Dec 31, 2022 • 14M

E04: Roses, Thorns & Buds 2022

Featuring an Emmy-award winning TV producer, illustrators, activists, and more

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Cool Girls Co
Listen to interviews from creators, new music from artists, and stories to inspire you...while you create! Hosted by Ruth Isabel Guerra, founder of Cool Girls Collective.
Episode details

Highs and lows from 2022, as well as what we're looking forward to in the new year. Hear from an Emmy-award winning TV producer, an actor who competed within the Miss America organization, illustrators, activists, artists, a video producer who specializes in stop motion, and a costumer who worked on a Spielberg movie!

WHILE YOU CREATE is an audio show brought to you by Cool Girls Collective — we’re a community shaping convos around creativity. You can find us at and on socials @coolgirlscollective. We have a weekly newsletter that’s filled with creative resources, open calls for art festivals and exhibitions, and content to keep you inspired.

If you like our show, be sure to leave a review or rating on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you’re listening from! Production music is by LoHi5 (

Episode Transcript

Ruth: Hello, it's me Ruth. Founder of Cool Girls Collective and your host. I have a little bit of a cold, so I apologize for that in advance. While You Create is an audio show made to be listened to while you sit at your computer or paint at your easel or do what it is that moves you creatively. I cannot believe that this is our last episode for 2022. I've had this podcast idea for a while now and I feel so fortunate to have spent these last last few months listening and learning from some pretty incredible people. For this end of the year episode, we're doing something a little special. We'll be reflecting and manifesting together. A handful of talented creatives will be sharing the roses and thorns; basically their highlights and lowlights from this past year, as well as their buds or what they're looking forward to in the new year. Thanks so much for being a listener. If you like what you've heard so far, please please share with other creatives you know and leave a rating or review on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you're listening from. It would definitely help us out a lot. I hope you all have a much-deserved restful and enjoyable New Year. Now, here are those roses, thorns, and buds.

Kareka: Hi there, my name is Kareka Green Joseph from Los Angeles and I am currently a television producer. So one of the roses that I received in 2022 was that I won my first Emmy. And I won this award with a large, collective group of people over at NBC Sports for the work we did during the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year, and it was just such an amazing feeling. It was so overwhelming in the moment, but it is definitely a moment and a time that I will cherish for the rest of my life. But of course, you can't have a rose without a few thorns here and there. And one of the thorns I went through this past year was just feeling out of place, feeling like I had boxed myself in, you know. You get sucked into your nine to five that you start to neglect yourself. You forget to nurture yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, creatively. I just felt like I wasn't good enough to do what I'm doing. And that brought about a lot of anxiety, a lot of self-doubt. Me questioning myself all the time. And that was very hard to deal with. As we get into 2023, one of the things, one of my buds that I'm really excited about is to just finally work on personal projects. Finally, taking time to nurture all of the ideas that I have and to work with other like-minded creators that are also at my level and just work on these stories and these passions that I've had for such a long time. And I just cannot wait to see what 2023 holds. So happy New Year, everyone. 

Karissa: Hi, my name is Karissa Wheeler. I'm an actor based in Nashville and New York City, an arts educator, author of the children's book Reveal of the Royal Puppy, and dog mom to Chai Rose, a two-year-old morkie. 2022 was a great year of growth both professionally and personally. I signed with my awesome manager and began working commercially and theatrically again post pandemic. I also competed within the Miss America organization and launched an arts education advocacy program called Five Till Places through my platform. However, those roses were not without thorns. Being back on the grind of auditioning brings waves of rejection and contemplation of the future. I've learned this year though that my happiness as a person is not dependent on my success as an actor. My Hope for 2023, a little bud if you will, is not just that bookings will come—which I pray that they do—but that I'll continue to focus on my full person, not just my actor self. You can't be fully dedicated to your craft if you're not fulfilled personally with things outside of the art itself. That's a big resolution for me as we go into the new year. You can follow me on Instagram @_KarissaWheeler_. You can check out my website, my IMDb and you can check out my book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or anywhere books are sold. I hope you all have a blessed 2023.

Lina: My name is Lina Ortega. I am a video producer focused in stop motion and digital motion graphics. I'm based in Barcelona, Spain. This year, I was able to continue to grow professionally in the way that I want with taking the projects that I'm truly interested in and traveling when I want, that's something that I never take for granted. Every year has its thorns and mine in 2022 was social media. I have been struggling with the pressure of its sins a long time ago and it got worse. I had convinced myself that I needed to post every day and gain more followers if I wanted to keep my job in media. This became extremely stressful and after many reality checks, I realized that I needed to stop because I was putting too much effort into it for the wrong reasons. The only thing I was getting in return was the feeling of not being good enough ever. So I stopped.  I still have many clients. I have a lot of work. I do what I actually enjoy without the burnout. During 2022, I built a baby brand alongside my partner. We launched at the end of the year. So I'm really looking forward to seeing how it grows in 2023. You can find some of my work on my website or my Instagram @linastopmotion.

Gina: My name is Gina, I can be found on Instagram under @geekytown, where I draw mainly self portraits from behind. The thorns for 2022, for me, it was moving and spending months, trying to find a new place because I decided to move and then it was a middle of a housing crisis. This kind of stifled my creativity and stoped me from doing a lot of my plans this year. But the roses for this year has been that I've been pretty productive despite this, and I wrote a story called Welcome to Geeky Town that I am hoping to have done sometime next year. And for 2023, I look forward to writing and creating more stories to hopefully create some magic moments on paper that also can be enjoyed by others. This kind of stifled my creativity and stoped me from doing a lot of my plans this year. But the roses for this year has been that I've been pretty productive despite this, and I wrote a story called Welcome to Geeky Town that I am hoping to have done sometime next year. And for 2023, I look forward to writing and creating more stories to hopefully create some magic moments on paper that also can be enjoyed by others. 

Monica: Hi, my name's Monica Mills. I'm an artist, curator and educator and event organizer and an activist. 2022 has been an amazing year. I've been very, very lucky to have three exhibitions, one called Under Construction, which was collaborative in May. My first solo show in September called Bloodlines and another collaboration in November with Raptor Terror. Thankfully I haven't had any difficulties with my art specifically this year. But I have had a lot of immigration and visa issues, which thankfully are all sorted, but took a solid four to five months. For 2023, I'm most looking forward to working with new people and kind of nurturing the baby projects that I have. At the moment they're in their infancy so I don't want to say too much. But I'm really looking forward to kind of watching them grow and seeing where they go and working with new people. You can find me on Instagram a@Monica_Mills and you can always drop me a line and ask me anything you like about queer art, getting started, and any questions about teaching, really. All the best. Bye.

Ruth: So a few folks sent the roses, thorns, and buds as messages so I'll be sharing them on their behalf. This one comes from Alyssa Mora who is an artist and designer based in Denver, Colorado. She loves lettering and typography and has been playing around with new mediums, like tufting and acrylic. Her rose is that she got a puppy this year. She also travelled a lot and made art and enjoyed some really great food. Her thorn is that she didn't spend as much time creating this year because of health issues with their family and taking care of people in general. Along with work and a new pup, balancing life and art can be stressful. But one big bud going into the new year is setting clear intentions for herself, financially and creatively. Alyssa is so excited to meet goals she set for herself in the new year. You can find more of her work on our site at and on Instagram @moralyssa.

This next one is from Polly Gregory, a costumer and costume designer in the TV and film industry. She's from Nashville, Tennessee, and went to college in Washington, DC, but currently resides in Los Angeles, California. In the theme of flowers, her rose was seeing everything she worked on in 2021 truly blossom and flourish this year. One particular highlight was seeing the release of Fabelmans, a film by Spielberg that she worked on, and then seeing her name in the credits with friends and family across the country and world. Polly also attended this year's Festival de Cannes in France where she almost couldn't go because she had to renew her passport but got it back just in the nick of time. However, in order to continue growing and to be able to take bigger opportunities, Polly had to quit her job of six years. Change is really hard but she said it was so lovely to have such a supportive space that really nurtured her until she was ready to make the jump to full-time freelancing. And her bud is that she can't wait to see the seeds she planted to flourish. Also, her friend is getting married in Spain next year, so she's really looking forward to that trip. You can find more of her work at, where she also writes about entertainment and culture or follow her on Instagram @costumesbypolly.

And finally, this last one is from me. I haven't fully introduced myself on this podcast, so maybe it's time I do just that. Hi, I'm Ruth Guerra and for the most part, I'm a textbook definition of a Sagittarius. I do a little of a lot of things. I'm a storyteller, an artist, strategist, sometimes a designer, sometimes a researcher, and founder of two creative organizations. One is a creative strategy studio called Zoetroupe and the other is a woman-driven arts community called Cool Girls Collective. I've lived on four continents throughout my life and currently reside in Prague, Czech Republic, where I'm getting my masters in design. I've had a pretty memorable 2022, I have to admit. I was is in 14 countries this year. I've always wanted to live and travel around Europe and I've been so fortunate to have done just that with my husband and our dog, as well as friends and family who visited. I even traveled to a few of those countries because I was invited to lead design workshops at conferences, an opportunity that has changed the way I think about the future of design and creativity for the better. Nevertheless, there were definitely thorns this year, too. I did some deep soul searching to figure out what kind of career I really wanted in the kind of company I wanted to work for after many sleepless nights and a lot of anxiety. I realized that my dream job at my dream company didn't exist. At least not yet. So I quit my stable job in marketing to focus on running my two businesses full time. Even though I'm a Sagittarius, I'm also a planner. I don't mind change, but I do need the security of a stable income and work. It's terrifying to go out and do my own thing. But for the first time, I'm betting on myself. Which leads me to my buds. This. You, listening to this right now. I can't even begin to express my excitement of what's to come for While You Create. We have some really great episodes about creativity we're cooking up for next year. If you want to be the first to know when future episodes drop, then head on over to and subscribe to our newsletters. Starting in January 2023, we'll be sending out a newsletter every Friday that's filled with creative resources, open calls for art festivals and exhibitions, and content to keep you inspired. So be sure to subscribe at Thanks to the artists and creators who contributed to this episode. While You Create is an audio show brought to you by Cool Girls Collective—we're a community shaping convos around creativity. If you like our show, be sure to leave a review or rating on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or wherever you're listening from. Production music is by lohi5. You can listen more on Instagram I'm your host Ruth, and I'll catch you on the flip side.