A progressive lady with a heart for change, Nicole has been fueled by her creative passions and artistic endeavors since she was "old enough to hold a pencil." As an Art Director at Deutsch NYC, Nicole oversees projects from start to finish, handling everything from brainstorming to conception to final advertising products for her clients. (She's also an FSU alumna - making her even cooler than she already was to me.) Thanks for stopping by, lady!
Hometown: Queens, NY. But I've moved a lot, living in Ecuador, FL and NY.
Current city: Brooklyn, NY
Alma mater: Florida State University // Miami Ad School
Degree: B.A. in Fine Arts, B.A. in Communications
Hustle: Art Director @ Deutsch
Babe you admire and why?
Oh boy, this is really tough! The ones that come to mind are also influenced by the nature of our country right now: Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and (divisiveness alert!) Hillary Clinton. I just can’t imagine working through what each of them have worked through to make it where they are today. Each of them have a unique perspective on how discrimination of some form inevitably affected them, but they all share being female and still making it in their careers.
What do you do in your free time?
Well, other than the typical activities of a 26-year-old living in NYC, I like to paint. I grew up drawing and painting and so I try my hardest to balance this with everything else. These days I typically oil paint because I just love the richness of color and ease of blending. I have this idea to do a series of portraits of badass women, and there’s a sketch of Ruth Bader Ginsburg sitting in my apartment, but I’ve been tied up in a commission piece and also life lately.
Must-have item in your purse?
Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom and a comb. (This hair is no joke).
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
President Obama. I always say I hope to one day see him in person and shake his hand. If I could pick his brain, I’d ask him about the inner workings of the White House and how he always seems to keep his chin up, despite the discrimination he’s faced. I have a hard time being okay with backward thinking - which is rampant these days - so I’d love to learn how he deals with it and keeps a positive attitude.
Tell us about your hustle:
I’m an Art Director at Deutsch, an advertising agency in New York city. Essentially I work on conceptualizing and developing ads and campaigns, and also play a hand in designing the look of them. I get a brief, sit down with my copywriter, and brainstorm a shit ton of ideas. Later in the process, I'll work on the look and feel of whatever project we're working on, or more importantly, whatever has been approved by the client. I'm first and foremost an artist, though, and have been since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I work primarily in oils now, but also love graphite. I'm learning little by little how to balance these two sides of me, as they can sometimes conflict, putting me in hard situations. I'm learning how to give myself to both these things in a fulfilling way, while also having some sort of social life in NYC.
What does your typical workday look like?
I start my morning at the office checking emails while drinking my coffee. If I have time, I'll read some top news headlines, get annoyed by them, and then start my work. This consists of daily maintenance for the projects I have going on, and preparing for the next check-in or deadline. Throughout my job, I get briefed on new projects and start the process over again. Because I work on different clients and projects all the time, my days are always different when it comes to the work I'm doing. Sometimes I'm brainstorming for hours and sometimes I'm making things. In terms of projects, some clients are cool and willing to take risks, and that’s the best. But in my admittedly limited experience, most clients (again, of those I’ve worked on) are timid in the work they’ll approve. So it's a big part of my job to sell them on ideas. Sometimes it works and that’s awesome, and sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s alright too.
Did you always know you’d go into the agency world?
Absolutely not. Growing up, I always thought I would (somehow) be an artist. I just loved to paint and draw and I wanted to do only that. I took art classes my whole life, and my parents were always very supportive of my art. But at the same time, they made small comments (like I’m sure many do) throughout my life about being a doctor, a lawyer, or a veterinarian. I never had any interest in these professions, but once I got to college, I started to feel like I needed to prove myself and do something "secure." Eventually, I stumbled into an Ad Club meeting at FSU, and the rest is history. I guess it sounds like I took the easy way out or became a sellout or something in terms of being an artist, but I've gained so many skills through art direction and design than I ever would have otherwise. Being an artist helps and influences my job all the time. Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself.
Favorite part about your job?
I am always so grateful to get to work in a creative environment. Essentially, my main role at work is to come up with ideas for brands to show off whatever it is they have or do, and that can be pretty rad. Of course some projects are better than others, but I’ve been able to work on some pretty cool shit so far, and it feels good to be creative and get paid for it.
Least favorite part about your job?
Although my job is creative, I have ideas die left and right. I think it takes a bit of time to get used to that when you’re first starting out. Before now, no one could really ‘kill’ my ideas - they were mine. Obviously the real world doesn’t work that way, but it’s still rough having an idea, feeling really good about it, and then days or weeks (or months!) into the process, having it die. A client nixes it, or it gets chipped away so much from it's original intent that it loses what was special about it to begin with. The absolute worst is when someone else kills your beloved idea, and then months later another brand or agency has executed it. That stings.
What has your current job taught you about your hustle?
I’ve learned a lot about a lot. I think something that school never prepared me for was the hierarchy and politics that exists in agencies (or any company, really.) Being at the lower rungs of that ladder can be tough, and your voice can get lost. Because of this, I’ve learned to speak up for myself, which is known to be a struggle for professional women. I’m still working on this, and I’m sure I’ll always have to.
What types of opportunities/projects do you hope to contribute to?
I care a lot about people and society, and I just want everyone to be treated fairly and equally in all areas of life. So I hope one day to get to work for a client or on a project that truly puts people, especially women and minorities, at the forefront of their work and empowers them. And advertising is a great opportunity to do just that. We can help broaden the perspective of everyday people who see our work.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Work hard, be confident, speak up for yourself and those around you, and do what feels right.