Illustrator and actress Lauren Tsai attributes her creative inspiration to the things she’s surrounded by. But where does one turn to when seclusion forces us to an unchanging environment? For the multi-talented 22-year-old from Massachusetts, stay-at-home orders have allowed her to look inwards, sorting through her own memories to find inspiration. She found nostalgia in her childhood obsession with video games, which she used as an escape in her early middle and high school years. Most recognized for her appearance on Netflix’s Japanese reality show Terrace House: Aloha State, and for her burgeoning modeling and art career, Tsai has taken a welcomed breather to slow things down and focus on the things she truly enjoys, like sketching and rekindling her love of gaming. She’s well-equipped to do so with the latest ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 PC, an extensive gaming device that caters to her favorite past times from the comfort of her own home.
Growing up, Lauren Tsai wanted to be a character designer for video games and movies, so she spent a lot of time online watching gameplay and walkthroughs for the latest titles. This translated to her career as an artist, for which she has spent much of her time operating in the world of fantasy in fashion, illustration and through collaborations. This manifested in projects like her first-ever sculpture entitled “UNREAL” with Medicom Toy, her spin on the BE@RBRICK, and her limited-edition “Break From The System” prints for the Black Lives Matter movement. This otherworldly perspective has not only helped Tsai formulate what she wants to communicate with her work, it’s also apparent in her video game choices. “When I get a few hours free, I love to really immerse myself, especially with the visuals of game titles like Inside and Limbo,” she says. “It really feels like you’re walking through a series of illustrations and you just feel the depth in it. It’s the perfect way to end the day.”
Her desire for an immersive experience is exactly why a gaming device like the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 PC is so essential for Tsai. The device not only performs well, but also features sleek aesthetics that fit her post-modern Los Angeles home. The dynamic one-of-a-kind hinge design on the system makes multitasking easy — a necessity for a creative who operates in a variety of realms. It’s also the first gaming laptop with a built-in ROG ScreenPad Plus display, which tilts the secondary display up for a more comfortable angle and adds touchscreen utility and stylus support to the creative toolkit. With cutting edge additions like the 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 CPU, the device offers optimal speed for tasks like photo editing, 3D rendering and streaming, while the powerful NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2080 SUPER™ GPU enables high frame rates and incredible realism for more immersive gaming with real-time ray tracing. In addition, the 4K UHD display and 300Hz FHD gaming panel ensures that gamers and creators will never miss a single detail again on this PC. Rounding out the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 PC is more storage capacity, the new AAS Plus cooling system, high-res audio in the ESS® Sabre HiFi DAC for a better sound experience and a desktop-style keyboard that features spaces between function keys for intuitive identification, creating a holistic gaming experience.
Tsai invited HYPEBEAST into her Los Angeles home, where she talked about growing up playing video games, her art illustrations, finding comfort in herself and her favorite features on the new ultra-slim ROG Zephyrus Duo 15.
What kind of things have you been up to during quarantine?
I’ve been spending my time at home drawing, working on digital projects, writing, cooking and FaceTiming my friends and family. Since my work now is all from home, I’ve been really focusing on the art projects I want to develop. I’m trying to push myself to think beyond what I normally do.
You’ve talked about the idea of entertainment being a form of escapism, yet what makes Terrace House so unique is that it’s about finding beauty in the mundane. How did the experience of being part of that show change the way you think about what art and entertainment can be?
At the time, I was surprised to see how dedicated the fans of the show were. I had assumed that a slower show like Terrace House wouldn’t appeal to as many people, since the stuff I watched on TV growing up seemed to be solely covering what was exciting or far from normal life. I hope that with my work in the future I can make things that help people to feel connected to now and remind them of the beauty that’s always with us.
Speaking of escapism, how long have you been gaming? Is gaming a social thing for you or more of an isolated activity to enjoy yourself?
I used to be super into RPGs like Runescape when I was younger. Fun fact for everyone who played [the game], I got to level 88 or something in the Hunter category and I’m still kind of proud of that… kind of [laughs]. I met a lot of people through gaming, but I don’t think I’ve ever made real friends gaming. I made all my close friends growing up online via Deviantart and Youtube, though. I would play a lot of games with my sisters on the Gamecube, which made us all closer too.
Can you tell us about your gaming collection and some of your favorite games over the years? What have you been playing most recently?
I really love horror video games like Amnesia, The Evil Within, Dead Space, and Fatal Frame. I also loved watching people play simpler online games like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Slender.
Your art is also very based in the world of fantasy. Does that come from playing video games growing up? Or is it something that you just leaned towards yourself?
I’ve always been really drawn to stories that have that fantastical element to them. They made me feel more alive when I was young. I spent a lot of time drawing and in the forest as a kid, so that fantasy world became a part of how I process my emotions now. I remember praying so desperately to whatever is out there to be taken away into a magical world. I think I’ll always believe that it exists.
What about the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 laptop appeals to your specific gaming preferences?
I love the secondary display! It’s great to have the chat/controls section separate. The image quality on this laptop is beautiful, so it can be used for making digital art and animations as well as gaming. This laptop is easy to travel with too
You were born in Massachusetts, raised in Hawaii, moved to Tokyo and now live in L.A. How has moving around and seeing so many different places shaped who you are?
I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to live in these different places. Being in such contrasting environments helped me to understand a lot about myself through seeing the parts of myself that adapted and the parts that stayed constant. I think it’s necessary to step outside of what we’re comfortable with to grow. Traveling is a really great way to do that. I have learned so much from the friends I encountered. The memories I’ve made in these places will definitely inspire me forever.
If you had a dream collaboration with artist or brand, who would it be with?
Since we’re on the topic of games, it would be a dream to collaborate with Hideo Kojima.
Check out Lauren Tsai’s set-up in the video above. To learn more about the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, head to the brand’s website.