Ep 1. Once Upon a Time, a Girl Needs a Distraction in Quarantine

To experience this award-winning piece in full, including listening instructions & more of Heather's inspirations, click here.


This is a story about human connection told through a voice-forward matchmaking experiment. The twist: no names, no direct contact, no pictures.

Ep 1. Once Upon a Time, a Girl Needs a Distraction in Quarantine is about Yves and Heather. It shares a lesson on projection. Meet me, matchmaker and host of the show, Yves D. Ropper. In March 2020, I was laid off and quarantining alone in a 1 bedroom apartment in Manhattan. In search of connection, I create an anonymous matchmaking experiment on a whim. I solicit 100 strangers, who are open to finding romantic connections in a new way, to participate. From behind the scenes, I eavesdrop into my participants’ conversations. By the end of my experiment, I collect 100+ hours of audio from their voice memos. Within just a couple days, people started sending 40 minute long voice memos to their matches. What I heard was empathy, acceptance, and real intimacy. They are all strangers, yet after listening to their voices, I feel connected to them. This story is as much about the experiment, its participants, and the story of how it changed my life. This episode is about how Yves met Heather.

This work was originally featured in the 2021 Web Showcase, a new way of celebrating all eleven Third Coast/RHDF Competition winners with in-depth materials, including comments from the judges. Plus, our first-ever list of finalists in each category.

Full Credits

Ep 1. Once Upon a Time, a Girl Needs a Distraction in Quarantine was written, produced and co-sound designed by Heather Li. Co-sound design and mixing by Morgane Fouse with editors Jesse Carrey, Katya Stepanov, Camila Kerwin & Max Miller. Brand design by Jen Ng, website design by Lizzy Joelson and story consultation from Stephanie Foo.

produced by

Heather Li

Heather Li is a strategy professional who advises startups and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of retail innovation, brand strategy, and experience design.

Featured in

May we recommend…