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1-on-1 with Kioshima: Life away from Counter-Strike

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn talked to FaZe Clan’s Fabien “Kioshima” Fiey during the ELEAGUE Major to reflect on life away from the game, what it was like growing up as the youngest of four brothers, and how he planned out life in case Counter-Strike didn’t work out.

Vince Nairn: So how did you even get started playing Counter-Strike? What made you want to do this in the first place?

Fabien ‘Kioshima” Fiey: I actually watched my brothers playing because I have three older brothers. They were playing CS, and when I was a kid, I always watched them play. Whenever they were going to eat or something, I was playing for 20 minutes, then eat cold (food) because I wanted to play and had no PC. I had to take all the time I could to play. So that’s kind of how it started.

VN: Being the youngest of four brothers, how did that kind of shape you, too?

FF: When you’re the youngest of the brothers, it’s always hard. But they do a lot of things for you as well. My first PC, all my brothers chipped in to buy me a computer. They helped me to go into it.

VN: Has that helped you at all in your pro career? Because you’ve obviously been in situations where you’re with a bunch of teammates and it’s often like being with a bunch of siblings

FF: Since I’m French, and I don’t play with French people anymore, there’s a culture difference. When I started, it helped me. But now it’s totally different because they don’t see the things as you see them as a French guy. There’s some Danish people. We have one Norwegian, one Swedish. It’s not really the same thing.

VN: What are some of those differences you noticed?

FF: It’s real deep because they didn’t grow up as you did, for example. Even school wise in France, when you try to learn English, it’s not really working for most of the French people. Because we have an accent, they mock you. So that’s kind of going to (be tough) because when you’re going to another country, they all speak a really good English. I had to learn it two years ago before coming to this team. I’ve spoken English for like one year and a half or two by now. I needed to put a lot of effort into this team and learn stuff.

VN: What’s one thing about your personality you think people might find interesting?

FF: Oh, I don’t know (laughs). I actually don’t know.

VN: Who’s kind of the jokester on your team, if there is one?

FF: I’m not gonna say jokes, but I’m a bit of the clown on the team. I like to pick them up when people are down or something. I kind of like making people laugh. They come in as well and laugh, so it’s fine.

VN: Was there ever a moment, especially in the early part of your career, where you might have had second thoughts about doing this full time as a pro?

FF: I actually stopped going to university a year and a half ago, maybe two years because I have a small degree. I had a backup for if my pro career didn’t work. I had everything planned. I was like, I’m going to try one year. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to back to school. I had it planned. But actually, I can live on my paycheck now. And that’s something that’s great and probably everyone would like to do.

VN: What’s your favorite thing about this lifestyle?

FF: Traveling, probably. Because before I played, I didn’t go out of France. That was actually the first time I left France, and now I visit 20 or 25 countries in two years or something. It’s just amazing to travel that much.

VN: You travel a lot. You play a lot. Have you had time to pick up any hobbies along the way?

FF: It’s kind of hard. Because when you have your girlfriend and you have to travel to play a lot. I try to put myself into the gym now, so that’s all I really do. I have my girlfriend, sleep, play, gym, eat and that’s it. That’s what I do all day.

Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE.