Tina is a remarkable person — to be with her is to be around someone seemingly connected to something beyond what most of us know. In all my years, I have met a handful of people who are in touch with what, for lack of a better word, would be the cosmos in the way that Tina is. It is her joy-filled spirit of exploration of the world, of design, and of what consciousness could be that make her one of our favorite people.
At the age of 40, Tina Frey left a career in finance to pursue her lifelong passion for design. Her products are now sold in design shops around the world. The openness and playful spirit that fueled her career transition are also what eased her move to Canada from Hong Kong as a child, and what drives her joyful approach to her daily life where she is an avid traveler, skateboarder, yogi, and master meditator.
Tina’s journey started in Hong Kong. As a youngster, she became an immigrant to Canada. Then she had an early career in retail and finance, before changing directions and starting a business around her lifelong passion of design, becoming the founder, CEO, and designer of Tina Frey Designs, whose pieces are sold in select stores and unique design shops worldwide.
It can’t go without mentioning that Tina has style, like no other. Although the word influencer gets bandied about with abandon these days, there are those whose style is truly influential, and she is one of these. She is the first we ever saw who could wear a traditional watch on one arm and an Apple watch on the other. Someone whose love of color and shape is magnetic in a crowd, someone who seems to pay very little attention to being fashionable, and nevertheless is wildly influential to anyone who meets her.
How old are you?
I am currently 55. I turn 56 on November 9th.
Where are you right now?
I am currently in Hong Kong on a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur for a hospitality industry-related event.
What is new since your profile in 2020?
A LOT is new! That was 3 years ago and the start of the pandemic. It was a very strange time and, despite all the hardship for many people, it was also an amazing opportunity to sit with the uncertainty and be open to seeing what is next. If I reflect on what has been new from my company’s perspective, most of our customer service team transitioned to working remotely, and included me. This has provided a lot of freedom in where to live. Although I still do need to be in the studio on occasion, it is more planned for things like photoshoots, etc. I can do much of my creative work, including sculpting, from home, or anywhere. We lived in Santa Barbara during most of the pandemic, I did two vision quests in the jungle, traveled to Iceland, I am always working on new designs, and just overall enjoying life and feeling abundant and very fortunate.
Big cities have changed a lot; what is your impression of Paris post pandemic?
Truthfully, it was a bit disturbing. There was a lot of pent-up travel demand and, combined with the favorable exchange rate for Americans, it seemed that everyone in Paris was a tourist and it felt like Disneyland. I still love the people and the beauty of the city but it loses its authentic charm when it is over-catering to the tourists.
Burning Man in the Rain
How do you manage all your travel? You seem to be constantly in another part of the world.
I used to travel a lot more but stopped completely during the pandemic and it was amazing for my health. I got plenty of consistent sleep, ate better, and exercised more regularly. Now that travel is back again, I am a bit more selective about where and how I travel. I am not participating on the same treadmill of trade shows as before and, when I do visit them, I minimize the stress by taking more time for myself with enough sleep, heathy food, and exercise. I also do enjoy traveling and I love the sense of adventure and seeing new places and that makes me come alive.
How was your Burning Man experience?
As always, there are moments you ask yourself: “Why am I doing this again?” However, I always come back yearning to go again since there are some experiences that are hard to compare to what you encounter in the real world. Even though there was plenty of rain this year, and it seemed to have made the news around the world, us “burners” were well prepared to survive another week if we had to. We were delayed getting out by 24 hours but any challenges are always an opportunity for growth. Being stuck and not able to leave can seem psychologically challenging at the time since there are many unknowns. But then, being able to learn to surrender and appreciate whatever happens is also a good practice in itself.
You have stepped up your meditation practice. Could you tell us about what you are doing, what you have learned, and what you are feeling?
I have continued to meditate daily every morning for 1–2 hours before my day starts. It is such a luxury. I have started working with another meditation teacher and I am getting more attuned to energy work since she really understands and can help explain some of the weird things that have been happening to me since my energy centers started opening a few years ago. I am learning more about how to embrace and trust this source energy and how we are naturally meant to go with the flow of things. The path to the way forward is always there if you pay attention.
“I have started working with another meditation teacher and I am getting more attuned to energy work”
Will you be going to “The Dark Room” meditation?
YES! This is definitely in my near future. I am trying to narrow down the dates for 2024 and am really looking forward to disconnecting and going deeper to see what unfolds for me. I know this is the right path in my next step of spiritual discovery.
Editors note: A dark room meditation involves being in total darkness for a period of 4-7 days with no contact with the outer world. It has been said that it can lead to whole new levels of awareness.
Who are some of the mediation teachers, retreats and classes people may want to know about that you have done?
The first silent meditation I did was a weeklong at Spirit Work Meditation Center in Fairfax, California. It is an amazingly beautiful location and it was perfect for me at the time when I was a new meditator. I have also been delving into the world of plant medicine (i.e. mushrooms, ayahuasca, etc), which led to some unfolding that started to naturally happen outside in regular life. This helped to open my energy centers and deepen my meditation practice. When it started happening, I needed to find information on what was happening to me. I read about Joe Dispenza and ended up going on a weeklong meditation retreat with him, followed by another advanced follow-up retreat. This helped with solidifying that what was happening with my deepening meditation was real and could be scientifically explained. I have also done two Vision Quests. These are solo journeys with no substances, food, or water in the jungle for 4 days where you are supervised from a distance by a chief in the Mexican jungle. This one is a bit more advanced, but it is life transforming. That is a whole other conversation. I currently work with a meditation teacher who is also a trained hypnotherapist.
“I read about Joe Dispenza and ended up going on a weeklong meditation retreat with him”
What is your creative routine?
I find that my meditation or my dreams help with this. I have creative thoughts or visuals of things that enter my consciousness. I tend to play with this visual in my mind and I “feel” if it feels right or not. If it feels right, then I may eventually sit down to make the object that I visualized and did all the scenarios in my mind already. It is very fulfilling and satisfying to actually see the final object in 3D reality that you imagined already.
What is your workout routine?
I try to go running 2–3 times a week. I do a quick yoga and stretching routine every morning with some strength training. I also love to hike or walk the hills around our house regularly.
What is bringing you joy these days?
Everything brings me joy. I especially love being in nature, listening to the birds, watching the sunrise, sunsets, meditating, snuggling our dog, spending time with my husband, traveling, laughing at silly things, learning and having new experiences, and reading about inspiring people.
“Everything brings me joy”
What are you reading?
I am currently reading the biography of Elon Musk. I have also been very slowly simultaneously reading the book The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin…but I have been savoring that one since it is so full of nuggets of wisdom that I don’t want the book to end. I generally prefer non-fiction. My other recent favorite book recommendation is The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. It is a quantum physics perspective to consciousness and all sorts of woo woo things.
Where are you at with your sneaker game?
Here is my current order of preference right now: 1) Maison Margiela sneakers 2) Adidas Gazelles 3) Onitsuka Tiger – I don’t know the style of these one-off special ones but they are almost neon yellow.
What is exciting to you about your work now?
I am feeling like a move towards making more art than commercial things. It feels like a natural evolution of my creativity since I want to do something more unexpected. I am thankful for the commercial success of the current collection but I feel the need to break out of a shell of expectations of the collection now.
Where do you want to go next?
Bhutan, Tibet, Ibiza.
Did you ever get around to hang gliding?
No. I did the introductory course in Santa Barbara where I got to run off a hill several times to fly and land. It’s not the flying part that troubles me. It is navigating the air and figuring out where to land that seems hard to get my head around. I don’t think I have enough time to dedicate to it right now.
What is your skincare routine?
I keep things extremely simple. I wash my face with a gentle milk cleanser from Doré and use a Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil from Drunk Elephant at the end of the day. I rinse only with water in the morning. I don’t tend to use sunscreen and prefer to wear a hat or cover up as necessary instead of applying something on my skin unless I am in extreme conditions (i.e. like Burning Man desert).
Your style is incredible. How do you dress yourself in the morning?
When I am working from home, I am a bit lazy and don’t tend to get dressed up. I prefer to be comfortable. I have cozy home clothes and cool-looking things for going out. I have also been gravitating to unbleached natural cotton pants and shirts
“It is the most amazing feeling to completely let go and just dance”
What music are you listening to?
Oddly, I haven’t been listening to a lot of music lately. I have been enjoying pure silence in my surroundings. Sometimes when I meditate, I listen to binaural music so I can sink into a deep state of meditation and travel in space. Otherwise, if I am at Burning Man, then I go all in with being fully immersed in some electronic dance DJ music and just feel the music completely reverberate and move my body and dance. I love standing very close to the blasting speakers to feel the vibration. It is the most amazing feeling to completely let go and just dance.
Thoughts and stories on Joe Dispenza?
His ability to teach what he has learned is very special. Attending his advanced retreats is like distilling all that is being described in ancient Buddhist texts or other meditation insights into a week where it is accessible to anyone, as long as they are willing to learn. It is transformative. I discovered him since I was trying to find information to help explain what was happening to me with my energy centers. I googled “kundalini awakening” and the description was a bit vague about the snake up your spine, etc. Being very science minded, I needed a better explanation. When I started reading the Joe Dispenza books, it was like a light came on and my body started to vibrate with acknowledgement that this was exactly what I needed to learn. I was in awe of what I learned…then I actually ran into him in person! I told him about what was happening and he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Sign up for my advanced meditation retreat and I can teach you how to get there…” And he certainly did!
3 non-negotiables in your life?
Always come from a place of love, be kind to everyone, and listen.
The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.
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