Like many girls, I was way too young when I was exposed to my first sex-advice article. As I sat in my training bra, flipping through the pages of my mother's favorite magazine, I had no idea what to do with the information. Since then, "Tricks to Keep Him Happy in Bed" has been an ever-present theme in my life, finding its way into every show, album or magazine I enjoy. It all seemed like pointless, shallow advice until I landed in creative advertising. What appeared to be advice given solely for the benefit of men was, in fact, cryptic advice for young creative women to survive the biz. Let's look at some of the most popular tips.
Make a lot of noise.
You may have thought this was advice about giving your partner some unearned verbal reassurance, but it's a warning to prepare for the fight. Despite the overwhelming number of talented, creative, innovative women, only 29 percent have made it to the level of creative director. And the ones who reach that level often don't get the credit or paycheck they deserve. We're a long way from equality. If you want it—and of course you always want it—brag about what you're good at, and don't shut up until you get what's fair.
Spice it up.
If you don't stay interesting, they'll leave. Comfort is, well, comfortable, but I don't know any good work that comes from it. Keep up with the trends. It's Snapchat one week, IG stories the next, and then TikTok. Stop pitching the same "content series" you've recycled from the last brief. Give yourself permission to come up with something completely new. Technology is changing every day, and so is the way people use it. Why would you keep the same creative approach?
Bring a friend along for the fun.
To the naked eye, this is some hopeless, sex-starved man making a bid for a threesome. To the next woman leader, it's an invitation to connect with more women. Creating a strong network is key for our growth and sanity. I've been lucky enough to see the benefits firsthand. My creative partner is a badass ACD with over 15 years of experience. She's pushed for me to be on the biggest and best briefs at my agency, and the result is some groundbreaking work for our clients. She's mastered the maze that is the male-dominated advertising industry, and I bring the energy and sass. Together, we're a perfect example of what happens when women support women. But even outside of agency walls, there are connections to be made. The 3% Conference, Free the Bid, Girlsday and Queens Co. are great examples of groups who use community to shift the industry.
Put on a show, and pretend you believe it.
It's a lot easier to sell ideas you're confident in. But let's be honest, we've all walked into rooms with ideas we weren't 100 percent sure about. Our job is to sell. From the first round of creative review to the final client presentation, you'd better make it sound like the best, most innovative idea your agency has ever come up with. Once self-doubt moves over, you'll discover it just might be. Which leads me to my next point.
Fake it if you have to.
There's only one thing you should be faking—confidence. We all struggle with it. After years of being told our ideas aren't good enough, it's to be expected. You might not believe you're worthy. I'm here to tell you: you are. Until you believe it with the confidence of a mediocre white man, you'd better fake it. Because that's the only way to keep growing in this business.
Convincing, right? I started in creative with nothing. No experience. No portfolio. No formal training. Just 18 years of this subliminal messaging. And a little bit of belief in myself. Two years later, I have not only survived in the department, I'm thriving. So, to all my creative sisters, the next time you see a seemingly absurd sex-advice headline screaming from your hairdresser's table, look deeper for its true meaning. I promise there is one.