Seven ages of a creative: Emmanuel Areoye

Emmanuel Areoye is as new to the creative industry as it’s possible to be, and he brings a fresh perspective on what’s working and what’s not, especially in social

For this special project, we talk to 12 creatives and designers aged 19 to 87 about their experiences in the creative industry, their hopes and dreams, the changes they have witnessed during their career so far, and what further developments they hope may come in the future. First up is ad creative Emmanuel Areoye, aged 19

Only 18 when he landed his first industry job as a junior creative at Quiet Storm, Emmanuel Areoye was first discovered by the agency via its Create Not Hate initiative, originally set up in 2007 to help marginalised school children realise their creative potential and introduce them to careers in the industry. As part of this, Quiet Storm partnered with social mobility foundation Debate Mate, which runs extracurricular training for students, including public speaking workshops and events.

Areoye had been attending Debate Mate programmes since he was 13 and he admits that, initially, he wasn’t all that excited about the workshop. After everyone had been briefed by Quiet Storm to create an anti-racist campaign around Notting Hill Carnival, he quietly snuck off to the toilet. “I was there with my friends, and I was hoping that, by the time I came back, they would have had the idea so I didn’t have to do anything,” he jokes. “But when I came back, they hadn’t come up with anything … then I was like, OK, I’m probably thinking about this too hard. Racism is something that’s part of my life.”

He started thinking about people’s perceptions of him, and how that influences their assumptions. “The way I speak, my tone, leads you to think I’m a different kind of person to how I actually am,” he says. “I’m articulate now, but if I was speaking to my friends I would be using a lot of heavy slang, and if someone else listened to me they’d probably think, what the heck? They would assume I’m not very academic.”

Top: still from Heated Conversation, created by Areoye for Quiet Storm’s Create Not Hate initiative, which aims to open up the creative industries to greater diversity; Above: Emmanuel Areoye