For The Creators, The Doers, and The One’s Who Make Things Happen

Leffe is looking for you.

In their new project Craft Your Character, the Belgian beer brand is in search of a story that made you who you are today. For New Yorkers, there are two open casting calls this week (Saturday and Monday) which will give you the opportunity to sell yourself and your story to the brand. If your story is picked, you might just end up in Belgium at an Abbey drinking beer and eating fries. Now you might be thinking “great, thanks for telling us but, what about you?” Well, I’ll tell you about how I got to where I am…

I moved to NY in January 2005 from a soul-searching, love mission in Rome, Italy. I came wanting to work in advertising and spent my first months digging up emails and reaching out to the brass (the CEO’s, Creative Directors, etc.) for any in I could get. I even spent one freezing night outside an Ad award show, bum-rushing anyone that stepped out of a limo, handing them a pocket-sized portfolio. None of this did any good, although I managed to get a couple interviews through recruiters who all told me the same thing “you are too ambitious,” which I later realized was a polite way of saying that I had no experience and a huge ego. This period in my life sucked. My girlfriend at the time (who I moved to NY with) was a charming go-getter who landed a job within three weeks of arrival, and here I was two months in without any opportunity. My bank account empty, and a stubborn unwillingness to compromise for any office job, I took to hustling comedy shows in Times Square at night so I could keep my days open and have cash in my pocket. If you were in NY in 2005, you might remember it snowed way into April and I was in the snow. A tall figure wearing two layers of pants, plus long johns, two jackets wrangling midwestern tourists into a two-drink minimum club with promises of comedy central. This routine dragged on until one sunny August day a recruiter called with me an opportunity. “How would you like to interview at CondéNet?” she said “It’s the internet arm of Condé Nast.” Oh, like the travel magazine I thought. Well, it wasn’t advertising but, apparently that world couldn’t see my talent, so I agreed to take it. I found myself in an office 17 floors off of the ground where I had been hustling for so long meeting with the creative director. We had an enjoyable chat, and he decided to take a risk on me, offering me and my art direction portfolio a junior designer freelance gig working on the re-design of concierge.com. “Whoa,” I thought. From the bottom to the top. It was at CondéNet that I learned everything about the internet that I know today. These were the days when no one had a blog, and the company was creating internet magazines completely separate from the print ones. Style.com was once the home of Vogue and W, Epicurious the home of Gourmet and Bon Appetit, and Men.Style.Com the home of GQ and Details. Through the years I bounced around the brands as the talented art department was wont to do, and landed in the role of designer at Men.Style.Com after my predecessor took the role directing interactive design. It was here that I learned the editorial side, what a publishing schedule was, and how not to pitch a story. Surrounded by intelligent folks, and interested in getting an artistic, cultural voice out into the world myself and two friends began The World’s Best Ever as a riff off of travel sites that used the term “The World’s Best” way too loosely. When Men.Style.Com folded in 2009, I realized that it was my time too. After working through the re-design of GQ and weathering the heartbreaking transitional period, I decided (with the blessing of our two other co-founders) to go for broke and make The World’s Best Ever into something real. With just enough savings to last me, I left in July 2010 and entered a realm of unknown. 9 months later, we still haven’t turned a profit but, we’re getting there. The website is growing at the slow and steady pace we want, and as I once told my friend and ex-coworker Alison “one day the only people we’ll have to listen to are our accountants and lawyers.” Life still isn’t exactly easy but, it sure is fun. Cheers to that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed, now go schedule a casting session and inspire someone else.

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