Julia Machado | Next Creative Leaders

By Laurel Stark Akman on Feb 15, 2024

Now in its ninth year, Next Creative Leaders is growing, expanding, and showing the world what advertising and design can be when you lift up every voice on your creative team. In the future, Next Creative Leaders hopes to continue to uplift women, trans, non-binary and gender expansive creatives as well as focus on growing the diversity of voices we honor. Below, co-founder, Laurel Stark, introduces some of the Next Creative Leaders to keep an eye on. 

Julia Machado
Senior Copywriter, Ogilvy Germany




Berlin, Germany


São Paulo, Brazil.




What is your “breaking into advertising” story?

To be honest, I don’t remember ever not wanting to work in advertising. I’ve always been drawn to all things creative and writing has always been one of my greatest passions. So I guess that when you try to mix writing and creativity together, you become a copywriter. Also, the thought of getting paid to think of ideas has always sounded like a lot of fun. So I got an advertising degree and was very lucky to find an internship at Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo.


How did your upbringing, family, or culture shape you as a creative?

I definitely got it from my mom. She’s a graphic designer who has always been very into art, music, traveling, and film. So, I was very lucky to grow up in an environment where I was always encouraged to develop different skills and look at the world with curiosity. As I was growing up, she made me try pretty much everything: from gymnastics to football to dance to theater. I guess all of those different experiences shaped me as a creative person. And I must say that being Brazilian and growing up in a place with so much culture also adds a lot.


What’s the piece of NCL winning work you’re most proud of and why?

You Are Not Alone for the Avon Institute is definitely the work that I’m most proud of. This project was a significant turning point for me, both professional and personally. Writing seven dense and powerful long copies by myself, and winning my first lion, made me really proud. It made me recognize the impact our creative work can have on society, sparking important discussion, such as domestic violence. I guess it gave me hope, and hopefully, it also gave hope to those who were impacted by it.

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Who would you thank in your Next Creative Leaders acceptance speech?

My therapist.


Before you worked in advertising, you worked at Walt Disney World. What has that experience brought to your creative career?

I worked at Walt Disney World for a few months during college, as a doorwoman at one of the parks. It was a crazy-fun experience with long working hours and a lot of beer-pong. But most of all, it taught me a lot about resilience, collaborating with people from different cultural backgrounds and it showed me that even the most magical place in the world relies on a collective effort and people’s commitment to work. Just like advertising.


What is your secret creative super power and how do you flex it?

Being stubborn. I always believe that there’s a way to crack an idea, and I’m not afraid to fight until the end. If the solution is still not there, it just means that we have to keep trying.


What type of story do you feel born to tell?

I’m drawn to stories that haven’t yet been told, particularly those about people who have yet to find true representation in mainstream media. The kind of stories that might unsettle clients and make other creatives a bit envious. I think there are so many crucial discussions that society is yet to engage in – stories that demand to be told, stories that bridge the gaps in representation, and stories that amplify voices often unheard. For me, those are the stories worth telling.


"I’m drawn to stories that haven’t yet been told, particularly those about people who have yet to find true representation in mainstream media. The kind of stories that might unsettle clients and make other creatives a bit envious."


What is the ad industry’s biggest challenge and how would you fix it?

I think we have a couple of big challenges ahead. First, there's not enough female leaders – we need to close the gap between women entering the ad industry and landing leadership roles, giving them the same shot as men. Second, there's a lack of black and LGBTQIAP+ representation. We've got to kickstart initiatives to bring these groups in from the start, offering training and support so they can become the leaders of tomorrow. It's time for the ad industry to step up, be more inclusive, and let diverse voices shine.


Who is inspiring you right now and why?

Carla Madeira, a Brazilian writer who is a genius of storytelling. Miley Cyrus, just because. And Ariane Polvani, Gabi Marcatto, and Leticia Tercini, three incredible creatives – who happen to be close friends – who are always inspiring and encouraging me to be a better professional and to believe in myself and my worth.


How are you leaving the work and the workplace better than you found it?

I’m determined to be the leader that many of us didn’t have – to learn as much as I hope to teach and to make sure that every single voice is welcomed and won’t be considered too loud. I think that if we're committed to being empathic and to creating a safe environment where everyone can have fun, we’ll build a better workplace for everyone. Besides, I recycle. 






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