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Kris Mendoza is a product designer at Dropbox and photographer. (Check out some of his fire flix here.) Traveling, film photography, and Gwenyth Paltrow are a few of the highlights of this interview. As someone who's worked at Pinterest as well as Dropbox, he offers some advice on how to maintain perspective and work ethic at big name companies. 

1. What is your life motto right now?


Better to ask for forgiveness 

2. What's your most-played song within the past week? Why?

BLUE CELLOPHANE by BabyJake - it's a catchy blend of sadboy vocals and dreamy guitar

3. Top 3 books of all time:

  • The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis

  • Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie

  • The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs


4. Your approach to health in one sentence:

As Gwyneth Paltrow would put it, life’s a balance between tofu and cigarettes—it's what makes life interesting.

5. Your approach to happiness in one sentence:


For me, happiness is about how I choose to spend my time, as well as who I spend it with—it’s why I love travel: to temporarily dissociate myself from life’s banalities.

6. Your approach to dating/love in one sentence:


It’s taken a while to learn, but you have to be okay with yourself first before you go loving someone else. 

7. Most cringe date:

This guy started talking about another guy he was seeing / had seen. 

8. Your most used word:


9. Last screenshot:

(Yes, I’m one of those people)


10. What are 1-3 things you do when you feel blue to make yourself feel better? / or feel like you’re having an off day?

I guess it depends on what it is and why, but if it's really bad, I'll book a flight somewhere because then I'll have something in the future to look forward to. For most other things, being alone and then later talking to my therapist is a good way for me to re-center.

11. Insert most used emoji:​


12. Most inspiring quote:

Mark Rothko once wrote, “Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks.”

13. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

A dog video on Twitter, probably

14. Who’s someone who you can rely on to always make you smile? Why/what do they do?


My friend, Kathy. A vast majority of the time, we send each other cat or dog videos and links to pet adoption sites.

15. Best advice you’ve ever gotten:

“You can do anything for 6 months.” At times I have strong reactions to things in the corporate world, and this was some helpful advice I’d gotten back at the start of my career that still applies today. 


“Work is work” is another piece of advice I’d gotten that reminds me not to take things too seriously; I’m not saving the world. And in most corporate/work settings, it’s all the same. Set healthy boundaries where you can. 

16. Someone/something that changed your life (for the better):


A couple of close friends from an old job exposed me to the broader fashion/streetwear world and my tastes have evolved so much since then. When you’ve spent the better part of your life trying to mold to what's acceptable, fashion feels like an obvious counterpoint. It's now become one of my bigger interests. 

17. Most overrated advice / trend right now (in your opinion):


18. Something you feel like saying:

2019 has been a long year for me—a lot of personal growth and a lot of change. And more to come, as well. It’s difficult to wrap your head around changes that need to happen elsewhere in your life that you don’t yet have all the answers for. That being said, getting older and being more sure of yourself is something worth tapping into in these moments of ambiguity. I don’t personally believe in affirmations, but once I internalize something and actually believe it, there are no limits.

19. Fave website / youtube video / link online at the moment: 

I’m obsessed with the art direction and everything about this music video

20. Fill in the blank: I’m happiest when I: _______________________

Get my film back from the photo lab. Or doing anything art-direction-y, where I get to come up with a lot of concepts

21. Tag a gem who inspires you: 


My friend, Rita Troyer @ritaelise