Q&A with Senior Creative at YRS TRULY, Ella Hagi

 

Ella Hagi is the Senior Creative at YRS TRULY, a data-driven creative studio run by women.

Her background is as DIY as it gets: her media degree saw her start as an all-purpose creative who cut her teeth in fashion, hospitality and music. 

She’s worn the hats of a photographer, graphic designer, blogger, music programmer and much more. Now, she occupies the space somewhere between a copywriter and an art director where she strives to create social content with community and purpose at its heart.

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What does your work involve?

My work can be anything from working alongside the agency CD to flesh out ideas and write scripts to producing videos, casting people, finding photographers, art directing illustrators and animators. There’s a lot of variety. In a nutshell, it’s about making good content.

What do you love most about your job?

Honestly, the people. I love that I get to constantly come up with ideas and do cool things, or that it’s really flexible and allows my life to revolve around ~me~ but it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t work with great people. I feel respected, valued and supported. I’m like, wow, is this it, is this my life? It’s the best. We’re also pretty aligned when it comes to political views and moral stances, which makes everything easier. Our work is super data-driven, and data sometimes overrides our personal tastes (in that I might be a big fan of this or that, but if I know the audience will react better to something else, we’ll go with that something else). But, I have never ever had to sacrifice my morals to do my work. I think that makes me very lucky.

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I have never ever had to sacrifice my morals to do my work. I think that makes me very lucky.
— Ella Hagi

What's been your biggest achievement so far?

Not gonna lie, I wish I could say something like ‘oh it’s being on a 30 under 30 list’ but it’s not. At the risk of sounding well cheesy, it’s that I love my life. My definition of success isn’t a list of achievements I need to tick off. Success now looks like balance. I get paid to do something I love but I can also do other things? Because I have time? Crazy concept. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if Forbes rang me up right now but it’s not exactly realistic and I’m down with it.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to up their social media game and online content?

Controversial for someone who literally creates social media content but don’t get too caught up in it. I think it’s super important to separate yourself from it a little bit: you are not your business, and your worth is not linked to your Insta engagement. From a marketing perspective, know your audience. With personal pages, I’m all about not giving an F about what people want to see and posting what feels true to you. Obviously as a brand, everything also needs to feel authentic, but it’s less about what you want and more about your audience.

What can we expect from your involvement in the 2019/20 Collective?

I think I’ll be the Agony Aunt. I’ve felt all the stress, anxiety and imposter syndrome in the world, had many meltdowns and sometimes still feel naff about things. But I’ve come to develop a pretty pragmatic approach to problem-solving and I have no time for bullshit. I have my mum, boss, therapist and growing up to thank for this, but either way, I think I’m a decent person to come to when approaching a meltdown.

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At the risk of sounding well cheesy, I love my life. My definition of success isn’t a list of achievements I need to tick off. Success now looks like balance. I get paid to do something I love.
— Ella

What advice would you give someone who is feeling overwhelmed with the freelance life?

Take a step back. Too stressed to take a step back? Just ask yourself what’s the absolute worst that could happen if you did. I know it might feel like the world will end if you leave the room but it probably won’t. I’m not telling you to *calm down* as that’s not exactly helpful, but take a breath and put things into perspective. I think stress can very often be a symptom of almost like communication breakdown with ourselves, so fix that. Make an actual to do list. I’m talking a good old-fashioned written list that you can have in front of your eyeballs, not something you have in your mind that you could stress about more. Cross off everything that’s not a priority and make a timeline for those that are. Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, water and exercise. It makes a difference.


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Ella is one of our brilliant mentors in this year’s Collective