#WFH Diaries: Freelance Creative Mario Anchorena
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend life across the globe, we're checking in with creatives to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Mario Anchorena.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
I'm Mario, a Peruvian creative living in Europe. I am the worst at planning life, but I like it that way. After moving around for work and studies in Latin America, I made the jump to the U.K. to work for McCann London for some years, and after that as a freelance creative lead. My wife and I recently moved to Milan, mainly to keep experiencing different cultures and keep working at great advertising shops. She is now a group account director at Publicis Milan.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
In Milan right now with my wife.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
I left McCann London a year ago and I've been freelancing ever since. Luckily, I have had projects that take me around Europe and to all kinds of agencies, big ones like AKQA and small independents. I even had some gigs with tech startups and one you might be familiar with—Google, I think it's called. Trust me, they are gonna be big.
Describe your socializing strategy.
I call my family once a week, two calls on Saturday and two on Sunday. I talk to my neighbors in the building when I go to the patio once a day to sit in the sun and read for about an hour.
What are you reading?
I try to read two books at a time, one fiction one non-fiction. At the moment I'm reading Sapiens (seemed somewhat appropriate) and a lovely Italian author by the name of Alessandro Baricco.
What are you watching?
All the TV shows are coming back, aren't they? From my previous years living in London, I've become a Phoebe Waller-Bridge fan, so Killing Eve Season 3 and now Run. I am impatiently waiting on Billions and Succession. But I am trying to detox from TV series and go back to movies. Again, one "serious" one and another one just to laugh. It's all about balance.
What are you listening to?
I enjoy all kinds of music because it is dependent on what I'm up to when I listen to it, like reading or writing, or working. Being an ad nerd, I am a serious podcast listener, mostly about advertising. IOFA (Aaron Starkman from Rethink), Talking to Ourselves (Omid Farhang from Momentum), Bag of Lies is a good one, Yeah That's Probably an Ad, Ad Lib…
How are you staying fit?
I am doing more yoga than ever before, which is not saying much because I used to go to a studio once a month, maybe? But now I try to do it every other day and it is quite physically challenging. Also, there are a lot of apps like Centr (yeah, the Thor app—who knew he was in such good shape?), which give me a routine. I improvised dumbbells with water bottles in backpacks, though; I don't want to order stuff and add to delivery times unless it's necessary.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Does cleaning our flat every three days count as a hobby?
Any tips for getting necessities?
Make a list and stick to it. Not only to spend less, but we need to think of others, and hoarding is the greatest act of selfishness we can commit right now. Also, food expires and the fridge has a limit. Think not only about what you want to eat, but how long you can store it in the fridge. Also, bring a book for the queue.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Having to wait in the bathroom for 20 minutes because I forgot a towel and my wife was on a video call right outside the door.
Best work email you got since all this started.
"Here's a copy of your paid invoice."
An aha! moment since all this started.
So I actually can cook more than rice and pasta, who knew?
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
Who knows? I hope for two things: One is that we learn. Things are not going back to the way they were; they can't. And I'm with Gates on this one: We need to get ready for the next pandemic; SARS-related viruses are cyclical. This could very well just be the first one.
The second is that the world understand the value of the arts. Not for advertising's sake, which is going to be in huge huge trouble for a very long time, but in general. What would we be doing if it weren't for creators, artists, writers? To me, the arts are at the same level of importance as technology. Nobody questions the need or importance of the internet, laptops, phones. We need to appreciate both equally, and I hope times like these help us do that.