Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity on a daily basis. For the next 29 days, you will be able to celebrate wonderful human beings, like David&Goliath Sr. Creatist, Jasmine Spraglin with us.
Jasmine is a Sr. Creatist, working on strategy and generating breakthrough creative ideas for clients at David&Goliath. As a Sr. Creatist she has contributed across multiple clients such as Kia, Chicken of the Sea, Jack in the Box and Crowns&Hops.
She aims to bring a fresh new approach to how agencies solve complex strategic and creative challenges, as both consumers and the ad industry continue to evolve and shift as a whole.
Jasmine, what’s your origin story?
I was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA, and had big dreams of living in Los Angeles and being a famous actress. I wanted to show young black girls it was okay to be awkward and to like sneakers more than dress shoes.
But I had one major issue… I was terribly shy. So, my big dreams didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped they would, except for the living in Los Angeles part.
How did you get into advertising?
Prior to working in advertising, I had sold appliances at Sears to pay my way through college. (I started working there at 15 as an after-school job.) After graduating, I had no clue how to get a job in advertising or what an ad agency even was, so I got connected with a creative staffing agency and picked up a few random freelance gigs here and there.
And one day I got call for a 2-day assignment at Chiat Day LA and I quit all of my jobs in hopes that the gig would last longer than 2 days. And it did.
Who were your mentors?
Most people believe you have to find your mentors in your field. But I discovered that wasn’t necessarily the case and that you can find amazing mentors anywhere, like the gym.
My mentors for nearly a decade have been an amazing group of friends I met at a Gold’s Gym cycling class in 2009. Over the years we have traveled up and down the west coast training and running marathons together. Besides being an amazing group of athletes they were all very well-established in their careers spanning from entertainment, insurance and public relations.
As the youngest of the group, they took me under their wings and showed me how to be fearless and succeed by any means. They all individually have played a role in helping me become who I am today.
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
On a personal level, my biggest achievement to date was being featured in Adweek for a content piece that intimately detailed what it is like to be black in advertising.
After the article came out I had several students reach out to me; wanting to talk about my experience. Knowing that the video served its purpose and got people talking about difficult topics, when those conversations weren’t happening, makes me feel so incredibly proud to have been a part of such a project.
How about your biggest disappointment?
In the weeks leading up to my college graduation, I had gone through a round of what felt like very promising interviews for a marketing position at a government agency.
Feeling relieved that I had defied the odds and secured a job straight out of school, I stopped looking elsewhere and began preparing myself to begin the next chapter in my life. A few short weeks after graduation, I received a letter in the mail with my name misspelled; detailing how the position got eliminated due to budgetary issues…I was devastated.
I hung the letter up on my wall determined not to give up and about a month later, I got the call for my first freelance job at a well-known ad agency.
Although I was immensely disappointed, I look back with immense gratitude because I wouldn’t have been happy there nor would I have had the career I have had up to this point.
How has having the superpower of your Blackness helped you?
It has helped me to stay true to who I am. Because of my blackness I have been able to reject all of the boxes the industry has tried to put me in because of the type of work I do.
By owning my truth and holding on to my purpose for why I do what I do, I have been able to “yes” to the things that align with that and “no” to all the things that don’t.
Because the truth of the matter is that anyone can do my job but there is only one person who can do it like me…me. (the most authentic version of me).
If Black culture is your superpower, what is your kryptonite?
Closed-minded thinking. I feel that when I am around what feels like closed-minded/limited mindsets I begin to shut down.
With so much richness in and around black culture, it is an infinite well of ideas and inspiration. When other individuals block themselves from seeing that, it can take me to a place and feeling of defeat.
How did last year’s BLM movements affect you personally?
Knowing that both the power of content and social media catapulted the BLM movement from a national issue to a global one, I felt both compelled and inspired as a creator to get out there and capture the historic moments we were all experiencing in real-time.
Being immersed in the movement on the frontlines made me feel things I had never felt before. Attending the protest that had later evolved into the 2020 Los Angeles riots, allowed me to experience and capture a range of emotions I had never been confronted with before.
Because it is not every day we get to experience people fighting for justice in the streets in the midst of a pandemic with police on the opposing side in armed gear “fighting back.” It didn’t feel real but it was.
What can the industry do better to promote true inclusion?
In order for the industry to promote true diversity, I believe it needs to embrace doing things differently. I feel the industry is very stuck in its ways and it shows.
If we are able to shift out of that old paradigm and break down the barriers of “tradition,” I feel the industry can truly start making forward progress towards being truly diverse.
What drives you to create?
Imagination drives me to create. I feel that one’s imagination is a direct reflection of what is going on internally. I feel it is the best way to experience others’ perspectives through a variety of tangible mediums.