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Q+A with Designer, Investor, and Gamer Tina He

As a Gamer and Investor, Tina reimagines a more equitable and beautiful world. Gamer Collection was inspired by our fight on and off the field for progress through creativity and...

Gamer Collection was inspired by our fight on and off the field for progress through creativity and art. It’s dedicated to those leading the fight for gender and racial equity in ways that reimagine the status quo. Our definition of Gamer: anybody who uses their craft to boldly disrupt oppressive structures.

We asked Tina a few questions...

Q: Our Spring 2021 collection, Gamer, stems from our fight for pay equity as members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. It’s about breaking norms and barriers—how do you defy norms in your life?
A: Despite the recent progress that’s been made, the world of venture capital and entrepreneurship are still highly relationship-driven, and many of those relationships are formed behind closed doors. A big part of becoming world-class as an investor is becoming hypersensitive to patterns. But just like an AI model that’s being trained on an extremely unbalanced dataset, pattern recognition could lead to highly skewed results when the early sample size came from a homogenous pool.
By being “different” when you walk into the room, knowing that the data points you’re about to contribute would update the existing model. Having come from a design background, a different country, being analytical but also highly sensitive to emotions — I revel being the weird one in the room.
One of my primary mediums of expression is writing. Writing is a process of making sense of the world through logical deductions as well as wild imaginations. A bit like puzzle-solving, where you have to at times take leaps of faith when pieces don’t perfectly add up. In the finance and technology industry, there are certain expectations around the type of writing that would be taken seriously. I’ve always treated my blog Fakepixels as a safe space for myself and the people who enjoy it to dream crazy and ask questions that challenge the status quo. I’m comfortable with putting lots of personal experiences and transdisciplinary thinking into our collective attempts at unveiling the mystical forces that shape the world of entrepreneurship and creation.  

"By being “different” when you walk into the room, knowing that the data points you’re about to contribute would update the existing model."

Q: One of the themes from our collection is “Level the playing field”- what obstacles have you had to overcome in your field?
A: In the name of abused order and misguided faith, barriers are established to hold the weak back from climbing the tallest mountain, from seeing the whole world, from singing the loudest tunes, but most importantly, from knowing the truth. Despite how much progress the Internet has unleashed the information abundance, it’s becoming harder to seek the truth. Even after doing months of deep research, I could find myself questioning the validity of my thinking, sometimes left in awe at how messed up the incentives in some of our existing systems are. This can’t possibly be true.
The biggest obstacle tends to be my own self-doubt and not trusting my instinct enough when my view of the world can be different from leaders in the industry whom I deeply respect. Most of the time I could be wrong, but the upside of making a different perspective be heard that could lead to a new insight could largely outweigh the risk. Just like betting on early-stage companies, I could make more bets on ideas that no one yet seems to care about.
Q: Games can cultivate a creative and/or competitive spark—how do you keep your creative and/or competitive spark alive?
A: By showing up at your desk and practicing the craft, by showing up on the field and playing the game. The creative and competitive spark shines the brightest when I love the game enough that the goal is not just to win, but to keep playing forever.
Q: Gamer Collection was inspired by the games of our childhood—what was your favorite game growing up? Is there a character, figure, or person from gaming (or any playing field) that you identify with?
A: Before coming to the U.S. for high school, I spent my childhood and early teenage years in a metropolitan city in China. In urban Asian culture, gaming isn’t some niche hobby, but an inevitable social fabric that weaves together our collective imagination. From navigating the haunted hospitals in Residential Evil, to leading armies in Dynasty Warriors, to exploring the picturesque green fields in Zelda, we played individually but also together. We each deployed different strategies that led to different interpretations of the story, and the next day we got to relive these moments after class on a soccer field. The best games are the ones where there’s not just one way to win. Through the different ways we played, we also got to know each other more intimately as friends.
Every gamer has a different story of how they fell in love. I still remember the relatively homogenous perception of what being a “good girl” means, especially in China. Honestly, I never saw myself through that narrative. Gaming inspired in me a somewhat subversive dream, the ability to fight in battles like a true warrior and to protect the ones I love. Most of these characters are men, and I didn’t think much about it, despite knowing there’s something restless sitting inside a body like mine.
It wasn’t until I encountered Lara Croft from Tomb Raider that an image of an adventurous, fearless, and independent woman calcified into something tangible — a body that’s nimble yet strong, a body with curves toting dual pistol. Stylistically, I also reckon shops like Hypebae and Kith Womens must have been somewhat inspired by Lara’s fit: simple, performant, and confident. The outfit that helps you explore the vintage of pyramids with wonder and terminate the bad ones with no mercy.
Even the controversies around Lara — how she’s an invention of the male gaze and how the pernicious embedded sexism creates a mirage of a “strong” ideal — serve as reminders that regardless of how she’s perceived, she’s unequivocally smart, relentlessly independent, a superb archaeologist, and a formidable fighter.
Follow Tina’s journey on instagram @fakepixels, and check out Tina’s work at How are you using your craft to boldly disrupt?


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