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The Essential List: MJ Widomska



When lockdown is over, you’ll probably find the YRS TRULY founder and creative director at her local gaming bar, engaging in a group storytelling game sipping a golden ale and occasionally taking TikTok breaks

The Essential List: MJ Widomska
MJ Widomska is the founder and creative director of award-winning creative studio YRS TRULY. Leaving her native Poland for the UK at 19, she went on to launch YRS TRULY at just 23. Working with clients like giffgaff, Hasbro and ellesse, her mission is to engage audiences with ethical, diverse marketing. Financially transparent, environmentally conscious and prioritising voices often left unheard, YRS TRULY specialises in reaching Gen Zs and other conscious consumers.

She’s got brilliant taste and we’ve got proof right here.

(Above: “Here I am dressed as a 1970s talk show host for a shoot. I also dress like this in my everyday life.”)

o Place of birth and Hometown: Lublin, Poland. A lovely little city that contains 11 universities of various sizes, which makes for a very fun place to grow up in. 

o Staycation: Hastings. 
o Vacation: Not necessarily relaxing, but very fun: New York. 

o Pet: My dog John. I named him when I was 12. Here he is looking at me in disbelief as I refuse to share pizza with him.

o Place of work: I absolutely love our office in Dalston – it’s a collaborative space run by a brilliant charity, and it’s full of like-minded ethical businesses. I got to furnish it, so there’s a Lord of the Rings poster, a Legolas figurine, a figurine of The Witcher and a life-sized magic wand (doesn’t work, unfortunately). 

o Place of workout: I don’t work out, I’m sorry. It’s just not my thing. I walk a lot and very rarely play Ring Fit Adventure on Nintendo Switch. 
o Side project: Hard to pick, there’s so many – but my favourite is ASAP PLZ, a retro game about working in marketing we created in partnership with digital co-op Good Praxis. 
o Mode of transport: I always either walk or take a train – I don’t like cars or buses very much, and I’m too scared to cycle in London because of my very poor reflexes. 
o Bonus travel essential: Every time I fly, I take a ridiculous plane plush toy with me. Last time I flew across the Atlantic, it rolled to the back of the plane while I was asleep and I had to claim it from the cabin crew, who assumed it belonged to a child. It didn’t. 


o Artist: My grandma died recently, and she was a brilliant painter. One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing her open her own exhibition and just thinking she’s the coolest person in the world. Here’s some of her work.

o Musician: I can’t pick. I just can’t. R. Stevie Moore possibly, but I just can’t pick. Let’s say R. Stevie Moore. 
o Illustrator: I think Dale Crosby-Close is great. 

o Photographer: I love Ada Zielinska’s work, especially her ‘My dad was a firefighter’ series. Really cool stuff. 
o Film: Shockingly, I don’t really watch a lot of films – I prefer either reading or playing video games, so if I had to pick something, it would probably be really lame (like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter). So I won’t, to avoid public ridicule. 
o Series: Fleabag. 
o Commercial: This​ Christmas ad from Allegro has to be my favourite, even though I usually dislike ads that tug at your heartstrings (or try to). Released in the same year as Donald Trump’s presidency and the Brexit vote, it shows a very different side of immigration – one we don’t talk about a lot. 

o Music video: Not a very revolutionary answer, but Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al ​video is the best. I think about it all the time. 

o Video game: It’s a two-way tie between The Witcher 3 and Divinity 2 Original Sin. 
o Board game: Once Upon a Time – a very underrated but extremely fun storytelling game, that I always force my friends and co-workers to play with me. It’s hard to find, but once the lockdown is over, you can find it at Loading Bar.
o Book: I read a lot, so it’s absolutely impossible to pick a favourite! I’ve just finished Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman which I really liked, and I’m currently mid-way through Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones which is incredibly eye-opening (even though I’m about 10 years late to it). 
o Magazine: I read Polygon every day. 
o Bonus culture essential: ContraPoints ​on YouTube for video essays on social issues, ethics and philosophy. 

Food and Drink

o Breakfast: It used to be a takeaway coffee and a croissant, but breakfast rules don’t exist in the quarantine. This morning I started my day with a tofu hot dog. 
o Restaurant: Mildreds for the best faux chicken in the world, My Neighbours the Dumplings for great dim sum. 
o Cheap bite: Gadz Cafe in Finsbury Park. 
o Working lunch: I’m lucky to have my office bang in the middle of Dalston which gives me access to some spectacular eateries. I usually go for a sandwich from The Dusty Knuckle or a vegan Ethiopian dish from Andu Cafe. 

A Dusty Knuckle sandwich, circa April 2019. 

o Favourite dish: Vietnamese noodle salad with tofu. 
o Signature dish: I can’t cook, so... grilled cheese? 
o Snack: Tony Chocolonely, milk chocolate with salted caramel. So good! 
o Bar: So many: Loading Bar, Ridley Road Market Bar, The Axe N16, Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Dalston Roof Park, The Star by Hackney Downs, and I probably forgot about approximately twenty other excellent bars and pubs. 

o Booze: Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. So good. 
o Not booze: Dalston’s sodas are great, especially if you’re looking to break up with sugary soft drinks. 
o Bonus food: I recently tried This Isn’t Chicken and now I recommend it to everyone. If you’re vegetarian, vegan or reducing your meat intake, it’s great in wraps or salads or just on its own. 
o Bonus beverage: A margarita. I miss margaritas. 


o Phone: I use an iPhone XS and I have no complaints. 
o Computer: I have a Macbook Pro for day-to-day stuff and a PC I built with friends for gaming.
o Where you document an idea: I use GoodNotes on my iPad with an Apple Pencil, which automatically syncs to my phone. It makes my life 10 times easier. 
o Casual clothing: Vintage and second hand. Beyond Retro and Depop are great. 
o Smart clothing: Same as above! 
o App: My most used app currently is TikTok. I’m ashamed, but only a little bit. 
o Morning grooming / makeup essential: Sunscreen! If you don’t use sunscreen, please start – it’s going to save your skin. Make sure it’s SPF 50+!
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