Anouk Jans

Anouk Jans on life after creative burnout

After making a splash with the adland documentary Kill Your Darlings earlier this year, the creative director discusses how she’s trying to fix the broken agency model in her new role at Spring Studios

Anouk Jans is well-used to being known as ‘the youngest’ something. When she was 13, she was the youngest fashion blogger in Germany, around the same time that fellow teen Tavi Gevinson’s blog Style Rookie was taking off. At 18, she took on a role heading up social media for denim brand Closed, followed by a senior creative position at Marc O’Polo, and then co-founded her own creative agency. By the time she was 26, she had become one of Germany’s youngest creative directors, after joining Vice’s in-house agency Virtue.

Given the rapid pace of her career trajectory, it’s not all that surprising that Jans has fallen victim to creative burnout on more than one occasion. “I had been in the industry already for over seven years when it hit me for the first time. It’s the kind of exhaustion where sleep doesn’t do the job anymore, or coming down for the weekend does not do the job anymore. You really need a break from everything,” she tells CR.

“The second time around was before moving on to Vice. After four years of having my own agency, I felt the tiredness coming back. I was very fragile, very sad and very exhausted. This is one of the stages of burnout before it goes so deep that you cannot really touch anything anymore. Now I’m very careful when I feel that I cannot just recharge easily.”

Anouk Jans
Top and above: Campaign for Calvin Klein