Making space for women of colour in the advertising industry
Through her journey from being a junior designer in a big advertising business to being the founder and managing partner of bespoke full-service agency Curious & Creative, Zumurrud Rinquest has developed a hugely important skill: to find the gap, make a move, and build others up in the process.
As a woman of colour in the advertising industry, she says she quickly realised that more voices were needed to provide dynamic perspectives, backgrounds and cultures to represent SA’s true diversity of narratives, opinions and truths.
This evolution in her outlook occurred when women were only beginning to apply their skills in the advertising industry, and women of colour were by far the minority in ad-land. Today, though the situation is somewhat better, there is still room for further improvement.
Aside from the glass ceiling that women across all industries are acutely aware of, Rinquest says women of colour have had to contend with racism, lack of access to entry, discrimination, profiling and silencing, amongst others.
“In the past few years, companies globally have become more sensitive about the issue of equality and are under pressure to not only claim diversity, but to make room actively for women – and women of colour – among the key stakeholders, decision makers and leading thinkers in every organisation,” she says.
Indicating just how much more needs to be done, she says that during her search for new talent for her growing creative agency she received only a handful of applications from women of colour among the large number who applied.
“Knowing that the talent is out there and that the jobs exist, how can advertising agencies achieve meaningful transformation when they don’t have the trust of young, talented creatives of colour?” she asks.
Rinquest’s mission is not only to make space for young women of colour in the ad industry, but to expand that space. She has leveraged her wealth of industry experience, keen intuition and conviction to build a business with a genuine “power team”. Her aim is to establish an agency that can act as an incubator for creative talent, primarily made up of women of colour.
“This incubator will open the door for those who don’t have the financial means to empower themselves through formal education and will include a bursary programme to focus on the upliftment of women of colour in the Western Cape. My dream has always been to build a network of strong women with an immense love of creativity in business. We have worked hard to achieve this at Curious & Creative, and now it’s time to extend our knowledge and passion to the greater community,” she says.
“It’s up to us, as women and creatives of colour, to carve out a space for success and build the creative landscape we’ve always dreamed of working in – one that is fair, equal and well-primed for the innovation and creativity we can offer brands of every shape and form.”
The big take-out:
“It’s up to us, as women and creatives of colour, to carve out a space for success and build the creative landscape we’ve always dreamed of working in” - Zumurrud Rinquest, founder and managing partner of Curious & Creative
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