Jessie Nagel: Co-Founder, Hype

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My Native Admission Statement: I am the Co-Founder of Hype, a boutique communications agency that provides brand-strategic PR, Marketing & Social Media services to creative companies. I am also one of the original Founders of Women in Animation, and I am a current Board Member of the Association of Independent Creative Producers (AICP), and Chair of the organization’s Care Committee. That’s the career me, anyway.

How did you get into the industry?

I graduated from university with a Film Studies degree, a passion for Cinema, and no sense of where to apply it. My cousin, who is akin to an older brother, owned an Editing Company in Los Angeles and he invited me to move from San Francisco to become his Assistant. It was a real-world graduate studies program in Advertising and Commercial Production, and eventually led to some writing opportunities for a small PR agency. In writing about creative process, I found a through-line from my studies and the path to my career.

Any emerging industry trends?

There has been an increase in brands aligning with causes, presenting ethos and product side by side. When done hallowly, it shows; however, when the narrative rings true and is presented astutely it carries great power. These are incredible storytelling opportunities for our clients.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Many people have become accustomed to free or inexpensive things -- entertainment and creative services being just two examples that affect us directly. It makes it increasingly difficult for the creative class to thrive. Like fast fashion or hasty tweets, we run the risk of becoming a throw away culture -- and that’s harmful to people’s livelihoods and our environment. We need to be adaptable in a way that enhances and bolsters, in that mindset there is opportunity.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I was raised by feminist parents and have always had a slight anti-authoritarian streak, something I believe many entrepreneurs possess. So after years of working for others, it felt like the natural next step to launch my own company. I met my business partner, a Magazine Editor and Journalist, and she and I hatched the plan for Hype. It would be an independent voice for creative companies, a sassy, boutique communications agency with a “be it and we will promote it” ethos. The name Hype was a cheeky response to the perception many people have of PR.

What are my aspirations?

To help make the world a better place and to raise my daughter as a happy, healthy, independent person. I also strive to lead Hype into its future, and to one day have a show of my paintings. Those are just a few of the many things to which I aspire.

My Motto?

I vacillate between “Proudly Weird” and “Kindness Matters.”

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My earliest and most profound role models were and are my parents. They encouraged me to be inquisitive, inspired my love of travel and food, and showed me that it is always worth standing up for people and causes you believe in. My mother, perennially creative, reinvented herself in her 40s to become an Editor, showing me that you can always try new things or change direction. My father instilled an early love of film -- we’d watch and deconstruct them in discussions that would invariably include the larger themes touched upon within the celluloid frames. I am lucky to have a wonderful family and great friends. They keep me looking up at the stars.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

My favorite destinations are wherever I am going next -- the promise of discovery and upcoming adventure.

My Current Passions?

Painting is my enduring passion and lifelong companion. My teen daughter is an inspiration.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

As someone raised in Vancouver B.C. and who has lived in Los Angeles for many years, I struggle to know which is, indeed, my city. So in fairness to two magnificent and complicated places, I’d offer a few things I love about each:

You can never say you are bored in Los Angeles. There’s not enough time to experience it all, which I find exhilarating. I believe there’s something for everyone here; the trick is scratching beneath the surface to discover what version of Los Angeles best suits you. Los Angeles doesn’t reveal itself immediately because it is really many places and ideas and identities stitched together. It is known for being shallow. Only if you skim the surface.

Vancouver is glass towers against mountains, and tall trees dotting along the shoreline. It is a magical place to be in the summer when the sun fades late in the evening stretching the days into opportunities for many adventures. It’s a large city by Canadian standards, but where you easily run into friends. It’s cosmopolitan and neighborly at once.

Most used Apps: Most used Apps are: Podcast, Transit (works in cities around the world), and Instagram (@hypegirl is my personal, @hypeworld is Hype). I also love Chatbooks - a photo book creating App that I use after each vacation so that I have a hard copy collection of the images.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a book. Otherwise, I am too much of a control freak to enjoy getting lost. However, if someone wants to lead the way on a hike or exploring a new place -- then I relish the opportunity to wander without knowing each next step.

My Pic of the Day: I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This photo of me, taken by my dear friend Carmela at Zion National Park (a remarkable destination to be sure), represents that notion well. On life’s long path we can appreciate what is before us, the adventures we experience, all the while knowing who has our back along the way. And no, I don’t want to get lost.

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