Staff Reporters
Oct 14, 2021

Creative Minds: How interior design student Lena Paik stumbled across advertising

We get to know the Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore creative through her answers to 11 questions. Learn how a wrong turn in a library led her into advertising, the jealous kind of inspiration she gets from startup stories, and her durable source of happiness.

Creative Minds: How interior design student Lena Paik stumbled across advertising

Name: Lena Paik

Origin: Singapore

Places lived/worked: Singapore


  • Creative, Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore: 2020 - present
  • Junior - mid writer, TBWA Singapore: 2014 - 2019
  • Intern, BBH Singapore: 2013

1. How did you end up being a creative?

When I was a student, I studied Interior Architecture & Design. I remember hanging out at the library so often because they had this insane collection of design books. But the defining moment happened when I stumbled onto a different level one day, where all the advertising-related books and magazines like Lürzer's Archive, D&AD Annuals and ADC Awards were kept. Over time, I found myself coming back to this level, borrowing books from this part of the library. By the time I completed my studies, my interest in advertising grew tremendously. That's when I decided I would become an advertising creative instead.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

Tough! There are a few that I'm super proud of, but if I had to pick one that's the most special, it'd be my student work 'Asos Face Off'. I remember wanting a D&AD New Blood Pencil so badly, much more than I cared about my actual grades. And to win it at the festival in London itself, was just the wildest dream come true. Looking back, it reminds me what real hunger, focus and determination felt like. Which I could frankly use on days where I feel deflated, uninspired or having self-doubts.

3. What's the one piece of work you most wish you'd done?

'Grandpa's magic trick' by Wideroe Airlines would go down as one of my favourite ads. I love everything about it. The story, the cast, the art direction, the music. This piece has definitely influenced not only the kind of work that I like, but the work that I want to make: Simple, genuine and beautifully crafted.

4. What/who are your key creative influences?

These days, I enjoy a good startup story. Almost in a jealous kind of way. Hearing about the impulse behind their journey, the unusual and untold lessons that they learned along the way, the life behind the hustle...I find it all so inspiring. We all know that having a great idea is the easy bit—turning it into reality is something else altogether. So in some ways, it's very similar to advertising. Except it's not a job you leave behind at 6pm, it's your life.

5. What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

For all the home-makeover shows I've enjoyed as a kid, all the sketches of my imaginary house, and the amount of Ikea catalogues I’ve hoarded, I definitely thought I was going to be an interior designer. It's interesting though, I don't think I've ever lost interest in it. It just didn't become my full-time career.

6. Dog or cat person?

Dogs! Although, my closest friends would gently disagree. In their actual words: "You're like a cat—people like you, but you don't like people."

7. Tell us about your tattoo. 

Here you go. My first and only for now. It has absolutely no meaning whatsoever, other than the fact that I like silly shit like this and it makes me smile. I mean, what else do you need eh?

8. How would your co-workers describe you?

I dare not ask, and would appreciate it if you won't too.

9. What makes me really happy?

Therapy. EVERYONE should go for therapy. It's a more durable source of happiness.

10. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Learn how to swim. Swimming is one of those things in life that gets harder to pick up, the older you become. So for any 10-year-old reading this, take it from me—you don't want to wait till you're 30.

11. What really motivates you?

Growth. But not in the sense of results or success. Growth as in being in the pursuit of better and learning from life. I read this quote that sums it up nicely: “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

In Creative Minds, we get to know APAC creatives through their answers to 11 questions—three required and the rest from a long list ranging from serious to silly. Want to be featured? Contact us.


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