Simone Ancelet is a business development manager at brandRUSSO. She spends her days talking to potential clients and generating new business, and she loves it. Simone is a people-person — and that’s putting it mildly. She loves to connect and learn. She is still working during this strange time and those at RUSSO are making sure they are “giving themselves all the love and attention they give to clients”.
Simone is very proud to be from here, and to be part of this community. She is raising her children to be aware of the culture that they will carry forward. She is positive and passionate and is one of those people that naturally shines.
What was your first job? Hostess at Hub City Diner. I soon became a waitress. I loved the crowd there. I loved the jukebox, the church rush, and the kitchen staff. I loved the way my feet would ache after a double shift. My co-workers were pretty awesome, which made any busy shift a ton of fun. This is where I realized that no matter what I did in my life, I needed to be surrounded by movement and people. The constant buzz in that restaurant gave me a positive energy I thrived off of then, and still do to this day.
Describe a typical day in your life. Wake-up, make coffee, get the kids and myself ready, fed (with Louis’ help) and out the house. I usually drop off the girls at school. Head downtown to work at RUSSO, a branding agency. Each day at work looks a little different. One day can be all about meetings with potential clients, prepping strategic briefs and the next could be about internal team planning. It’s fun to be close to both a creative and strategic process on a daily basis. I try to fit lunches and community events where I can. I also try to give a passion project, ZydeGeaux Vote, some of my time and attention as well. Oh, and I manage DJ Digital as a side hustle, so sometimes I find myself negotiating his bookings or overall branding. After work, I pick-up our 3-year-old son. Once I’m home, we either make dinner, eat leftovers or walk over to our neighbors (my in-laws) to see what’s cooking. Evenings are spent sharing moments from our day. We always wrap-up with a bedtime routine before we do it all over again the next day.
What advice would you give the younger you? “Babe, none of this matters like you think it matters.”
What event in your life most shaped who you are now? First and foremost, joining my life with my husband, Louis, and becoming a mother. When I met Louis (and his family shortly after), I saw my future with them. His first language was Cajun French. I was taken aback with the richness of our own culture being honored in their home. I became a mother relatively young and motherhood has forced me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. As a result of being forced out, I grew. In a more recent life event, I lost my cousin, Dom, to suicide. Nothing you’ve been through can prepare you for that kind of grief. “It hurts to live after someone has died, it just does.” I forget where I heard that, but man, so true. These events represent the highs and lows of life. Both have shaped me. Both have softened me and hardened me. But above all, through the joy and pain, I’m reminded what it feels like to be alive.
What values do you live by? 1. Give people their flowers now, while they can still smell them; 2. Try to leave people, a place, anything, better than you found it; 3. Laugh it off and laugh at yourself. So thankful that my parents instilled a sense of humor in me.
What do you most appreciate? I most appreciate genuine interactions with people. I can’t think of many other things I appreciate more than when people share their stories with me.
What is your favorite journey? My favorite journey is the journey of parenthood with Louis. I love watching him grow as a father. Together we get to experience the unconditional and transforming love of three sweet kids.
Where is your favorite place to be alone? My back porch. It’s not a place I’m alone often, as a little person is always looking for me. But those moments where I find myself alone, I take everything in.
What living figure most inspires you? I’m currently reading "Becoming" by Michelle Obama, so right now, her.
What was the best advice you were ever given? “You’re young. Go see what’s out there for you. You will find your purpose being true to yourself.”
“Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.”
What book would you tell everyone to read? "Tuesdays with Morrie." If you can’t read it, ask yourself these questions: "Have you found someone to share your heart with? Are you giving to your community? Are you at peace with yourself? Are you trying to be as human as you can be?"
What is the best thing about where you live? The inside jokes we share as a region. I can say “shoulda took 90” in almost any room down here and get a laugh.
How do you "let the good times roll"? Well, I definitely know how to let the “bon temps rouler,” if I do say so myself. It can be done any number of ways; live music, hiking, camping, pool side, Saints games, letting it all hang out at any local festival. Just show me the dance floor.
What did you want to be when you grew up? First female President. I should add that I grew up watching my father as a public servant. It was inspiring to witness his commitment to make our community in St. Martin Parish a better place. I was drawn to the idea of standing up for what you believe in and waking up each day to fight for it from a young age. Growing up with this mentality is what taught me to dream big or go home. VOTE4ME.
What is your motto? “Make the best of it.”
How would you like to be remembered? In the face of adversity, I try to ask myself: “Are you part of the problem, or the solution?” I want to be remembered as someone who was always part of the latter.
What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself? “Too late now, gotta jump.” And, “own it.”
What three things are vital to BEing YOU? 1. Family and friends; 2. A dope playlist; 3. An outfit I put together that is just perfect.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Oh my god.” “I know.” “Girl.”
What is your favorite word? Fonk.
What do you collect? Lately, recipes.
What food could you live on for a month? Eggs from our chicken coop. I could boil em, scramble em, and fry em.
What would you change about yourself? I either care a lot, or not at all. I’m constantly in search of that middle ground.
What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with? Moana. Her journey is one of inner strength. Plus, the soundtrack is bomb.
Describe yourself in five words. Willing; civic-minded; self-aware; resilient; imaginative.
What is your idea of happiness? My idea of happiness is having everything I need with the people I love the most.
What is your favorite movie? "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a favorite. Me and Louis watch it periodically and I swear we laugh harder each time. It’s a great depiction of a big, loud, loving family that is proud of where they come from.
What music defines who you are? Music in general defines me. In fact, many of my close friends were brought to me by music in some way. I love discovering and sharing sounds and lyrics that move me. My Morning Jacket has been a big one for me over the past decade. Favorite album, "Okonokos Live."
When Beyonce left her record label, I loved everything she had to say. I still love what she uses her platform to shed light on. Favorite Album, "Homecoming Live."
Who is your style icon? Zendaya. I’d love to play in her closet for a day.
What do you most regret? Not having Taylor Swift dance parties with my cousin Dom while I had the chance.
What question do you wish I'd asked? Did you bake a pie today?
What would the answer be? Yes, a delicious lemon pie.