“I find spontaneity very inspiring and two of my favourite manifestations of that spirit are rap music and polaroid cameras.” Julie-Ann Ngo, NeueHouse
As Director of Marketing & Communications at private work collective NeueHouse, Julie-Ann Ngo leads the initiatives in Marketing, Special Projects, and Membership Communications. Julie has been part of the NeueHouse Trustee Group since its inception and has deep roots in both the creative and hospitality communities. When Julie was the Marketing Director for GrandLife Hotels, she was instrumental in repositioning the brands of both the Soho Grand and Tribeca Grand Hotels towards a more vibrant downtown scene, focusing on the arts, music, fashion and contemporary culture.
Born and raised in Australia, Julie graduated from the National School of Design at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Julie then deepened her extensive understanding of hospitality membership as the Marketing & Member Relations Manager at the Soho House Group in both LA and New York. A 6 year resident of NYC, Julie is currently based at NeueHouse New York while working on this year’s launch of NeueHouse Los Angeles and London.
THC: What inspires you and why?
JN: I find spontaneity very inspiring and two of my favourite manifestations of that spirit are rap music and polaroid cameras. For my twelfth birthday my brother bought me my first CD, Wu Tang Clan’s “Wu Tang Forever”. I think he thought I’d hate it so he could keep it, but I ended up being so intrigued by its intensity and complexity. Thus my love for rap music began… and perhaps my rebellious streak as well. The spontaneity of rap music and the inherent “something from nothing” element of the medium feel very similar to taking Polaroids. Photography is all about capturing spur of the moment images, however like any great storytelling, there is some patience needed for proper unveiling.
THC: How did you get into your business?
JN: It has always been about those special moments. I moved to New York in my early 20s thinking I would be capturing those moments. Armed with one SLR, two Polaroids, and three Lomography cameras, I aspired to be the next Ellen Von Unwerth. Then I had a revelation that I was less enamoured with capturing those moments than I was by actually creating them. And that’s how I evolved into the marketing and communication design which for me is the opportunity to create a unique intersection between people, spaces and things.
THC: What are you working on right now?
JN: Right now I’m focused on NeueHouse’s Los Angeles launch and the digital art installation that will weave elements of old Hollywood in with our new way of living and working. Unfortunately, I must remain a bit vague here, but it will develop more clearly soon.
THC: How do you see your space evolving?
JN: With Los Angeles on the horizon and our London location just announced, things are evolving globally right now. I think it really speaks to an increasing desire for this kind of “private work collective” where creatives feel like they have a home wherever their business takes them.
THC: Who’s your hero or icon?
JN: I’m really inspired by Wes Anderson and the deep and bountiful worlds he creates in his films. You can discover something new with each viewing and I really appreciate that incredible attention to detail.
THC: Where’s your favourite spot around the world?
JN: I’m currently going through quite an obsession with The Catskills. The mountain range is so accessible from New York City but provides such a restorative contrast to the city. I obviously love the energy that city life provides, but there is something essential about getting back to basics and finding that energy within. Making your own fire. Cooking your own meals. Getting truly grounded.
THC: What’s your favourite injection of culture into a brand?
JN: Although they aren’t as prevalent these days, I’ve always loved movie soundtracks and the way people can engage with them before the film even comes out. This music that was ostensibly designed or curated for a specific narrative can often be so versatile and narrate your own personal story or emotional escape. Soundtrack albums feel like a dying art these days but I am still a big supporter.