Anna Zajac

What brought you to Chicago?

I originally came to Chicago to work for a branding & marketing agency called VSA Partners. My background is in graphic design.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the Cleveland Ohio area and proud of it!

What do you find challenging about living here?

To be honest, dating in the city has been horrible. I wasn't expecting that when I first moved here. I have slowly loved embracing the lifestyle being single in the city though. You can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. It feels liberating and has really allowed me to peer inside myself and ask "who am I becoming?"

What are some of the reasons you love it?

I love Chicago because it is such a collaborative, midwest city! I have met so many super kind and talented creatives and business owners here. Chicago is a little more laid back than New York or LA. My ambitions sometimes get me wishing that I lived somewhere else, but I think I'll be the happiest in the midwest. I think that's why I stay. Chicago will always be home base, but work may keep me traveling which isn't so bad :)

Why do you stay?

See answer above!!

How has community affected your time here?

See answer above!!

Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community (specifically in the circle of people you spend time with)? How does it inspire you?

I'm inspired most by the honesty of the community I'm surrounded by. The truth is most everyone who is self-employed / creative hustler like me is always trying to figure out their next move. Nobody "has it all together" which is refreshing to come to terms with.

When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?

When I have a camera in my hand or when I'm throwing ceramics these days...

Has living in the city affected your style and the way you approach your day-to-day look? If so, how?

I definitely wear more black now than I ever have. I do have a crazy orange winter coat though and I like the sunshine it gives off. It is rare when I see another orange winter coat here so that definitely has left an impression on my Chicago style ha!

If you're up for it, would you share a specific story about an encounter you've had in Chicago that has moved you/stayed with you?

I have been most moved by the dreams I have seen come to reality here. I remember first taking the brown line into the loop and crossing over the Chicago river in between the Merch Mart and Washington/Wells stops. I remember looking at that dreamy view of Chicago with the river and the buidlings and feeling in awe of the opportunity here as well as intimidated by it. This past summer I was getting ready to shoot a first look for a wedding at the corner of Clark & Wacker (which is in that same view I had from the train) and I thought "This is it! I'm living into my dreams. I'm here in Chicago doing what I love and making a living from it. What the heck!!" It feels super humbling and rewarding to be experiencing that!!