Meet self-proclaimed hot sauce addict & UPROXX Creative Brand Strategist, Danika Maia. As a Californian native in a hot pursuit of her dreams, Danika has worked for some of the worlds leading movers & shakers, from VICE, Noisey and the Head of Community at Watcher. Adding to her colourful portfolio of projects, Danika also curates the music and art scene by combining her newly launched platform BLÅ with Nordic LA. Read on to find out more about what jump-started her career and how a trip to Copenhagen back in March got a few creative ideas bouncing.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Danika, I’m a Creative Brand Strategist at UPROXX in Los Angeles where I’ve been living exactly one year, just celebrated my anniversary last week! I love listening to a rich variety of music around LA, eating things bathed in hot sauce, and traveling as often as work will let me get away with.
Congratulations! You first started as a writer at Vice and Noisey can you talk to us about how that happened?
At the time I was studying Digital Media and Marketing in Copenhagen and working on our school’s in-house TV network hosting a show about music and nightlife in Copenhagen. I was absolutely obsessed with VICE and Noisey, watching everything they put out and taking notes from their journalists and on-camera talent. My school’s program had an internship built into it and I told myself I was absolutely not going to take an internship anywhere but VICE, no matter where I had to move.
Luckily I got one at the Copenhagen office so I didn’t have to move far, and it ended up being the jump start to my entire career. What started as an internship at a small office with 10 people grew into a creative writing and branded content career as the office grew to over 100 employees in three years. I wrote articles for both VICE and Noisey, a concept developed for branded content, pitched major clients, helped the team throw epic events, it was truly a 360 experience I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
Then you transitioned to Uproxx to help them develop their creative team, how was that?
After five years of living in Denmark and three happy years at VICE, I was ready to come back to California and I always had my eyes set on Los Angeles as I’m from the Bay Area. I was interested taking on the challenge of applying my learnings in the industry to another brand with a slightly different target audience and message. As we grow in our careers I think it’s important to explore new avenues, see what we can give and what we can gain from each new colleague or place of work.
The working environment from LA to Copenhagen has been each totally unique and wonderful in their own way. UPROXX is full to the brim with creative people and exciting projects and this city, in general, has been so stimulating. That being said, I do totally miss the smaller community vibe of Copenhagen, how everything feels intertwined and connected.
Fast forward and now you have launched BLÅ and are working with Nordic LA which is about connecting Nordic culture with LA, when did you get the idea and why did you choose it?
During my most recent visit back to Copenhagen in March, I met with a few of my old colleagues and friends and started bouncing around ideas for how I could showcase the art and music and community that I love from the Nordics with my new home in LA. That’s when I came up with the concept for BLÅ (which means blue in Danish, but is pronounced “Be LA”). I feel like when people hear “Nordic” they think furniture and Vikings, but I wanted to show the Nordics that I experienced.
A completely forward-thinking community with the latest street style trends, most infectious electropop and psych rock, and visual eye candy in the form of art and photography with a unique perspective. Two months after I started promoting BLÅ on social media, I was contacted by the founder of NordicLA, Kristian Riis of the band Nephew, and he said he had basically the same dream but on an even larger scale. He asked if I’d like to curate the music and art for Nordic LA, a members club and culture embassy in the heart of Hollywood and I’m still pinching myself it’s so early on in the endeavor to have such a dream come true!
And you said you’re working on an E.P. as well? Can you tell us about that?
I am! I’m singing in an electropop duo called Night Sounds along with my friend and producer Charlie. We’ve known each other since high school but recently reconnected when I moved back to California and we ran into each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party. It’s nerve-wracking for me because while I’ve always sung and been interested in making music, this is the first time that I’ve ever found someone to work with where I really am making music that I like and see potential in, but I don’t have the practice of previous failures to hold me up against. I wish I could show you something but we’re not quite ready to release anything yet, I promise you’ll be the first to hear when it’s ready!
Images by Karina Spritze
Twitter: @DanikaMaia | Instagram: @danikamaia