An Interview with Ella Mielniczenko, Forbes (US & Canada 2019) Media

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski
Jun 19 · 9 min read

(#00029) — Creativity is a muscle. You can hone it. You can cultivate it. But you need to stay in practice.

Creativity is what moves the world forward, in every sense of the way. Some of the greatest achievement and milestones of our existence were the result of people not being afraid to think creatively and outside the box.

By definition, creativity means using your imagination to invent something and it’s a mutual thing that we all have in common.

So how come some people are better in it than others?

In the every-day reality, not all people can boast with this trait, although we all carry it with us. The thing is, unless you know how to adapt your creativity and maintain it, you won’t, in fact, be able to use it.

It takes courage to think outside the box, to be a problem solver, and to get creative.

But that never was a problem for Ella Mielniczenko, as she knows that for everything in life, you need to be persistent and work hard. Even when it comes to creativity.

Today, she is the Producer and Video Editorial Director of BuzzFeed and a very successful young woman, in every sense of the word. Ella also gained a spot on Forbes’s “30 Under 30 US & Canada 2019: Media” list that proves just how much hard work pays off.

This is her story, and I warmly recommend everyone to carefully read it.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Hi Ella, and thank you for being a part of this mission! Do you mind introducing yourself? Who is Ella Mielniczenko? How did you choose the career you have today?

Ella Mielniczenko:

Hello! I’m a producer and I’m currently the director of editorial video for BuzzFeed.

I’m from Los Angeles, my family is Brazilian and Mexican American.

I consider myself Queer or Bisexual — whichever people feel more comfortable using.

I’m a creative person and I love melding two sides of creativity — one side in “ideating” and the other in “process” and trying to make projects happen through bringing the right people together.

Originally when I was a child I always gravitated towards being creative — whether it was art, music, or writing.

As soon as I could pick up a camera I began making little videos. College/Education was, is and always has been important to my family — both in the traditional sense and also in the self-exploration sense… through reading, food, and travel. But College and higher education have always been on my mind and the ability to study and perfect a craft in the creative field has really been my only goal since a very young age. So I worked towards going to film school and working in a creative field.

I ended up being able to go to Emerson College in Boston. I studied film production with an emphasis on producing and photography.

I went to school during the transition between shooting on film and new digital cameras. Web video was taking off and I made the choice to work in digital media rather than traditional. It was an exciting time and still is.

There was really no blueprint to success and I thrived with that sort of creative environment. I joined BuzzFeed right before I graduated — I thought I would only stay 3 months but now it’s been over 6 years.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on being among Forbes 30 under 30! How was that experience for you? What do you think most contributed to this success?

Ella Mielniczenko:

Thank you! I can’t really point to any one moment. I’ve worked very hard every single day and pushed myself to take new and sometimes scary challenges.

I think that lists like 30 under 30 are cool because they really just highlight people who do good work over the course of years and years rather than one project or moment. So I’m happy and proud that I can contribute something to this industry.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What would you say are the best and the worst parts of the industry you are in? What do you love about your job?

Ella Mielniczenko:

Ah, this is a hard question. The worst parts are often the best parts. Digital media is often in flux because the business models are so new. We are trying to pave the road while also using it. It’s draining. But on the flip side — anything can happen… I’ve watched platforms die and I’ve watched platforms rise.

As creators, we have to be flexible and adapt to new ways of telling stories and reaching audiences.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

How do you maintain your creativity? What are some ways that a person can be creative?

Ella Mielniczenko:

I really think that being creative is a lot like working out or taking care of your body. It’s about consistency and self-care. Much like staying in shape — you need to be active a little bit each day. Even if all you can do is go on a walk.

Being creative is the same. To maintain creativity you need to be a little creative every day.

It’s hard when your job and your creativity are mixed — you can become cynical or tired. But the only thing that has brought me back is pushing myself to continue to make things. Whether it is painting, or writing, or even coming up with little songs.

Being creative every day has helped me sustain my creative abilities and given me a reserve of ideas that I can rely on.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

According to you, what are the best three habits all people should have? Why? Please explain.

Ella Mielniczenko:

  • Take care of your body. This is connected to mental health and of course physical health. If you don’t feel well, it will be a struggle to do simple things. Make time for yourself. Take breaks, go on walks, meditate, eat balanced meals, drink water, spend time with friends. Whatever it is you need to do that is best for your body. This is very subjective and individual.
  • Be creative every day. As I mentioned before — creativity is a muscle. You can hone it. You can cultivate it. But you need to stay in practice.
  • Read, watch, listen, to things that inspire you. We are inundated with passive media and media that numbs us. Which isn’t always bad. Sometimes you need that. But take time to experience things that inspire you to create things that inspire you to make a change or things that prompt conversations with friends, family or your community.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

When did you consider yourself a success? What is your definition of success?

Ella Mielniczenko:

For a long time, I had a hard time considering myself successful because as a kid the big dream was making movies. In many ways, that is short-sighted. Industries change. And so do people. I still struggle with a sense of feeling successful.

I’ve learned to take a step back and feel grateful for the things I’ve accomplished, the friends I’ve made, and especially the growth I’ve felt personally in how I handle change.

Comparison and social media can really hold us to a standard that is not possible and I try to focus on smaller day to day things.

Right now my relationships with people (family and friends) and my own creativity are the most important things to me. I don’t want to lose sight of that.

I don’t have a good definition of success… maybe, freedom is it?

The freedom to openly be who I am, to create, to cultivate a life that is balanced. That feels good to me. A lot of that is the circumstance and chance of being in the right place at the right time and the confidence to trust myself and others. So I’m grateful.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

How do you push through tough times? How do you ensure that stressful situations in your personal life do not affect your work performance?

Ella Mielniczenko:

I’m a big proponent of therapy. If you have the ability to do it, I would suggest everyone give it a try. I’ve been able to manage anxiety, stress, and big life changes by both therapy and medication. I don’t think I would’ve been able to maintain my career without it.

I’ve also learned to recognize when I’m burned out. I’ve learned to speak up when I need to delegate or hand something over and know that it isn’t a flaw but more of a strength. Also having a strong group of peers that you can talk to.

Reaching out to people and talking through difficult things is hard but necessary.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What hard thing are you not doing enough? What easy thing are you doing too much?

Ella Mielniczenko:

For me, it’s hard to say no to things and take breaks. So right now I’m taking on a lot. We recently went through layoffs at my company and it’s been a difficult time. I’ve been taking on a lot of responsibility and I can feel burnout creeping up. So I’m going to need to find time to recover

I’m drinking too much coffee! I quit last year and felt amazing. But recently I’m back to having a couple of cups a day!

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Where do you see yourself and your work 5–10 years from now? Are there any milestones you want to reach by then?

Ella Mielniczenko:

All I hope for the next 10 years is that I can just sustain my career, keep working, keep being creative. It’s intimidating to be able to balance family life and work in a healthy way.

I hope I can do it! Next year, I’m getting married and trying to focus more on my family life — the last 6 years I only thought about my career. So I hope to find a healthy middle ground.

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Lastly, what is the best advice you can give to everyone reading this interview?

Ella Mielniczenko:

Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable and who inspire you.

Cultivate relationships built on mutual respect.

Being young and successful means putting a lot of work into your goals and dreams, making the best decisions, and finding your true self.

Sometimes this can take its toll on people, and dealing with so many obligations that have brought you to where you are standing today is not at all easy. Only the brave ones, the people who acknowledge their mistakes as well as praise even the small accomplishments, truly deserve success.

Sometimes you might not even be aware of it. However, as long as you are doing something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Explore the world, explore your options, explore your creativity. And never settle down for something that does not bring you joy.

“The Mission to Empower 1 Million Entrepreneurs”

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Bruno (HE) Mirchevski

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The Logician (Dreamer) 👁️ Don’t follow me. I am lost too!😎 Founder of HE Group - (Investor) 📈

The Logician

Don’t follow me. I am lost too!😎

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