2 Minutes With ... Kirsten Lepore, Director and Animator at Prettybird

Her inspirations, from Jim Henson to Pippi Longstocking

Photo illustration: Ashley Epping

Prettybird director and animator Kirsten Lepore had a huge hit with "Hi Stranger," a stop-motion cartoon of a soft-speaking naked man who has pillow talk with the viewer. It garnered upwards of 200 million views online. She also worked on "Bad Jubies" (below), the first stop-motion episode of Adventure Time, which won Emmy and Annie awards. 

In her commercial work, she has worked with clients such as Google, MTV, Facebook, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Whole Foods, Nestlé and many more. 

She is currently animation directing an indie feature film, and is a 2019 Clio Awards juror for Film Technique: Animation & Visual Effects. 

We spent two minutes with Lepore to learn about her background, her creative tastes and the work she's loved the most recently. 

Kirsten, tell us ... 

The town where you were born. 

Englewood, New Jersey.

What you wanted to be when you grew up. 

A "movie-magic" (aka practical/makeup FX) artist. 

How you discovered you were creative. 

Have been drawing since I could hold a pencil! 

A person you idolized creatively growing up. 

Jim Henson. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life. 

I pirated a copy of Flash and taught myself how to animate. This set me on the path to becoming an animation director. 

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today. 

Besides local ska shows in high school, my first real concert was Incubus at Madison Square Garden. Favorite musician today is probably James Blake, but Aphex Twin and The Knife are my enduring longtime favs!

Your favorite artist. 

Too many to name—at the moment, my favorite illustrator is Sarah Illenberger.

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction.

Pippi Longstocking.

The best book you've read lately. 

The First Bad Man by Miranda July.

Your favorite movie. 

Return of the Jedi.

Your favorite Instagram follow. 

@chillwildlife or @lili_hayes.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why. 

In terms of personal projects, "Hi Stranger" was my favorite since it was relatively quick to make and felt the most "me."

Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why. 

The Skippy Stunt Nut spots, because I loved the concepts from the agency [BBDO]. They were super fun. 

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago. 

First thing that comes to mind is Johnny Kelly's "The Seed." It was one of the first, really gorgeous paper craft stop-mo pieces I'd ever seen. 

Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately. 

Mikey Please and Dan Ojari's ad for The Great British Bake Off. It's brilliant and so technically impressive. 

Your main strength as a creative person. 

Weirdness. 

Your weakness or blind spot. 

Not asking for help. 

One thing that always makes you happy. 

Prosciutto and a baguette. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

When my baby cries. :(

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Might have been a surgeon or a farmer.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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