We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Rueff and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heidi, how do you think about risk?
I take the risks I do, because I know in the end I’ll have learned valuable lessons and pushed myself and my talents to go places they never would have gotten to on their own. For instance, when I chose to leave my job in the entertainment industry for aerospace, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know the first thing about aerospace. What I did know though, is that this would be the chance to really expand my talents in a field that is undeniably cool. Now, I’m painting original artwork on rockets, I have my own apparel line at my company, and I’m designing our mission patches. I may not have fully realized at the time the fruits this risk would offer, but I knew it would send me down a new path and it was well worth it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an Art Director for Virgin Orbit. I literally fell into this position a few years ago and I could not be more grateful that this happened. I had always worked in the entertainment and fashion industries, but one day I happened to come across a posting for a designer position at Virgin Orbit. I really didn’t know anything about the company, other than it was owned by Richard Branson, and I really didn’t know anything about aerospace. I couldn’t tell you what possessed me to apply, but I did on a total whim. Now I realize, this was the best thing that ever happened to me. Stepping into aerospace was weird for sure. Designers and brand bibles aren’t so much a thing here. I was shocked when I designed things and my only feedback was ‘this is great! but you have a typo here….’ I fully took advantage of this. I like to think that I helped build and solidify our brand into something aspirational and badass. I started mingling with the engineers and figuring out what we could do to set us apart from the Blue Origins and SpaceXs of the world. We started collaborating on projects like painting the fins of our rocket (with my own original artwork!) and making patches and shirts for different teams across the company. I even got the chance to go to our test site to sift through rocket debris to make a special memento for our teammates. It’s not always sunshine and roses though. I feel like I’m still training teammates on the importance of design. It’s not just to make things look cool, it also helps tell the story of a brand. I’ve been overcoming these challenges by connecting with all different kinds of people–whether it’s creating something with them for their team or talking to them about design in general. I really believe that by showing my coworkers the importance of what me and my team does, they’re starting to understand.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love when people come to visit me in Long Beach. I genuinely feel that it is the best hidden gem in all of LA. A lot of people don’t understand what Long Beach is all about until they actually spend time here. For my deep-dive intro day first, we’d wake up and walk across the street to get coffee at my favorite spot–Portfolio. We’d sip our coffee while moseying down retro row and checking out all the vintage shops. For lunch, we’d take our bikes down to Saint & Second in Belmont shore for some mimosas and charcuterie. We’d spend the afternoon cruising the beach bike path and take a rest on the grass at Bluff Park. Dinner would take us to Sushi Mafia, just inside of downtown. This is literally the BEST sushi I’ve ever had. Afterwards, we’d grab drinks and mingle with the locals at the rooftop bar at Padre. Other things we’d have to hit throughout the week: of course a tour of our Virgin Orbit rocket factory. Catch a movie at the Art Theatre on retro row. Get some of the best tacos and margaritas from Lola’s. Bike down 1st and 2nd street admiring the beautiful houses. Walk down Broadway, stopping to admire each mural. Take Charlie to Rosies Dog Beach. Grab a growler and a garden salad from Scholb. Drool over Peruvian street food from Aji.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I don’t care how cliché this sounds, it’s 100% true. I would absolutely not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mom. She is my anchor. Even if she hated my decisions, like moving to southern California, she understood it was to make a better life for myself. All she wants is the best for me and she would do anything in her power to make sure I had the support I needed. Whether it was talking me off a ledge when I felt like I messed up, or flying down to celebrate my successes, she is always there when I need her.

Website: https://heidirueff.myportfolio.com/
Instagram: heidirueff
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidi-rueff-0157b792/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heidi.rueff/