What do you do?
Hi, I’m Nelly, and I head up editorial at T Brand Studio in London, it’s the global branch of The New York Times’s in-house branded content and creative agency, where I oversee all international content. We specialize in creating tailored multimedia programs for brands, which ultimately maximize audience engagement.
Prior to that, I spent six years at Monocle magazine covering luxury retail, fashion, culture and design. I also set up Monocle’s first Canadian bureau in Toronto and am the founding editor of the on-going Monocle Travel Guide Series w/ Gestalten.
What else should we know about you?
I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to languages and speak Portuguese and French, besides my native Bulgarian of course. Can also read Russian and Spanish… so watch your lingo when around me 😉 Haha and I am horrid at Karaoke, but still love going…
What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I first visited New York back in 2002 and fell in love instantly. Later on when I was based in Toronto w/ Monocle Magazine, I was coming over quite often be it for work or play; I also edited the NY Travel Guide we did in 2015. Now I am back in London, but have been lucky enough to come to New York super often especially now when I’m with the NYT.
Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
Well, the tube (ahem the subway) is probably the only thing that I can say with certainty we’ve done better in London – ours is quicker, cleaner, more efficient and also NYC commuters seem sort of… angry most of the time.
I do love how 24/7 New York is, kind of a cliché, but in London everything closes so early; you can’t expect to have a sit-down dinner at 9:30-10pm, which now when I think about it is probably healthier, but still good to know you have options.
How can the two cities better engage with each other?
I think we should invest more in good quality culture-exchange gigs. I love what Frieze London are doing in New York, but we are still missing a similar NYC-born event in London… We just need a more direct input between the two cities and I would love to see better support of talented independent artists on both sides of the pond.
Favorite NYC secret spot:
Not sure how secret it is as I hear it was a ‘thing’ a couple of years back, but I just discovered Attaboy – it’s a speak-easy bar on Eldridge St, top-notch service and the cocktails were to die for!
Favourite London secret spot:
Again not a very secret spot if you’re a real Londoner, but I love the Garrison in Bermondsey, they serve yum dishes, and the tables have secret drawers where diners can leave (or read) a personal note to their future selves or other visitors. There is also a cute private screening room.
Art-wise, if you’re looking for something newer, check-out the Newport Street gallery, it opened end of 2015 and is by Damian Hirst, not a huge fan of the man himself, but the space is amazing (the staircase!!) and it’s worth a visit to Vauxhall, currently on display is Jeff Koons.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That’s the million-dollar question. The answer to this changes all the time… and to be honest the more I travel, the more unsettled I feel. I love the US West Coast for the beaches and the vastness of scenery, Sicily for the food, Toronto for the ease of life and all my friends there, Copenhagen ‘coz it’s uber cool’ and people are the nicest (sorry Toronto!) and am now in London… So this is TBC, but most likely it’d be a combo of places.
In flight entertainment:
What’s playing in your headphones right now, and what are you reading?
The Morning They Came for Us, the latest by Janine Di Giovanni – a super brave war journalist, I had the pleasure to meet while doing my masters and have followed and admired her ever since.