#WFH Diaries: Jenna Haugmard of DDB Paris
As COVID-19 resistance efforts continue to lock countries down, we're checking in with creative folks to see how they're adjusting. Here's the good word from DDB Paris art director Jenna Haugmard.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
My name is Jenna, in homage to the alcoholic from the show Dallas, and I'm an artistic director and illustrator at DDB Paris.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
I live by the Canal St. Martin, in the 10ème arrondissement of Paris, with my boyfriend, my daughter of five months, and my deaf neighbor's TV. This last is extremely present in our lives at the moment.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
I'm lucky to be working on projects that haven't been pushed back: Two films for Ubisoft in CGI on two different titles, some print for Honda where I need to draw motorcycles, and, for France's Public Health department, some print and digital about three things that go really well together: sex, drugs and young people.
Exactly one year ago, alongside Julien Kosowski and Jean Weessa, we were just finishing something for The Division 2, a game whose story takes place six months after a global pandemic. Alongside the films, we created an AR app that let people see the streets of their neighborhoods, post-contamination. It's a little crazy to imagine that all that could happen today. Less end of the world, more pangolin!
Describe your socializing strategy.
On the first day, I downloaded all the conference call apps in existence. They're all exactly alike, except in different colors, which I guess is a difference in itself. I try to juggle client meetings and internal ones while keeping an eye on group WhatsApps of my family and friends. Sometimes I stand beside my coffee machine and read the office WhatsApps, laughing at my colleagues' jokes like in the old days.
How are you dealing with childcare?
Instagram makes this time seem totally magical, but let's talk reality. (Hey, follow me @jenna_hau!) I'm sure you've observed that small humans aren't very independent, so it's impossible to work while caring for a child at the same time. My partner and I have organized a strict rotation for mornings and afternoons.
What are you reading?
I'm trying to reread Akira and start Le Syndrome de Palo Alto (Palo Alto Syndrome, by Loïc Hecht). A week ago, I was preparing to leave for Los Angeles to see friends … on the day Trump decided to close the U.S. frontier. I always try to find a book where the plot happens in the country or city I'm planning to visit. So my idea was to read Palo Alto Syndrome while facing the Pacific Ocean, or under the giant banana tree of my California Airbnb. Oh well.
What are you watching?
I just watched Vermin and Crisis Jung, two adult animated series on Netflix, written and directed by people whose work I admire—Alexis Beaumont, Hafid F. Benamar, and Balak for Vermin; Gobi, Waro, Jérémie Périn and Laurent Sarfati for Crisis Jung. They're trashy, beautiful and hilarious.
What are you listening to?
Bob Marley. I never would've thought I'd say that one day. But my dude decided this was the perfect moment, and our daughter likes it. I couldn't find a counter-argument. On the other hand, when I was pregnant I listened to Booba a lot, so neither of us is faultless in this relationship.
How are you staying fit?
I run alongside the Canal St. Martin and exercise at home with an app that shows me what I'll look like after 30 days of working out. I'm so excited.
Have you taken up a hobby?
I like to draw. Generally that takes up a lot of time outside of agency work. During my quarantine weekends, I'm going to concentrate on a gallery project we're organizing with the French Art Director Club for September. We created an illustration category three years ago and would like to build it out, drawing more visibility to participating illustrators.
There's still a ton of stuff to work out with the gallery that's hosting us, and we'd also like to publish an expo catalog in the form of a fanzine with our friends at Erratum. We're doing our best to keep everything going remotely.
Any tips for getting necessities?
Go out for groceries under the sun to get a full dose of vitamin D. Take the sunniest route possible, even if you have to cross the street multiple times. You have to be strategic! If you're really committed, download the app Sun Seeker, which tells you which streets are sunny at what time.
An awkward moment since all this started.
When you're out buying groceries and the streets are totally deserted; there isn't a single sound. Suddenly, at the corner of rue des Vinaigriers and rue Lucien Sampaix, you hear a cry: "One baguette, well cooked, two croissants and eight chouquettes, please! Anything else? No, that's everything, thanks." It's like the bread shops are protected by a spatio-temporal bubble where everything continues like before.
Best work email you got since all this started.
Our creative director, Alexander [Kalchev], sent an email saying he'd get drunk once the creative was validated. You don't know him, but this is proof the post-apocalyptic world is nigh.
An aha! moment since all this started.
Yesterday I went running. And when I stopped to take a breath, I realized the entire neighborhood had been tagged by the "Nachos Crew" and that made me laugh. Maybe it wasn't that funny. Maybe it was just the sudden boost of oxygen to my brain for the first time in over a week.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
Karma—someone must've done something wrong and now we're all being punished! For me, the best-prepared people in this situation are the geeks. We have much to learn from them in this time of confinement. They've already digitalized their relationships, reduced their living spaces to the strict minimum, and know how to stock food for months.
So before the world ends, register for Twitch.