Next Creative Leaders 2021:
Julia Mota

By Laurel Stark Posted on Nov 02, 2021

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She / Her / Hers

Hometown and country:

Guaratinguetá, São Paulo, Brazil.

Current employer, city and role:

GUT SP, São Paulo, Associate Creative Director


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

I was born in a fervent catholic country town where the first Brazilian-born saint comes from. Then, I moved to a coastal city in the Northeast where the majority of Brazilian humorists were born. Imagine being raised up with those extremely opposite backgrounds. I could have been traumatized, but I decided to become a creative. Well, maybe it’s both.


What’s your “breaking into advertising” story?

I've always loved advertising, but advertising has taken too long to love me back. So, I started as an intern at a small design office and then I moved to a branded content agency. Almost 4 years later, I saved money to afford a portfolio course that put me in touch with creatives from big agencies. One of them asked me to write 100 different headlines for 10 different clients as a side hustle to improve my portfolio - yes, it's 1000 in all, you counted it right. So, I did what any desperate person would do and I took that chance. Because of the work I've done, I got a recommendation and I started as a junior copywriter at Africa DDB.


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

I am very proud of the Volvo Competitors Sale campaign. As a creative woman, I was always allocated to work only with "female brands" which also meant, at the time, brands that hadn't explored creativity as I would like. But the first time I was given the opportunity to work on a car brand, guess what? Me and my partner came up with this idea which ended up being the most awarded project at the agency that year.


What’s the lesson another creative can take away from that successful creative experience?

The most important lesson is don't let the industry keep you stuck in its old stereotypes. Creatives are naturally nonconforming people, but if you're a creative woman you must be the most nonconformist of all. So, don't be afraid to raise your voice and fight back until you find your own space. If it worked for me, it will work for you too.


What does being named a Next Creative Leader mean to you?

It means so much to me that I couldn't help myself crying when I told my parents. It's cheesy, but it's true. This award is an amazing validation for all the work I've been doing so far. For many years, I felt wrong because I didn't fit in the advertising industry as it used to be when I started. Now I'm sure that I've always been on the right track and there is nothing wrong with people like me.


Who has most influenced you in your career so far?

I've been lucky to be close to a lot of talented people who inspired me to be as good as they were. But, there are two names who always inspired me. First, Bruno Brux who is one of the most resilient and talented creatives that I've known. He supported me since the very beginning of my career when neither I could realize how talented I was. And also, Renata Reigota who is one of the first powerful female figures I've worked with. Even though she's not a creative, her leadership - running a lot of male creative teams - made me believe that, one day, I could manage other creative teams with no fear as she had done.


What is your secret (or not-so-secret) creative superpower and how do you flex it?

Determination. I believe that I can always get what I want no matter how hard I need to work for it and how many people I need to convince about my ideas. I know sometimes I could be a little bit annoying because of it, but sorry, I won't be sorry.


What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the creative industry right now and how would you solve it?

There's a very good movement from the agencies of trying to hire diverse talents. But they are focused on the lower part of the pyramid. Feels like the top still isn't comfortable sharing the spotlight with all kinds of talents. I think agency leadership needs to prepare themselves to share their stage with diverse people from all walks of life.


How has the pandemic changed your creative process or the way you work?

Working remotely allows me to brainstorm alone, out loud, anywhere. Even on the street...why not? Nobody can judge me because I'm always wearing my mask.


Our jobs can be exhausting even in “precedented times.” How are you caring for yourself right now?

I've started doing absolutely nothing at least one hour per day and I'm sure it's more important for mental health than a skincare routine, but no influencer talks about it. Follow me on instagram for more tips like that. Just kidding.


How are you working to celebrate, support, or elevate other marginalized voices and experiences?

I truly believe that ideas change society. It can motivate someone to transform their own lives. The ideas just have to touch their hearts in a way. That's what I look for when I am creating something new: coming up with deeply true stories to help minority groups to feel included and better represented in the culture.


Creativity can save the world. What real-world problem would you want to tackle with creativity, if time, budget, and logistics were not an issue?

If I could destroy anything harmful from the world with one single creative idea, I would choose the white male ego.


Where do you turn when you need to spark your creativity?

I know it's a kind of creative cliché, but after researching some insights I like to take a bath to spark my creativity about that. But since we need to be concerned about saving water, I've started to change long term baths for quick naps.


How are you leaving work, the workplace, or the world a better place than you found it?

I'm determined to be the leader I never had. That's why I'm always supporting, mentoring, advising and sharing everything that I've learned with new diverse talents. I hope they feel more welcomed and accepted by those kinds of attitudes.


What is a story you feel uniquely set up to tell?

I'm proud to have always been an open-minded person and it brought me closer to people who are so different than me. Empathy is now the buzzword, but it's always been my way of living life. That's why I feel uniquely called to tell stories that turn minority and marginalized groups into the protagonists.


Who is inspiring you right now and why?

I've always been inspired by pop culture figures, from the most awarded actress or singer in the world to the most secondhand embarrassment participant of reality shows. Nothing is more inspiring to me than completely different people's behavior.


If you could go back in time, what pivotal advice would you give yourself before your first day as a professional creative?

Be more gentle with you. Stop searching for what is wrong with you. Be more confident in what you believe. Just say it. Put it out there. You won’t feel dumb for speaking. But you will feel dumb when another person gets praised for saying what you were thinking and chose not to say.

You will feel alone at the beginning. Excluded. Be kind talking to yourself on the way home. It's not your fault. They are not ready for this talk. Pay attention to the game. It's not just about having ideas. So, don't be so hard on your creative ability.

For some reason, you will take the hard road. You'll watch others thrive before you will. You deserve it as much as they do. Be patient. Your moment will take longer, but it will arrive.


Be sure to check out all the winning work for the Next Creative Leaders of 2021!



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