I'm a first-generation American by way of Brazil, born and raised in north New Jersey — or, as I like to refer to it, Sopranos country — right outside of New York City. I'm currently based here until the Pinterest offices reopen, at which time you'll find me in San Francisco.
I heavily researched immersive UX Bootcamps — I knew I learn best in a structured environment; so, a bootcamp was the best route for me to take. I ultimately chose Designlab’s UX Academy because of its flexible curriculum and 1:1 mentorship, alongside Memorisely's Design Systems Bootcamp that provided a more niched and specialized education. It was important for me to have live interaction in my Bootcamp be it with mentors, teachers, or students. Design is a human-centered discipline, and that kind of personalized touch was very important to me when choosing a bootcamp.
I've always been multidisciplinary in my interests and pursuits. Before my college days, I was actually very interested in the arts and sciences — I started my own independent newspaper with my friends, performed live poetry and studied astrophysics. So, I’ve always been multifaceted with varied interests and considered myself multidisciplinary in my crafts.
But, one common theme has always weaved these disciplines together: a deep appreciation and fascination for the human experience. In the music industry, I felt my most authentic when I was connecting people with each other and the experiences they loved — whether that was producing a live event or marketing an upcoming record. I realized my high emotional intelligence was an asset, and I could communicate wants and needs across fans, artists, and teams very naturally. When I realized I could leverage my passions and strengths in design and technology, which I’ve always loved, I never looked back. I see my progression into the world of design not as a pivot, but the most natural evolution from what I’ve always been doing.
I’m excited about UX/UI Design as a means to actively redistribute joy and humanity back into the world through technology, which I consider to be the most persistent and powerful companion in our collective lives. Put simply, using creative thinking to design for a more empowering, beautiful, and safer digital world that improves people’s lives is what lights me up, and Product Design is the spark to that flame.
I like to wake up early and have a slow start to my day. I’m usually up between 6 and 7am and read through my newsletters while having my morning coffee. From there, I’ll either get some errands out of the way (from meal prepping to quick runs out of the house), or I’ll work out. Either way, I try to move my body first thing in the morning to get my endorphins going!
I’ll usually start work between 9 and 10 and go until 5 or 6 depending on the day. I typically have between 2-4 hours of meetings and 4-6 hours of focused design time a day. I’m very lucky that my schedule at Pinterest is pretty fluid and I always have time throughout the day to have lunch, take quick stretch, or have screen-time breaks between meetings.
When I’m done with work, I’ll dabble with freelance projects and eventually unwind by hanging out with friends, paint, read, or watch the latest documentary in my Netflix queue.
Admittedly, it’s often a (contained) mildly chaotic mess. I wish I were the tidiest, most organized designer in the game, but in reality my desk set up mirrors my mind: a little all over the place, but with the right intentions.
The unsung heros of my setup are my standing desk and its supporting cast of my standing pad and balance board. For my <30 year old designers, invest in your ergonomic health today (yesterday would be even better). For my 30+ friends, I don’t even have to tell you twice.
And special shoutout to my most coveted pandemic purchase-turned-creative-muse, Tony and Carmella Soprano, the Duke and Dutchess of West Caldwell.
It was great to see the same group every day and to be able to follow/support each other’s progress throughout the bootcamp and beyond!
I loved getting to know other students and becoming supportive friends in each other’s journeys. Being able to share ideas, projects, progress, doubts, or just vent with another designer at the same stage as you is hugely powerful and definitely my favorite part.
“Designers should spend less time designing.” Zander said this during my Design Systems Bootcamp, explaining that a [product] designer’s focus should be creative problem solving, not pixel pushing. And, design systems are an effective (and elegant) way to free up a designer’s brain space to make room for that.
Knowing when to double down on more learning and practice vs. when to cut myself some slack and rest. There’s so much to learn, and the best way to learn design is by doing, so it’s hard not to feel the constant pressure to put in work or, on the other end, give yourself some time and grace to be a beginner. I’m still learning that part, and I suspect finding that balance will follow me well into my design career, as I’m sure it does for most.
Aside from the exciting projects I'm working on at Pinterest that I can't quite share just yet, definitely my Clubhouse project.
I was inspired to take on that project from my own experience as a user of the product and fascination with the new social format I saw emerging. I was an early beta user of Clubhouse and experienced first-hand how loved the app was and how popular it was becoming by the day. At the same time, I recognized some areas where the user experience could be optimized since it was a recently launched product still in beta. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to really push myself as a junior designer to tackle some very complex UX challenges in social audio, which I was confident would be the next big format on social platforms.
The project came with a lot of challenges, but also a lot of rewards. I was able to connect with so many great people, from fellow designers at all levels to startup founders and even some big tech folks who were inspired by my work. It was also an important lesson for me on the value of hard work and owning your wins. I’ll be honest, it was difficult for me to embrace a lot of the positive feedback I got from that project; I suffered tremendously with imposter syndrome. But it was important for me to learn that even if you can’t recognize your achievements and hard work yourself when you’re in the trenches of a design project, that doesn’t mean you’re not producing meaningful work. Sometimes it takes being vulnerable and sharing your work with the world to see how it’s received for you to get a more objective perspective. So that was the biggest learning moment for me.
I recently made my first order with Prose and was super impressed by the end to end service and UX design — from the customized quiz to the elegant packaging, the entire experience felt extremely personalized and well thought out.
Similarly, I’ve recently started using Slice, which has a stellar app design. I especially love the checkout flow that easily allows for last-minute changes to an order, and how subtle (yet extremely effective) the in-app upsells are.
A long-time favorite has been Poolsuite FM (formally Poolside FM). I adore the ‘70s print design vibe, and seeing them expand to physical products has been super exciting.
On a typical day it’s usually Drake, the latest R&B, or Afrobeats playlist on repeat. For deep work, I always fall back on what I call my Personality Playlist: