first hosted her) teamed up with the young superstar at the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am at The Forum in Los Angeles.
While the two didn’t win, it was Ewok’s first-ever offline event and a sign of things to come.
Making FaZe history
Prior to July 27, 2019, there had never been a female streamer in FaZe Clan. That all changed after the conclusion of the duos tournament at the Fortnite World Cup when the org’s co-founder Ricky 'Banks' Banks made a special announcement.
“Welcome to FaZe, you're incredible, you inspire me,” Banks tweeted, revealing EwOk’s recruitment. “First girl ever in FaZe. I'm glad we held out this long. You're perfect."
— FaZe EwOk (@Ewok) July 28, 2019
Shortly after, the growing star posted a Twitter video where she revealed the good news using sign language.
“I wanted to really jump into that and make history,” she told CNN.
Does being deaf affect how she plays?
EwOk has revealed that despite being deaf, Fortnite has an internal sound visualizer that may even give her an edge.
“The sound visualizer has been very helpful and it allows me to play on the same level, although there are a few sounds that are still missing in it,” Wheeler told ESPN. “Overall, it allows me to be just as good as other players, if not better. I compensate the inability to hear chat by texting in chats and signing in video chats.”
— FaZe EwOk (@Ewok) June 17, 2019
And the Twitch community has been very accepting. “Some of the popular streamers knew I was deaf, so they waved on the screen and typed in chat to reply to me. Some of them even learned how to sign."
What's more, is the teen can also use her inability to hear as a sick burn against game developers. When the community was up in arms over the BRUTE Mech controversy, she tweeted at Fortnite saying, "Please do something I haven't been able to do since birth. Listen."
Considering all this happened in just one year, there’s no telling what year two of EwOk’s streaming career has in store for us.