a small agency that was eventually bought by Lowe & Partners. There, I probably didn’t learn much about copywriting (although I won the first award ever for Procter & Gamble Venezuela, as the Best Promotion of the Year!) I learned instead how to come up quickly with creative solutions, including building a kind of a bathroom background at 2:00 am to shoot a pack shot, just because the producer forgot to add it to the budget!!!!

Then there was Leo Burnett, my real-life advertising school. Working for the company for 5 years in Venezuela and 2 years in Chicago was a nonstop whirlwind of life lessons: working like heck, loving what you do, never underestimating your hunches, always thinking of a much better idea that must be ready before deadline, planning the sale when you plan the ad, it doesn’t matter whose idea it is, the client always knows what they don’t want but it’s our job to guess what they really want, and so on…

If you cut my veins, you’ll find red apples instead of blood!

But in the mid time, my personal life expanded from being the daughter of… to being the wife of… and finally to being the mother of… Guillermo! Oh yes, I went through the whole process of choosing diapers, bottles, and strollers; dealing with what seemed like

hundreds of formula and baby food brands; and, of course, fretting that I was overstimulating my son with all the toys and gadgets I could get my hands on. And how can I forget the potty training, and the terrible 2s, and the questions: “Mom, how do I know if I’m speaking English or Spanish?” “Can I change my name because nobody can pronounce Guillermo?” “Yes mom I love your food but can’t I eat pizza, hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like the other kids?” In the blink of an eye I felt I was living my previous life all over again, saying those horrible words I heard from my mom: “wake up,” “you’re late,” “look how black your white socks are,” “you forgot your homework again,” “watch your manners at the table,” and on and on. Same story, different background.

In every focus group I’ve been in, I realized that this is not just my story but the story of thousands and thousands of families that move to the US with a Hispanic heritage.

What else can I tell you about Moi? Well I danced for almost 17 years, I love to cook, I would kill for a good glass of wine, I have a little collection of art (nothing fancy but a wonderful selection of young Latino American artists), I love to read, and of course I laugh a lot…

… and after all those years of thinking I was ugly, it turned out I wasn’t… it was a matter of advertising!