Please give us a brief introduction of yourself Paulina?
I'm Paulina Paige Ortega. I'm a Creative Director and Designer. I co-own the Sydney-based branding design practice Actuel, and the Philippine-based sportswear brand Recess. I am also creative director of the bi-annual cultural magazine Par Femme.
How would you describe your personal style and key wardrobe pieces?
I have always consistently loved beautiful, classic, pared back pieces accented with subversively feminine oddities every now and again. I love a manner of dressing that is considered and well put-together, but not boring. A sense of practicality with an underlying sense of curiosity. Some of my favorite brands like The Row and Miu Miu reflect this, I would say. Mrs. Prada and MK+A have always inspired me. As have young Lee Radziwill and 90s era Christy Turlington.
These days I wake-up and often reach for beautifully cut shirting, tailored trousers, and mary janes. I spritz on some Chanel perfume, throw on lipstick, some jewelry and I'm out the door.
My weeks tend to pack a lot of variety. Some days might be dedicated to research and ideating, while others could be focused on designing and executing, or being on set creative directing a shoot. Every now and again, unfortunately, some days are dedicated to admin, but that's just a fact of life. My background has always been in art direction and graphic design. I really enjoy what I do and I've been doing it professionally for about 13 years now. Apart from the variety in tasks and output, I take a lot of pleasure in the collaborative nature of the work. Working with different individuals and brands to bring ideas and concepts to life brings me a lot of joy. Every day is a chance to try and see and experience things for the first time again.
What inspires your design process and creative direction the most?
Anything and everything, really. I'm a big believer of exposing oneself to as much creative expression as possible. I don't just look to fellow designers in my field, I consume an inordinate amount of media. Maybe too much, I sometimes think. Hah. I listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of music and shows (the ballet, theatre, fashion), read a lot of books, etc. I also don't discriminate between highbrow and lowbrow stuff. I mean that's kind of irrelevant these days, isn't it? I love following things that go on in pop-culture, and also spend a lot of time on the internet gathering both the dumb and the brilliant. All that to say, it's less about the variable of what inspires me, and more about maintaining an attitude that keeps me inspired. Maintaining a voracious appetite for everything going on around me is what keeps me excited.
Current favourite artist?
I have spent the last week obsessively watching footage of Nureyev and Baryshnikov dancing. That's been fun.
Architecture inspiration right now?
My husband and I are in the process of renovating our place in the Philippines (we live in Sydney but visit often). I've been looking at a lot of Gio Ponti, Eilneen Gray, Courtney Applebaum and Donald Judd. We visited Eileen Gray's place E1027 last year in the South of France and were so inspired not just by her aesthetic choices but by the underlying practicality that drove a lot of her work.
Currently consumed by finding a yellow vintage sink for our bathroom, which has proven to be a challenge with shipping..
How do you plan to fulfill your creative desires for the rest of 2023?
By actively reminding myself to peel my eyes away from my computer screen and engage with the world. Hoping to squeeze one to two more little trips in before the year ends. No better way to get a fresh pair of eyes than to travel, I find.