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Ruby Norman-Curran

Senior Copywriter at Droga5

Ruby Norman-Curran - She/Her

Senior Copywriter at Droga5


Ruby Norman-Curran is an award-winning, neurodivergent writer and performer. She is a StorySLAM winner for The Moth podcast, an award winning short story author, a published poet, an award winning advertising copywriter, Google RARE alum and one of Campaign's 2021 Future Leaders. Ruby works in advertising as a senior copywriter and Associate Creative Director for Droga5 London, and is also the co-founder and host of Sledgehammer, a music video night based in London and Amsterdam. She is the host of Burst, a podcast she created with "influential feminist" Laura Jordan Bambach (due out next year) and the co-creator of The Fever Dream Journal.


Please tell us about your career

People are often surprised when I say I’m a dyslexic writer, the two aren’t considered to be particularly compatible, so I’m proud that I never let that hold me back.

I work in the advertising industry, which means no day is the same. Like a lot of neurodivergent people I can’t stand being bored, my brain needs a lot of stimulation to stay interested, so this works for me, I’m constantly switching up projects and clients, no two days are the same.

I didn’t have the first clue about how to get a job in advertising, so I did what I knew and went back to uni to do an MA, which helped me build a portfolio and find a partner. After that we were lucky enough to get a book crit at London advertising agency Quiet Storm, and lucky(?) enough that the creatives were insanely busy and had to delay our crit for a couple of hours – time we spent sitting in reception researching their clients and doing a bunch of spec work for them. By the time we had our crit we had a whole bunch of ideas specifically catered to this agency. The Creative Director grabbed one and went “This could actually work for the campaign we’re working on… and we’re low on activations. Can you be working for us by tomorrow?” And that was how we got our first placement, which turned into our first job.

I didn’t choose an easy career path in many ways, but I chose something that worked for me; that made the most of my unusual thought processes and was tolerant of my more chaotic tendencies (thank god for Production and the Accounts Department who have the unenviable task of wrangling the Creatives). I wouldn’t be where I am without some very organised folks keeping me on the path, it’s a group effort.

I hope that when I step into another leadership role in the future I will be able to nurture talent of all kinds, including neurodivergent talent. I’ve always been involved with various support and affinity groups including the neurodivergent groups at Wieden And Kennedy and The & Partnership and I hope to use my learnings to continue to develop a more inclusive industry.

I’m also due to publish my first poetry book with my writing collective ‘The Imposter Poets’ (@theimposterpoets on instagram) this year, which will be a big milestone for this dyslexic writer, so give us a follow if you like poetry, vaguely bitter hot girl sh**, adorable nerdy book stuff, the environment (who doesn’t like the environment?) or have a passing interest in the occult. But seriously, every ‘follow’ makes my day.


How has being Neurodivergent shaped the direction of your career?

I was told that I wouldn't ever be good with words, so I became a writer out of spite and love.

I adore language, but there was a hefty dose of stubbornness involved with my literature degree and jobs as a copywriter and poet. I guess something in me wanted to prove the world wrong - so that oh-so-neurodivergent rebelliousness has got me far. I wanted to prove that I, and others like me, could do unexpected things and I wanted to open a dialogue about how society dumbs down a diagnosis to one thing, like 'Oh you're dyslexic? You won't like words then' or 'Oh you're on the autism spectrum? I guess you can't empathise'. It's so much more complicated than that, and some stereotypes are just wrong, but most people don't question it until someone they know challenges it. It pushes me to try new things (with varying degrees of success) & it's meant I've had to get comfortable with failure (urgh). But failure is key. When you're less afraid to fail, you create more interesting work. And in my industry, that's what it's all about.

Do you feel that your job/industry is a good fit for an ND woman?

It’s not easy but there are quite a few neurodivergent folk in advertising, particularly the creative department, as it’s a job that celebrates different shaped thinking. A lot of ND women grew up feeling weird, I certainly did, but if you find the right agency and people that weirdness can translate into brilliantly creative work that stands out in a crowd.


What advice would you give to another Neurodivergent woman navigating their way through life?

I'd advise them to get online. TikTok and Instagram are revolutionising the idea of community, there's such an amazing range of content available now and it can really help seeing your weird, niche truths on screen in such an approachable way. Super validating. I've got my algorithm trained up now (yey algorithms!) and this has been equally as important to my journey as official health professionals and books.

There's also been a big move towards describing being neurodivergent as a 'super power' and the thinking behind this is really positive; there are undoubtedly neurodivergent strengths and these should be celebrated in a professional setting. However, this language can make people feel like they're only valid if they can do things better than others, and that is unhelpful (particularly if you are working your arse off to just get by in a world that isn't designed for you). So don't feel discouraged if you keep hearing this "super power" discussion and it just doesn't resonate. You're enough.


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