PIMP: Everyone Needs an Origin Story

Circa 428 B.C., some philosopher dude with a big ass beard coined the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention.” His name was Plato, not Camilla Ciappina. But when I look back to how Pimp My Portfolio first started, or “Pimp My Pasta” to my Brazilian brethren, this six-letter quote boils it down to a science.

I was a Miami Ad School, art direction student at the time, shout-out Sao Paolo, helping out a slew of creatives get their shit together, portfolio wise. Until I got the mind-blowing news, “hey pack your bags you’ve just been accepted at JWT NY” [insert confetti here]. This is a big effing deal, especially as an International student hoping to break into advertising.

Fast-forward to NYC. Cue the possum-sized rats. I was your typical overworked intern, living off post-meeting scraps and 99 ¢ pizza. This is when the plot thickened, and the wallet got tight AF. Side cash became a means of survival, it was time PIMP crossed the US border. And all went well, until– “your student visa is up, GTFO of America.”

Reality sank in when my internship ended, I was back to the motherland. But those who know me best knew, this was not the end of [insert dramatic pause] of Camilla Ciappina’s stint working in NYC, this was the beginning. Thirty sponsorship rejections later from NYC agencies, I hired Ozzy Osborne’s lawyer, set up an LLC and packed my bags.

Months later, my visa arrived in the mail [holy shit moment]. What next? Besides my sobbing family begging you stay [love you mom]. How about a church in Times Square to live in for the next 5 months? That’s right, 780 sq. ft. all to yourself, coupled with an aspiring Opera singer roommate and shared public bathroom. I was living the 21st century American Dream.

But fret not folks, I’m a millennial, branding struggle to sound euphoric is my specialty. Because had it not been for the 60 or so agency rejections, confined living quarters and menial living wages, Pimp would not have grown to where it is today. It was during those moments of necessity, that I was forced to invent, create and set the foundation for Pimp My Portfolio.

By Brenda Fernandez