Portrait of Marly Pierre-Louis

Fake it until you feel it: Marly Pierre-Louis on Solange and believing in yourself.

We sat down with Brooklynite Marly Pierre-Louis in Amsterdam to talk about how she navigates creative block, the power of believing in yourself and why she rarely likes a brand's tone of voice.

“The trick is making sure that the persona overlaps or vibes with the brand’s overarching tone of voice.”

Portrait of Marly Pierre-Louis

Do you remember your first creative concept?


When I was about five or six I actually wrote a book that ended up being put into the Brooklyn Public Library, and it was called “My School”. So I think that was my first creative concept.


How did you go about getting your first job as a creative


This is actually my first job as a creative and I didn't take no for an answer. I did my research and investigated the place that I wanted to work at and approached them and told them “You need me”. My advice to everyone is fake it till you feel it — you're more creative than you give yourself credit for.


How do you deal with creative blocks?


When I have a creative block, my first reaction is usually panic first, read books second. I go to my library, see what books are there and start reading in the hope that some will juggle some ideas.


What about your creative process? What is it?


I like to just sit with the question or the problem — do a kind of brain dump and just take everything out of my head that might be associated with the idea. I then go and seek references that will help me — so usually books and text, but also videos, my Instagram, my visual library — and I then start compiling ideas, taking notes, and building up the concept from there.


What do you hope to achieve in the coming years?


I want to create an artist’s retreat specifically for black women and queers and tap into imagination and creativity as a source of inspiration but also as a form of liberation. 


And which brand tone of voice Do you most admire?


I actually don't like many brands’ tones of voice. I find them really boring. My references often come from music and pop culture — I really love everything that Solange does for example, she has a very clear creative point of view.


Whatever she crafts, whether that be music or one of her many other outlets, it always feels really intimate and connected and definitely not like she is trying to sell something.


Is there a process you go through to adapt to a specific tone of voice?


I like to have a persona. So when there's a brief about a certain tone of voice, if I haven’t been given a particular guide I’d come up with a persona of sorts — usually from pop culture and from somebody who has a lot of content out there. 


Next I'll just start listening to the videos, listening to how that person sounds and start to craft an identity around that voice.


The trick is making sure that the persona overlaps or vibes with the brand’s overarching tone of voice  and creating that synergy between that new voice and the brand's identity.

Portrait of Marly Pierre-Louis

How do you know when the concept is right?


Honestly, for me, it's just a feeling. I do a lot by my intuition, my gut, my emotions, and how excited I am by something. If I'm not feeling it, I'll usually have a feeling in my stomach. But I also do a lot in the community so I like to go to other people to listen to them, bounce ideas off of one another and see if they’re feeling it too.


Where do you usually find your creative inspirations?


I've started realising getting a lot of inspiration is really important to me. The world is so chaotic and stressful and I think it is really easy to feel bogged down by it — which really affects the output creatively. So I try to go to museums, listen to music, look at art and just make sure that my creative well is getting filled up as much as possible.


How important is it for you to have creative side projects as well as the day job?


I'm notorious for creative side projects — in the sense I always have too many. So to me creative side projects are extremely important as it’s how I formed as a creative person myself — and it gives me a variety of collaborators and budgets and different mediums to work with. They help keep you fresh and let you hone different kinds of crafts — versus just doing something that's for work and always working in the same medium.


Do you ever struggle to keep your ego in check?


It’s the opposite for me! I’m a long-term sufferer of imposter syndrome. So it's about having a balance between just wanting to do good work and feeling confident, and always working with the community in mind so that it's not about me.


What advice would you give to future creatives who are just starting their career?


Follow your passions. Follow who you are and focus on what makes you uniquely you. This is your creative advantage, and it’s underrated. Think about your family, where you came from and how you live your life — to me that's creative thinking.


If we start to understand ourselves in that way — as creative beings — and viewing creativity as an expression of who we are and where we come from, then we can start seeing creativity in more places and more possibilities. 


Thanks Marly!




Marly Pierre-Louis

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