Cracking Creativity: The Life as a Creative Panel

Daphne Nwobike

Staff Writer

The Sewanee Cosmetics Club (SCC) hosted a panel of speakers to talk about their lives as creatives. This newly formed organization, though dedicated to educating Sewanee students about skincare, has a variety of interests as well. The SCC is eager to reach Sewanee students interested in non-traditional career paths to show them that thriving in those fields is absolutely possible. 

This exhaustive panel comprised various impressive speakers, including Ambur Hill, Carly Giglio, Paul Looney, Juliana daRoza, Bart Schmidt, and Alice Alda. The event started with the panelists introducing themselves and the work they do in their respective fields. Schmidt has worked in the fragrance industry with companies such as Gucci and Tom Ford. “Currently, I help small companies with the development and launch of beauty products,” said Schmidt. 

Though this path differs from how he began his creative career, it still brings Schmidt so much satisfaction in helping new companies reach the next level. Giglio has been in the beauty industry for almost 15 years, and she currently works with a brand as their global makeup artist and lead educator. 

“With my career, I’ve been able to do cool things working with individual clients, working with celebrities, working New York Fashion Week, but really also learning the business I do and understanding it as a whole,” said Giglio.

daRoza, a recent college graduate who studied fashion and has worked with brands like Dior, is passionate about the wedding and bridal industry. “I’m currently the assistant designer at Jenny Yoo, which is a bridal company. I get to sit and design laces all day, which is a dream come true,” said daRoza. 

Looney, who has a background in policy affairs and lobbying in Washington DC, founded J.Paul, a high-end skincare brand for men. As he forayed into this industry, he realized that many of the skills he gained in the political world still served him as he established his business. “It gave me the background in marketing things that I needed to be able to sell my product and to get into big box stores like Macys,” said Looney. 

For Hill, life as a creative is far from traditional. “I was a young mother and picked up some work part-time to get experience in booking talent. That transitioned really nicely to social media and marketing celebrity influencers. This role gives me the satisfaction of being in pop culture and being part of something fast-moving and evolving,” said Hill. 

Mozambican model, Alda, discovered her passion and prowess for modeling in 2021. After participating in Mozambique Fashion Week, she realized her incredible potential to become a model. Now she educates her followers on social media about all there is to know about modeling, the good, bad, and the ugly, all while navigating medical school. 

This panel provided an in-depth look into how individuals can thrive in their chosen industries, no matter their starting point or end goal. Ultimately, life as a creative is unique to everyone and how they explore and express their interests. When asked about the challenges faced on their respective journeys, it was interesting to see how tenacious these panelists were despite either starting late in the industry, trying to create a substantial network, or giving up the comforts of a corporate job. In summary, the panelists believe that if you genuinely want to thrive in the creative field, you should keep pursuing your passions and perfecting your craft. Inevitably, someone will give you a chance to shine. 

Full of life and career experience, the panelists answered questions posed to them with gusto. In addressing a question about things they would’ve done differently, the panelists responded with wise answers, espousing the importance of being patient and confident, accepting and embracing failure, and being comfortable with saying no. Similarly, the speakers emphasized trusting the process and abstaining from comparison, which was a resounding theme among all the panelists. The panel eventually transitioned into a question-and-answer session for attendees. An attendee inquired about the most intriguing things the panelists have learned so far in their careers. Answers ranged from the importance of communication to the necessity of taking time for yourself in order to be fully present and engaged.

The life of a creative is far from being a one-size-fits-all experience. We all have the potential to turn our creative sides into gifts that benefit the world around us. Whether we begin with the creative industry in mind or realize our passion for it much later in life, there is always a seat at the table for those wanting to make their mark in the creative world. There will be challenges and failures, but there will also be successes. 

daRoza said, “Failing is a good thing. It’s hard when you first fail because you’ve been taught not to fail. The first time I really failed, I made sure to get back up—and that’s the biggest lesson.”