Five in Five with Alia Orra, Senior Copywriter

From our vibrant company culture to the industry-disrupting work we put out for our clients, our team is at the heart of the work we do at Interrupt. So, we thought it was vital that you get to know us as well as we get to know you.

We are introducing Senior Copywriter Alia Orra interviewed by fellow Senior Copywriter Ernest Turner in our latest Five in Five— where we catch up with one of our Interrupters for five(ish) questions in five(ish) minutes*.

How did you discover your path as a writer? Did you always have a passion for it?

I remember as a fourth-grader writing letters to the editors of magazines for advice on how to start a writing career. Every aptitude test I’ve taken since then has steered me to this path. As an adult, it looks a lot different than I imagined in childhood. First, because I don’t have to use Wite-Out or a word processor anymore (although I'm nostalgic about both tools!). Second, because I’ve experienced a “writing career” in so many formats I didn't know existed when I was a kid.

I agree. There’s no such thing as a “traditional path” for a writer these days. Can you tell us a little more about your experience?

I got my start at the Toledo City Paper. I’d knocked on a lot of proverbial doors and hadn’t gotten any answers, so it was momentous when the publisher there took a chance on me. Up to that point, I had been putting away a lot of $1 DVDs as a Family Video clerk.

At the paper, I cut my teeth on restaurant reviews and lifestyle pieces and then moved into writing jobs for nonprofit brands—first at the Toledo Museum of Art and later at the University of Michigan.

Who or what has been your biggest influence?

My parents, not just in the career sense, but because I’ve discovered in my thirties that, no matter how hard you try, you are bound to become them.

What’s one thing that fuels your creativity?

Walks to the shop down the street to replenish my gummy bear supply. Surefire cure for writer’s block.

In addition to gummy bears, you also love to travel. Can you tell us about some of your favorite travel destinations? And where are you headed next?

I really like to stay long enough in a place for it to influence me and my thinking. I spent six months in Lebanon in my twenties—Lebanon is where my parents emigrated from—and it made me feel more capable and independent. I’m hoping to spend some extended time in Spain. Maybe because my parents weren’t native to the place they called home, I now embrace the idea of being foreign in my own life. It feels more comfortable than trying to fit in.

What are you looking forward to most about 2021?

I’m not yet wise enough to give up on creating a laundry list of resolutions every first of January. So I’m mostly mourning the fact that the first half of 2021 is already over.

What excites you most about being an Interrupter?

The people. My colleagues challenge me and push me to do better work, which creates a really compelling environment. They’re also full of exciting quirks I’m still discovering—a former polka dancer, a poet, a cat rescuer, a professor—and I’m enjoying learning them all.

*Following the rules has never been our strong suit at Interrupt. The following interview is longer than five questions because great conversations should never be cut short (so sue me). But it shouldn't take you longer than five minutes to read.