Welcome to Future Talks by RTF, a platform where we engage in thought-provoking discussions with trailblazers who breathe life into design narratives. In today’s episode, we are thrilled to host Nadia Simonelli, a seasoned journalist with over 15 years of expertise in the domains of design, architecture, and interiors. Her illustrious career has seen her contribute to renowned Brazilian magazines such as Casa Claudia, Casa Claudia Luxo, and Casa Vogue.
Currently, Nadia wears the hat of a digital influencer, steering the Instagram account @comoagentemora. Simultaneously, she serves as a freelance collaborator for prominent media outlets, leveraging her wealth of knowledge. Furthermore, she crafts bespoke content tailored to brands within the architecture and design sector.
In this interview, we delve into the rich experiences and insights Nadia brings from her extensive career, shedding light on the ever-evolving world of design. Her journey and perspectives promise to provide our audience, including architects and design students, with a treasure trove of inspiration and knowledge. Join us as we embark on a captivating conversation with a true luminary in the realms of design, architecture, and interiors.
RTF: Hi Nadia, The first creative sparks were shown by your music magazine called ‘Hi-Fi’, how has your creativity been shaped since then?
Nadia: Hi-Fi magazine was created when I was at university, studying journalism, as a final project, together with three other classmates. As I have always been very interested in cultural themes, especially art and music, it was natural to choose to develop a publication for this segment. Hi-Fi was really the first creative spark for the publishing market and, at that time, I had just joined Editora Abril — one of the largest communications companies in Brazil. As soon as I graduated, I started working as a reporter in the editorial office of the Casa.com.br portal, which was just opening at the time. And, from then on, I began to develop my career as a journalist specializing in architecture and design and to refine my perspective on this segment.
RTF: How has the progression of your career been? And what endeavors are in your sight to achieve?
Nadia: The evolution of my career happened according to my professional and personal maturity and was also influenced by the development of technology. I believe that today I am very different from when I started and, therefore, my goals have also changed along the way. I worked for a long time in large media companies, as a contract employee, and, since 2018, I have worked as a self-employed professional, in addition to investing more time and effort in my social networks, which led to me becoming a digital influencer. For the future, I want to strengthen my personal brand in the publishing market and on social media and also create new connections with companies in the areas of design and architecture. The ultimate goal is always to create quality content that inspires and facilitates communication between architects, designers, companies and the consumer.
RTF: What is the striking factor in the chunk of content that comes your way, how do you look at the content and decide on working towards that? What is the process like?
Nadia: I believe that for a project or topic to become an article or post it needs to be relevant to the public, be inspiring and bring something new or unusual. In addition to written information, I also need the images to be of good quality, photographed at correct angles and with adequate natural light. When the suggestion arrives for my Instagram, @comoagentemora, I decide whether to publish it or not. But, when I believe that the subject may be relevant to a magazine or website for which I contribute, I submit the suggestion to the editor-in-chief for approval before producing the content.
RTF: From managing and publishing blogs to building up a community on Instagram, you have done it all when it comes to ‘content’. Which way do you think ‘content’ in general is headed in terms of its consumption by the masses?
Nadia: Yes, I’ve done almost everything when it comes to content lol. I believe that with the boom of the internet and social networks, in which we are exposed to all types of content at all times, the quality of texts and images have taken a backseat due to the large audience, demanded by large media organizations and by the advertising market. But, I have noticed that this has been changing little by little. Many websites, magazines, blogs and Instagram profiles (mine, including) are focusing on more complete and higher quality content, even if the frequency of publication is lower. I believe that more relevant and complete content is an interesting way to attract a qualified audience.
RTF: We would like to get your idea of a good pitch and how you differentiate between a ‘positive’ and a ‘negative’ approach from the writers and architects.
Nadia: As architecture and design are visual subjects, architects need to have good photographs of the project when approaching an editor or writer, as well as a complete descriptive text. This combo (images + information) is essential for a positive approach that captures the attention and interest of the media professional. Additionally, it is desirable that the architect be available for future interviews. Kindness and politeness are also fundamental in this approach and this applies to both parties — both architects and writers.
RTF: What is your idea of a perfect media kit? What should it consist of?
Nadia: I believe that a perfect media kit should communicate the style and mood of the professional being presented directly and clearly. Ideally, it should not be extremely long, with many pages. It can start with an objective, yet captivating presentation and move on to a brief detail of the jobs or projects already carried out by the professional. And, finish with the list of services that the professional offers. The visual part is also important, so it’s worth paying attention to the layout.
RTF: What would you advise writers who wish to get their content published in top media organizations? What has to be the process like?
Nadia: If the writer knows someone who works closely with an editor-in-chief, this could be a good start. But if you don’t know anyone who can introduce you, I believe a good introduction email is ideal. If you have content to suggest, try to write a brief text that introduces the topic, but is also very convincing, and introduce yourself as well. But, before sending the suggestion, make sure that the text and images are in line with the editorial line of the website or magazine to make a good first impression.
RTF: What are some challenges that the interviews and general exchanges with architects and designers present? How is it different while working with brands?
Nadia: It depends on the mood of the architect or designer. However, the main challenge is certainly understanding the specific language with which these professionals work. Therefore, it is important that journalists specializing in design and architecture know certain technical terms so that they can understand the context and translate it to the general public clearly. In general, architects and designers tend to be calm and like to give interviews to talk about their work. Working with brands is quite different, as it is done according to a brief defined by the client and there is not much scope for going beyond what was previously agreed. Therefore, it is important that the writer clears up all doubts before starting content production and follows the brief and deadline exactly.
RTF: Was your interest in architecture, design, and colors any surprising to you, looking at your background which shows no proximity towards these things?
Nadia: In fact, I don’t have specific training in architecture, design and colors and this interest was surprising to me. I’ve always really liked fashion and for a while, I thought I would work at a big magazine in the segment. But, when I got my first job at Editora Abril, I went to the design and architecture department and fell in love. Within this segment, I realized that I really liked working with colors and I increasingly researched and studied the subject. It’s charming how important architecture and design are in ensuring people’s well-being and can help improve the quality of life in different realities. That’s what attracted me.
RTF: Having worked at almost all the steps involved in publishing the content, what are your views on the importance of being a quick and smart learner along the way to progress in the field?
Nadia: Not only in journalism, but in all careers, you need to be aware of news and learn about it, even if you don’t like it very much. And you have to learn quickly. Nowadays, social tools and networks change even more quickly, so you need to be flexible, attentive and a little uninhibited to stay ahead. Observing is also important to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
RTF: How would you advise aspiring magazine editors who are eager to break into the field and advance their careers?
Nadia: First of all, you need to be a good writer. This is how it all starts. In my opinion, you can’t be a good editor if you don’t write well. Then, you need to know the area in which you want to work — be it fashion, design, architecture, politics — and know who the main characters are. It’s also important to be cordial and accessible to people — no one grows in their career alone. And, finally, it is essential to be a multimedia professional, who writes texts, records, edits and presents videos and podcasts, in addition to knowing how to take good photos for Instagram. The more talents you develop, the greater the chances of you progressing.