CreateHER: Yolo Ono

Yolo Ono is a lot of things. Mostly, an eclectic DJ who has earned her stripes on the music scene, performing with acts like VanJess, UNIIQU3, Masego, Princess Nokia & more. From 9-5 though, she is the Director of Marketing & Digital at atmos USA – a global apparel and sneaker boutique pushing the boundaries of streetwear fashion.

We talked with Yolo Ono about her work, her successes and the pressure that comes with operating in a male-dominated industry.

What do you love most about being a woman in the creative industry?

Challenging people’s preconceived notion of how a woman can or should be, and building community and sisterhood across creative practices.

By day, you spearhead all of the marketing and digital campaigns at atmos and most recently launched atmos Women’s specifically centered around women consumers and designers. Why was this project so special to you?

First of all, having worked in marketing for so long, it’s a real treat when you get to flex your skills and muscles on projects where you are the target consumer. The approach is more intuitive since you know the subject matter intimately. Another incredibly rewarding aspect of the project was being able to collaborate with and compensate over 30 women-owned, founder-led businesses across DC, Philly, and NYC, elevating their work with the atmos platform. Lastly, representation and acknowledgement goes a long way - women sneakerheads and streetwear consumers have been vastly overlooked for years, and have been craving stories & places that invite them in in a meaningful way. Very grateful for the male allies and powerful women across the atmos team that worked tirelessly to bring atmos Women’s to the US and make the launch moment so impactful!

How did you get into DJing? How do you feel like the space women DJs occupy is evolving? 

I was fortunate to be mentored by another female DJ over 12 years ago. Back then, equipment was a massive barrier to entry, and the industry was far more gatekept. Now, with controllers and and great spaces like REC, you can really jump in much easier. This sort of democratization changes the accessibility of the industry, and I see this as a good thing. With more talent & more women in the field, we’re empowered to show up dimensionally. I’ve been included on many lineups that are all women, and it’s incredible to see the diversity and creative expression between so many different women.

What pressures have you felt being a woman in the creative industry? 

As a woman in any industry, you will always be grossly underestimated, unfortunately. You’ll have expectations set on you that you’ll need to be comfortable disappointing & disrupting. And in creative careers, there will always be people who insist on pinning your success to a man: whether that’s a producer, manager, or other role. But all that pressure makes diamonds. Through the criticism and doubters, you develop your voice and confidence. And a woman who knows the power of her own voice is truly unstoppable.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Be patient on the journey. Your creative powers are taking shape in the most mundane of activities.

All the experiences you’re going through, no matter how painful, are planting a seed that will blossom into something you can’t even imagine yet. 

Many people will tell you how you should show up as a woman, and respectfully: f*ck them. 

What’s a song that you have in rotation right now? 

This Bomb is Mine by CINTHIE - I’m a huge fan of hers, she’s a powerhouse DJ, owns a label and a record store in Berlin.

Check out Yolo Ono:

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