*North America Only


*North America Only


Blanca Blandon

Creative Director, Populist, Vancouver, BC

The Creative Director of Vancouver city guide Populist knows the power of a good story.

By: Michael Small | Photos: Agnes Ciaciek

Blandon is wearing the Rider Sleeveless Silk Dress

If every city has a story, someone has to tell it. The goal for Blanca Blandon, creative director at city guide Populist, is to be the one spinning Vancouver’s tale. The young storyteller is a big believer in fostering community, and has made it her business – literally – to create connections in her city and help shape Vancouver’s narrative. “I love people and I love stories. I just want to tell stories for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter in what capacity,” says Blandon.

At Populist, Blanca and her partner Rebecca Traub aim to give both residents and visitors a “visual guide” to the city, showcasing local businesses and the people behind them. With a background in broadcast journalism, Populist combines the storytelling and on-camera skills Blanca has developed, while indulging her love of the lighter side of news – the human interest pieces typically saved for the last few minutes of the six o’clock news. The snackable “best of” content takes a page straight out of Buzzfeed, but adds in a local, more granular flavour that residents can appreciate.

We chatted with Blandon about why she loves (and lives) her city, the excitement of a 16-hour day and the importance of community.

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Kit and Ace: What is it about storytelling that draws you in?

Blanca Blandon: Telling the stories behind the brands and sharing the faces behind the businesses. People relate to people. There are so many amazing businesses out here, but a lot of people don't know about them. They know the name, but they don't know the story behind it. Through Populist, we're able to connect people.

KA: What do you love about Vancouver?

BB: We have a lot of talent in the city. People work really hard here and are super creative. It's, I think, one of the most creative cities in Canada, if not in the world. There's an amazing sense of community here. There's been so many articles and about Vancouver the people here—how everyone's cold, no one's friendly. No one's talkative – how it's the worst city to date in. But if you actually take the time to get to know people and talk to them, people here are super supportive. They want to help one another out. Everyone wants to see you succeed. That's been a really pleasant surprise.

Blandon is wearing the Rider Sleeveless Silk Dress

KA: What’s a typical day like for you at Populist?

BB: There's no typical day. I get up pretty early, around 6 AM, and go for a run. I will grab coffee somewhere and start working right away. Check emails. Work on video scripts. Engage with people on social media. It’s not unusual to be filming 16‑hour days or attending six different events. Our days are so fun. They're unpredictable. They're filled with adventure. We're kind of nomads. We're always wandering around. You can't call yourself the guide to the city unless you truly are getting out there and going to all these different places and experiencing them.

KA: Is that hustle an inherent thing in you, or something you’ve had to work on?

BB: With a start-up it's a lot of work. There's no such thing as sleep. But I love working. If I get into something and if I'm really passionate and excited about something, time tends to fly. If I get into something and if I'm really passionate and excited about it, it doesn't feel like work because I love what I'm doing and I'm excited about it.

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KA: Does the “go, go, go” mentality wear you down? When you’re living the city, it really is a full-time job. How do you recharge?

BB: I started meditating. I'm a very spiritual person. Not religious, but spiritual. I found that my life can get really crazy and hectic at times. Every night before I go to bed, I'll have a talk with the universe, as corny and cheesy as that might sound. It's very therapeutic for me because I'm able to release whatever it is – any stresses I have going on in my life – and get it to the universe. I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to have everything planned out, but it doesn't work that way. Especially in media, things change all the time. The one constant thing I can control is having these nightly conversations.

Blandon is wearing the Burbank Shawl
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KA: How does your personal sense of style show up in your job?

BB: I'm always on the go. I need clothing that's comfortable, but outfits I can still show up to a business meeting in and look presentable. At the same time, I need clothing that I can wear walking over the bridge, or running from shoot to shoot and not feel restricted or uncomfortable. I love feeling comfortable. Fashion on the go. I want to look good, but I want to be able to move.

KA: Is “never stop” the motto?

BB: In work and in my personal life, I need to constantly be moving. I'm always moving towards a goal. If I'm going for a run, I know what my end goal is. If I'm working on a project, I know what my end goal is. Luckily, I've finally learned to become a more patient person – patience is not one of my virtues. Now I know that even if I’m moving slowly, and I'll get there eventually.

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