The following interview is part of a class assignment for Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts. Each interview has been
conducted and created by students for this course, which celebrates those heroes in our communities. Heroism, for the purpose of this course and assignment is described as:
- Service of something larger than oneself.
- A willingness to sacrifice in the name of service.
Author: SMU student Elizabeth Wheelis
The following interview is with Orlando Soria.
What’s your job title? How long have you been working this occupation?
Blogger (Hommemaker.com), Senior Design Assistant (Emily Henderson Design), Interior Decorator (Freelance), Sidekick/Design Assistant (HGTV’s “Secrets From A Stylist”)
Have you always wanted to do this? If not, when did you realize?
No. I had no idea. I’ve always wanted to make my living off of my creativity, off making things, off putting my voice and ideas out there for everyone to see.
If you could describe your career in one word, what would it be?
Name someone who has helped mentor you along your career. If no one, who is someone you’ve idolized from your career?
Emily Henderson. My boss, friend, and mentor.
Did you actively seek this career? Or did you come across it through other experiences- if so what?
I kind of fell into it. I hate it when people say that but in my case it’s true. I was running all over doing these crazy freelance production design projects for film, TV, and music videos and then I applied to a job as an “Assistant to a Prop Stylist” which was code for “On-Camera Design Assistant Sidekick.” The TV show led to my work at Emily Henderson Design as well and helped me gather readers for my blog, Hommemaker.
What is it about your career that you enjoy the most? The least?
I love the satisfaction of creating something that many different people see. For example, on one episode of “Secrets” I created a chandelier that went viral. It’s called the “Orblando” and tons of people have written me to say they’ve made their own at home, which excites me because it makes me feel like I somehow influenced/empowered them to do something creative. I also love it when a blog post I write gets a ton of readers and comments. There is such a sense of satisfaction you get from contributing to a public discourse. The one thing I hate about my career is that work is never over. If it’s nighttime I feel like I should be writing a blog post. If it’s the weekend I feel like I should be looking for furniture for a client. I love what I do, so this is totally fine. But I also never relax. So it’s fun to be constantly stimulated ut then sometimes it’s annoying to never be able to shut down. The pros far outweigh the cons though.
What personal characteristics do you bring to your job?
Mostly my personality, my strange perspective, and my work ethic, never being too important or fancy to do the crappy stuff no one wants to do (moving boxes up stairs, cleaning dirt off old furniture, crawling on my hands and knees through dirty storage areas to find a lamp we are using for a photo shoot, etc). If you’re working in a creative field, it’s best not to be a diva. It’s a huge turn off to the people you work with and the public you’re trying to reach.
What is the biggest risk you have taken in creating your career?
Being unemployed, taking random jobs for three years while I got my start in production/set design. That was pretty scary.
Have you ever doubted your career decision? If so, why?
Yes. I doubt it when I see my friends who have normal office jobs with benefits, health care, and etcetera. By working for yourself, you have to do it all alone, figuring out your taxes, how to get health care, organizing your time. Sometimes I wish I just worked for a larger company that figured all that out for me.
What three pieces of advice would you give to young art entrepreneurs who are entering the market, following university?
Be interested in what you’re doing. Don’t do it because you think it’s going to get you rich/famous. Don’t listen to people who tell you your career goals are irresponsible or unachievable. Don’t compare yourself to people you went to school with, grew up with, etc. Your career will be different than everyone else’s and that is what makes your life interesting.