Staff Reporters
Apr 11, 2024

Creative Minds: Melissa Boey on fearlessness and life-and-death projects

From hitchhiking in Moscow to being followed by a local cartel in Mexico, MRM Japan's senior art director's life and work is never short of adventure.

Creative Minds: Melissa Boey on fearlessness and life-and-death projects
In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?
Name: Melissa Boey
Origin: Singapore
Places lived/worked: Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo
Pronouns: She/her
Creative / senior art director, MRM Japan/ McCann Worldgroup, Tokyo (2019-present)
Lead user experience designer/digital creative, Geometry Ogilvy Japan, Tokyo (2017- 2019)
Creative director (digital content, UX), Sony, Tokyo (2016-2017)
Digital creative director, Dentsu Isobar, Tokyo (2014 – 2016)
Web designer / digital art director, Warp Japan, Tokyo (2013- 2014)
Localization designer / copywriter, Voltage Entertainment, Tokyo (2011- 2014
International flight attendant, Singapore Airlines, Singapore (2007-2010)
Global pictures sub-editor, Reuters News Agency, Singapore (2005-2007) 
1. How did you end up being a creative?
I studied film production and visual communications back in university, but Singapore was not really a creative environment especially for females 20 years ago. I went into various other industries and was honestly a little lost as to what to do in my life. I then realised my true calling was still in the creative field. I moved to Japan and decided to start with a clean slate in creative and worked through my way into advertising.
2. What’s your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?
It was a piece of work for a health supplement brand called Nutrilite that I had put my entire heart and soul into, and did almost everything from end-to-end. From creative strategy, client pitching, art direction, casting, web design and coding, to video creative, social media planning, flying to Los Angeles and Mexico to meet and interview with prop artists, photographers, and the movie crew. In Mexico, we were even followed closely by the local cartel, so you can say it was a life-and-death project. What I really liked about it was how we created authenticity for a brand and gave meaning to its philosophy.
3. What’s your favourite piece of work created by someone else?
Apple iPhone X's 'Three Minutes'. Probably one of the most memorable pieces of work I’ve seen. Nothing fancy but purely touching storytelling. The film doesn’t just sell the iPhone but the product’s ability to capture moments—fully, beautifully, and richly.
4. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
Once, I travelled to Moscow and wanted to go snowboarding but couldn’t find much information about it on the internet. I took my board and boots, waited around the Moscow Central Station looking out for snowboarders. There weren’t many but when I spotted a group of people, I followed them on the train. As I couldn’t speak Russian, I tried making friends with them but couldn’t quite communicate. I got off the train when they did, and walked through railway tracks, an abandoned town and hitchhiked on random cars around. I don’t know why but I felt no fear even though I didn’t know where I was going, nor did I know if I could trust that group of people. We finally reached a ski resort and I felt so relieved. Not sure if I have the guts to do this again, but it was quite an adventure.
5. What's on your bucket list?
Way too many things, but the ones that I really want to make happen are to visit Uzbekistan, Tibet, Mongolia, Iceland, Peru and Argentina.
6. Who is on your dream dinner guest list (dead or alive)?
Christopher Nolan, Hoyte van Hoytema, Wong Kar Wai and Christopher Doyle all at the same table. Hope that they mingle well and may they have a Nolan-Doyle & Wong-van Hoytema collaboration someday.
7. What really motivates you?
Knowing that I may die tomorrow due to unforeseen circumstances. Nothing morbid about that. Who knows, right? My parents left the world in this manner, and that taught me a lesson in life to cherish every moment, and just do it—that really motivates me in my life.
8. What would you do on your perfect day?
Relax in nature and do absolutely nothing. Our days are filled with so many activities every day that a day that is clear of chasing the next moment in the schedule is a perfect indulgence.
9. Tell us about an artist (any medium) that we've never probably heard of.
Tomei, a multi-disciplinary artist whose art focuses on 'the transparent' using light and textures. Looking at her work always makes me feel calm and gets me thinking about physical existence.
10. Who/what are your key creative influences?
Movies and travel. I get very inspired when I see, feel, and experience the unknown.
11. What makes you really happy?
New experiences and doing things I’ve never done before.
Campaign Asia

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