2021 Next Creative Leaders Jury

Anyaa Dev

Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Art Director

I was born an odd shade of beetroot red in New Delhi. Between my howling and screaming and the storm brewing outside, it seemed as though the skies were crying and the thunder was coming from inside me. Symbolic of the feisty, human I was destined to grow into. I finally developed fingernails and learned to draw all over my parents' chalky white walls. And to my delight, they kept my drawings and called them ‘actually kind of cool’. That was my first piece of art direction and they were my first clients.

17 years later, my skin tone normalised and I moved to London to learn stuff at Central Saint Martins, with all the world's weirdest people, I finally fit in. I had a wild 4 years. I knew I wanted more from my life than moving back, getting married, getting pregnant and dying. So I worked really hard. While in my last year at uni, I started a placement at Anomaly which eventually turned into a job. I loved my time there and got to learn the ropes from some of the most incredible women whom I still admire today. I worked on amazing brands like Stella Mccartney, Elle Magazine, Trainline, Gordons gin. Anomaly decided to Sponsor me! Finally all the hard work paid off.

Just as my final visa was due to come through my paperwork to stay in the country was incorrect and I had to move back to India overnight. I was devastated. I could see my future flash before my eyes. Moving back, getting married, getting pregnant and dying. Everything I had worked so hard to avoid was running towards me. I wasnt going to let this nightmare become my reality. As soon as I moved back to Delhi, I interviewed at WK and was hired by Susan Hoffman, whom I googled after the meeting and peed myself a little.

I was hired to work on my dream brief - Nike India Women. I was 21 and really was thrown into the deep end. So I learned what a deck was and googled “moodboards” and managed to make a film called DaDaDing, under the invaluable mentorship of Susan. We won a few awards.

After working on Nike, Royal Enfield and Make In India, I started getting the itch to dump my boyfriend and move to a new country. So I came to WK Amsterdam, where I live now. I have been here for 3 years and found myself here. I work with the most incredible humans on brands like Nike, Corona, Zalando, Airbnb, Facebook, Samsung and many more.

Being a woman of colour navigating my way through white male waters, I have been extremely aware of who I am and what it means to have privilege in this world. I am more passionate in the activism involved in uplifting marginalised communities than absolutely anything else.

When the world gets heavy, I make art. I paint beautiful women of colour, thriving. I also make digital art and have created pieces for magazines, events, techno concerts and for myself. I even paint murals. So I guess a lot has happened, but I’m out here still drawing on walls.




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