Interview by Visual Collaborative
September 2019 6 min read
Los Angeles based Michel Rothschild is a Creative Director at Dieste, Inc. His contributions to mass-media span several decades, that includes time well spent on the advertising scene in New York City. As a feature in our “Supernova” interview series, Rothschild talks to us about his present work, observations on a new crop of creative talent in the creative sector and his Mexican heritage.
(VC) Outside all your accomplishments and an impressive body of creative direction and advertising work. Who is Michel Rothschild?
(Michel) I would say that has changed throughout the years. I mean, it started by wanting to be a designer, overcoming some hurdle and then wanting to move countries, more hurdles, then wanting to break into advertising, more hurdles. Each milestone was conquered through some passion and hunger and once conquered they take a different meaning. So today, as a creative I have enough knowledge of a lot of things to get me into trouble and know that nowadays almost everything and anything is possible with the right partners. Collaboration means everything. I have the passion, energy, and drive but also the experience to guide, mentor and listen and learn from others. As a person wanting to be a better human being, one that in the end gives back more than what I take. Also, always trying to keep the dreamer in me alive, always having a goal to pursue, something to check off or adding something to the “I’ve done” is definite.
(VC) You have spent quite some time in the melting pot of New York City which has its own culture and Avant-Garde attitude. Do you express some of this in your social interactions in Los Angeles?
(Michel) I don’t know exactly how to answer that. I can tell you I have lived in Mexico City, Dallas, New York City, Chicago and now Los Angeles, and each one has taught me something different and unique. Now, in particular, what New York has given me, is the hustle and pursuit of craftsmanship to do what I love and do it the best way possible. Another thing NY taught me is, you can’t go at it alone and that collaboration is on the center of success. In NY you meet so many super talented and hungry people that quickly lets you see how your great idea was, just a simple good idea with potential; and the magic of the place gives you access to the people that will help you unlock that potential.
Photo courtesy of Michel Rothschild
I see a fire in younger generations that is different. I see a passion with a vision and purpose. They are redefining our world, how we travel, eat, sleep, work and commute.
(VC) Observing the rising despondency of political movements in parts of the United States, as a leader in design are you more critical about your own career or more optimistic given the trajectory of the present times?
(Michel) I feel optimistic with a tad of sarcastic realism. I think, the older I am getting the more aware of my surroundings, how they affect me and the people around me, so that part has me a tad more worried. But these are exciting times too. I see a fire in younger generations that is different. I see a passion with a vision and purpose. They are redefining our world, how we travel, eat, sleep, work and commute. They are disrupting how we live. And that is pretty exciting.
(VC) As Mexican American, how much of your heritage influences the way you work and connect with your community? Tell us about your present work.
(Michel) Interesting enough before I became an American Citizen 6 years ago, I only identified myself as Mexican. Today I do identify as both even though I would say mostly Mexican. My multiculturalism definitely gives me a unique way of connecting with my community, especially in the U.S. where Hispanics are the largest minority and growing at a very rapid pace. But I think that beyond geographical and language differences, I think that your experience within those environments is what makes us all unique and different. Mine has given me a broad sense of reality and an embracing attitude towards things. I have been part of a majority, I have lived as part of a minority, as a foreigner and as a native. I am super grateful for all these experiences that have made me who I am today. As for my work, currently, I work at DIESTE, part of the Omnicom Group, and I help lead the DirecTV and AT&T accounts in the U.S. for the Hispanic Market targeting the traditional Hispanic consumer and the new ever-growing market of ambi-cultural youth. We work on full 360 campaigns with social, digital, experiential and traditional media components as well as trying to always push innovative ideas that expand their business opportunities.
(VC) At this stage of your career considering your present commitments, if you could work alongside any notable personality or creative enterprise. Who would it be and why?
(Michel) I would love to work for a nonprofit or institution with a purpose and not a bottom line, for example for someone like Chef José Andrés. I want to be able to work for someone or someplace that deals directly with some of the causes or issues I believe in like gun control, humane treatment of animals and emergency relief and hunger.
Music is super important in my life, it really helps me focus, find rhythm and more importantly find pace. It’s almost as my thoughts, feelings and heart beat start falling in sync to a single beat
(VC) In your quiet or noisy moments how does Michel get inspired. What ultimately motivates you to work the way you do. Are you religious or in a state of wit and will with life?
(Michel) There are several things that help me get inspired. The top three are going for a run in the morning to clear my head; I concept, plan and organize my life when I run. The feeling of pushing myself to a limit always helps me clear and settle my mind. Driving has always relaxed me and helped concentrate and focus, though now living in LA, this one is getting a little difficult to practice. And lastly music. Music is super important in my life, it really helps me focus, find a rhythm and more importantly find the pace. It’s almost as my thoughts, feelings and heartbeat start falling in sync to a single beat. In the second part of your question, I don’t consider myself religious at all at this point in my life, but I would say I am definitely spiritual. I think spirituality brings us together while religion a lot of times pulls us apart.
Photo courtesy of Michel Rothschild
(VC) What can the world expect from Michel within the next 5 years?
(Michel) That is a big heavy sounding question. I guess to keep doing what I do, having fun with it and helping grow as many young creative minds as I can while still learning from them how to stay young mentally and to always be curious, be bold and question methods and systems to keep on disrupting. And last but not least hopefully opening a small music venue, a dining or drinking hall so people can come in and hang out with cool music while enjoying some of my tacos, cold beers and listening to me rant from behind the bar.