To celebrate The Reinvention Issue of Tracy Anderson Magazine, we sat down with Andrea Campos—a former marketer turned full-time illustrator—about taking the leap to follow her creative passion. The artist’s unyielding drive led to viral success on Instagram, and ultimately landed her the opportunity to illustrate Con Pollo, a bilingual children’s book from Jennifer Lopez and Jimmy Fallon (out Oct. 2022). While she faced many obstacles along the way, having reinvented her career during a pandemic, the first-generation Mexican American regrets nothing, and is ready to inspire others to do the same.
You have quite the story of reinvention. Tell us about your decision to take your career into your own hands.
Andrea Campos: I was really unhappy with work, and life in 2019. At the time, I was at an incredibly toxic job, where I experienced countless microaggressions and had no upward mobility. It took longer than I care to admit, but finally, in January 2020 I said enough is enough, and I mustered up the courage to set out on my own.
My goal then was simple: Turn my photography side hustle into my full time career—and I was doing it. I had projects lined up through the summer, and had even planned to move to a brand new city in March 2020, which is one of the most obvious signs of a person attempting to reinvent themselves.
Then, the pandemic hit, and my world was turned upside down. All of my work projects disappeared overnight, and suddenly I found myself unemployed and unsure of what to do next.
At the time I was devastated, but looking back, that was the best thing that could have happened to me because it forced me to slow down and reconnect with myself—and ultimately resulted in me drawing again, which has led me here to a brand career as an artist, and children’s book illustrator.
Your artwork went viral at the height of the pandemic and has been shared by media outlets and people of influence, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Did that take you by surprise?
AC: My entire journey with @dreasdoodles has been such a surprise. I started that page in March 2020, as a way to make sense of everything that I was feeling at the time. It was a visual diary of sorts that was supposed to help me process those early pandemic days. I never intended for it to turn into what it’s become, but I’m so grateful that it has.
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It’s allowed me to reclaim my voice, and connect with people in a deeply personal way. And sometimes, those people are folks like Octavia Spencer, Questlove, and Sonia Sotomayor, and that’s pretty special.
You also illustrated Jennifer Lopez’s and Jimmy Fallon’s children’s book. Tell us about how you locked down the partnership and what it’s meant to you in your journey?
AC: Collaborating with Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Lopez on a bilingual children’s book has meant the world to me. I’m first-generation Mexican American, Spanish was my first language, and I didn’t really speak English when I first started school—so, when their team reached out, I immediately thought of 5-year-old me, and how incredibly excited she would be to be a part of this.
In the U.S., there’s still a stigma around speaking Spanish, and having an accent, so being able to be part of a project that brings Spanish more into the mainstream is incredibly special.
I feel so lucky to have been able to work on a project like this, so early on in my career, and I can’t wait for the whole world to experience Con Pollo come this fall.
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What advice would you give to someone looking to reinvent their professional life? And how have you grown since making such a big change?
AC: I’ve grown so much over the last few years, and I feel like I’m finally on a path to being the person I’ve always dreamt of being. A woman who is confident and knows her self worth. A woman who is creative, and is okay with making mistakes. A woman who is working on herself and as a result is letting go of limiting self beliefs and perfectionism. A woman who dreams big.
To anyone out there, who is thinking about reinventing themselves professionally, my advice would be to go for it. I think we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. And sometimes, all we need to do is slow down enough to really listen to ourselves—our intuition—to know what it is that we truly want.
I spent a decade in an industry that I knew pretty early on wasn’t 100% for me, and while, what I’m doing now is harder in so many ways. I’m really happy that regardless of what the outcome might be, I’m giving myself the opportunity to try. And I would encourage you to do the same.
Do you wish to change up or elevate any other area of your life?
AC: Yes, my style! This might sound silly, but I’m an artist, and I want to dress like an artist. And throughout the last two years because of stay-at-home orders, and working from home, I’ve been dressing primarily in sweats. Although incredibly comfortable, it feels like I’m muting my self expression, and I’m actively trying to change that.