Roxanne McClaren on the Art School-Real World Knowledge Gap, Where Creativity Meets Business, and More.

. 5 min read

Roxanne McClaren is the founder of We're All Creative, a platform and podcast dedicated to connecting and celebrating creative women. Here we chat about how she got started and why, and what creativity really means. Connect with Roxanne on Instagram at @wereallcreative and @roxannemcclaren.

I’d love to start out by having you introduce yourself — who is Roxanne McClaren? What lights her up?

My name is Roxanne McClaren. I am 24 years old and 2 years out of college. I went to art school and have been in Philadelphia ever since! While in art school I quickly realized that there was a severe lack in directions I could go as a creative person once I entered the real world. The only paths I could see were being a studio artist or a graphic designer – both of which are great but definitely not for everyone. So, I declared a double major in advertising. I was out of school for two years and was convinced I needed to be the resource that I didn’t have for other creative women who feel the same way I did. So, I decided I wanted to interview women in all types of creative industries to get their take, their experience, and their advice on how other creative women can pursue their dreams. After the first interview, I knew I needed to make a podcast. There was just too much quality content in what my interviewee was saying to not give her entire recording to the public. I asked her permission, and now I just finished recording episode 31 of the We’re All Creative podcast. I honestly can’t believe it. I have always been extroverted and I feel like what I am doing now with We’re All Creative is the perfect combination of creativity and connecting with other women. It gives me energy as soon as I start working on it and I light up inside everyday knowing I am providing not only myself but other women with the content they need to be inspired in their pursuit to a creative career.

Now, I’d love to rewind the clock and go back to your childhood. Could you tell us a bit about young Roxanne? What did she do for fun? Was she especially creative? Did she come from a creative household?

I actually have a really interesting childhood now that I think about it. I’ve always been someone of many many interests. I played 4 different sports, was a mini artist and did theatre in school. I even took voice lessons. I’ve always had a knack for doing things all the time. I like to be busy and that’s why I think my brain now is an ongoing stream of ideas and dreams. I had super supportive parents growing up, which is a lot to say for someone who wanted to go into the arts. My mom always wanted me to continue to draw, to join a band, to practice piano, to do theatre. I consider myself to have been an extremely lucky child because my parents never gave me a weird look or put down my aspirations as a creative. I know for a fact that’s why I am where I am now. When I wanted to go to art school, they were excited!

How did you come to found We’re All Creative? Do you remember the moment you decided to take the first step to creating this platform?

We’re All Creative started pretty quickly. I NEEDED an outlet from the job I was at and running something like this felt like exactly what I needed. Like I said a bit earlier, We’re All Creative started as a pretty strong idea. I knew I wanted to interview women. What I didn’t know was where that was going to end up. I originally wanted to record interviews with creative women, and then write blog posts/articles about the interview. After that first one, I knew I couldn’t do only that. I couldn’t take this woman’s interview and strip it of everything that made it special –her voice, her personality, her passion. I felt that simply making a blog post about it wouldn’t be enough…so 5 minutes after realizing that, I was setting up my podcast platform. It was truly the best decision I have ever made. I really encourage people to act on their intuition because mine has brought me to the most special place.

What does We’re All Creative mean to you? What’s your mission with the platform?

We’re All Creative is really the essence of who I am as a human and who I want to be in this world. That sounds intense, but what I mean is that everything I put forward on that platform really does come from a place of love and care. I want to give creatives the resources and knowledge that I didn’t have. I also want to introduce them to women they can look up to and be inspired by. There are so many people in this world that think creativity isn’t serious and that it’s not an actual occupation – I’m here to change that. I’ve never felt like I had more of a purpose than when I’m doing anything that involves WAC. There is so much more I want to do with this platform and I cannot wait to see what happens next.


**Over the course of your interviews, have you noticed a common struggle that creative women face? How can we overcome this?**

YES, absolutely. A ton of creative women struggle in the business aspect of things…and this is simply because they were never taught that creativity was a busy (or at least that’s been my experience). There were never programs that introduced creatives to the business world and I think that’s a huge issue. These women have such talents and the mere fact that they haven’t been taught (some of who went to school for art, including myself) how business and creativity can coincide. The reason for that? Until very recently, creatives weren’t taken seriously…therefore they weren’t given the proper tool or resources to build from. It’s STILL an ongoing issue.

Why do you think some people don’t identify as creative, and why do you believe we all are?

There’s always been a really narrow outlook on what “creativity” means. At the end of all of my podcast episodes I ask each woman what creativity means to them. This has been the best question I could ever ask because not only are they able to share their own idea of this, but it enables us to reimagine what creativity means in general. It’s not sectioned off only to people who draw and paint or even sculpt. There is a lot of creativity in every avenue of life. Problem solving…that’s what creativity is to me. And everyone problem solves.

Have you ever been disconnected from your own creativity? If so, how did you tap back into it? How can we all tap back into our creativity if we’ve “lost” it?

Absolutely. I struggled for a bit when I felt boxed in. The worst thing you can do to an inherently creative person is stick them in a box. When I feel like I don’t have room to grow or express myself, I get very frustrated. I say, if you EVER feel like you are losing sight of your creativity, get an outlet immediately. It doesn’t matter what that outlet is, just get one. The more you can push yourself to do something that’s not mundane, the more you can access your creative genius.

What’s a notable lesson you’ve learned on your journey with We Are Creative?

That there is nothing better than learning from others. Truly. I have learned so much from chatting with all these different women. You can learn something from everyone. Go out of your way to meet new people and get ahold of their mindset, their passions, their personality. You will be surprised how much it affects you!

Finally, what do you believe makes a fulfilling life?

Every day I wonder if my life is fulfilled, and I truly believe that to live a fulfilling life, you have to be okay with knowing that life changes. You have to understand that it’s not over till it’s over. You have to be open to new experiences and people. Do what you love with who you love when you love to do it.

Connect with Roxanne on Instagram at @roxannemcclaren / @wereallcreative, and jumpstart your creative career by listening to her podcast, We're All Creative, here.