So I carried on with my A-levels. But I was still interested in advertising, so I got out the Manchester Yellow Pages, and went into the first agency I found, called ADS. I said that I was interested in advertising and wanted to know what it was about - and they let me go in two days a week, unpaid.
After six months there I decided I really didn't want to go back and do the four-year course. It was a tiny agency, but I thought it was really glamorous. And I'd been spoilt, working with great copywriters and art directors - and I'd got to do a few press ads. Every day, I didn't quite know what I was going to be doing, and I liked the feeling.
But after a year and a half, feeling impatient, I ran away to London. I'd been down for the weekend to see some friends, and saw a job with a design company called the Graphics Factory advertised. And they offered me so much money - considering I was quite young and naive - that I thought I had to move. I went on to do various other jobs in design, and was also illustrating for magazines; later, I got an agent and got some commissions from Japan.
Then I went to do a talk on illustration at the Portfolio Centre in Atlanta - a school for art directors and copywriters - and met a guy who told me about a course for art directors and copywriters in London. I thought that was exactly what I needed. Although I was making a lot of money in design, I knew it really wasn't for me; I loved ideas, and I loved TV. So when I got back, I resigned from my job and enrolled in this course, at the School of Art Communication. We'd have people like John Hegarty coming in to do talks, and I got a portfolio together. The course lasted just over a year, and after that I did some freelance work for CDP, before being offered a job in 1994 as an art director at Simons Palmer.
Because it was a smallish agency there wasn't much of a hierarchy, and so I got as many opportunities as the next person. Simons Palmer had the Nike account, and I won my first award for a Nike poster featuring Pete Sampras in my first year. I was also voted best newcomer by the Creative Circle. (I'm not really into awards - saying one ad is better than another - but they definitely do increase your value financially.)
I was very happy at Simons Palmer, but then the creative directors were fired, and I decided not to stay and wait to see who was going to take over. The only other places I wanted to work were Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Leagas Delaney, and I ended up going to BBH, as a senior art director. I worked on campaigns for Levi's, Boddingtons, NatWest, Coca-Cola, Hugo Boss, Polaroid ("Live for the Moment") and Lynx - pretty much everything - and, two years ago, I won my first design and art direction award for a Levi's print ad.
Six months ago, I came to Leagas Delaney as head of art and joint deputy creative director with my partner, Mark Goodwin. In that time we've been working on campaigns for Adidas, Harrods and the BBC - the "Perfect Day" film - and are about to launch work for BBC Digital.
It's a great job. I get questions like: "Who do you want in your new TV commercial?", and I can say "Harvey Keitel - somebody ring him up and ask him." I can say I want use Herb Ritts, or have Jamiroquai do the music for the next Adidas commercial. And doing TV is quite glamorous, in the sense that it's for a mass audience. It's quite nice when my niece says she's seen an ad on the TV she likes, and I can say: "I did that."
There aren't many women in this industry, I know, but I hate being singled out as a woman in advertising. To me, it's about the work. I don't want to be the best woman; I want to be the best. I'm ambitious, and I'd like to be running my own agency in the not-too-distant future. I don't quite know what I'll be doing in a couple of years' time, but I can't see myself doing anything else than advertising.Reuse content