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November 09, 2020

Five Questions with Fri Forjindam: Mycotoo’s Chief Development Officer

Pioneering women and her own “fearless” daughter inspire INVT21 Speaker Fri Forjindam to live an uncompromising creative life.

A trailblazing themed entertainment executive. A change agent. A recipient of the “Top 50 Theme Park Influencer” distinction by Blooloop. INVT21 speaker Fri Forjindam has forged an impressive career path with experience that spans multiple industries including theater, fashion, publishing, and experiential storytelling.

Currently she serves as chief development officer at Mycotoo, Inc., a leader in themed entertainment, live events, and immersive brand experiences. Through their offices in Pasadena and Barcelona, Fri focuses on driving business development, branding, and communications across Mycotoo’s growing global network. 

Below, Fri answered some of our questions about boldly living a creative life. We’re looking forward to hearing more of her insights on January 14, when she’ll talk with us about “#AuthenticAF: The New Design Hashtag in a Post-COVID World.”

What did 2020 bring into focus for you that you want to Re:Make, Re:Think, Re:Imagine, or Re:Design for 2021?

I want to re-imagine how we represent our stories in 2021. As designers, we are mirror storytellers to the worlds around us. We need to be aspirational in our design while staying true to the full picture, not just the one that suits the bottom line.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

Scary, because every new venture is a clean slate, and there’s nothing more invigorating and crippling than a blank page. I wasted so much time in my 20s trying to direct experiences to fit others’ expectations, which would sometimes feel like a compromise. In my 30s, I realized how much more fulfilling it is to approach each blank page by speaking, drawing, and envisioning/manifesting from a place of truth, and then allowing the influences and adjustments you can’t control to come as they come.

How or where do you find inspiration?

In my kids, in my fearless daughter who’s 10 and not afraid to be “too much.” 

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

Learning to get out of my own way on my first role as a creative director in a theme park. Danger is real, but Imposter Syndrome is a choice.

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always found ways to heighten reality. I was so conflicted about whether I was “creative” or not, that in high school—feeling like I had to choose between the school play and AP course activities—I actually took an online assessment. I passed that assessment overwhelmingly, and would still go on to pursue pre-medicine in college. The truth is, we’re all creative. We are all born with an abstract and unconventional filter. Over time that filter gets sculpted, shut down, narrowed, and distilled to fit what’s considered a normal career path. I was just fortunate enough that the theater not only found me, but made such a lasting and intoxicating impression that, no matter how much I denied it, I always found my way back a more heightened and story-driven filter in which I chose to cope with and experience the world.

Bonus Round: Who are some of your heroes and why?

Oprah Winfrey, Christiane Amanpour, and my mother. All three of them, in their own ways, decided that rather than wait for an invitation to the big boys’ table, to instead build, own, and copyright their own tables.