Journey of a Braid: Danié Gomez-Ortigoza iconic Mexican entrepreneur and visual storyteller
Surely, by now you're aware of Miami's iconic Journey of a Braid Danié Gomez-Ortigoza, a Mexican entrepreneur (from Mexico City) and visual storyteller who’s become quite the fashion symbol with her signature scarf braid. Danié is a visual storyteller who uses video, fashion, photography and words as her main resources and social media as her stage. She has worked as a television host for Disney, a Copywriter and Digital Strategist at various advertising agencies in Mexico and Canada, a Marketing Director for a media publication in Sweden, and correspondent for Glamour Mexico and Latin America based in Miami, where she received a Fashion Group International Award for her work. Danié has been living in Miami for six years (just recently celebrated her sixth year) and we thought we’d check in with her to see what she’s been up to in the Magic City.
How did you get into this realm of social media?
I first managed the social media for brands such as Volkswagen in Canada. I didn’t do it for myself until I became the correspondent for Glamour magazine (Mexico and Latin America edition). They asked me to post about the different experiences and events that I covered, and that’s where the journey began. Journey of a Braid is quite an interesting Instagram name.
How did you come up with it?
Among the Latin American brands that I got to work with while I was working at the magazine, I discovered the Nomadic Collector, which is a very special and sustainable brand. The woman that created this brand often used the #JourneyOfABag hashtag. She made me think about how special and concise the word journey is. That’s the best way to describe our passage through life, and I’ve always braided my hair. People identify me through that. So the Journey of a Braid was born.
Being the traveling bee we know that you are, how did you deal with the traveling ban and having to stay in one place?
I actually love being home. Obviously when you know there‘s a pandemic happening, it’s not the same, but I have been reading more than ever and working on my writing as well, so it wasn’t as bad. I didn’t stay here for too long, due to health reasons we went for a month to France to spend some time with my in-laws and catch a breath of normality before coming back to semi-confinement in Miami.
You must have been itching to go on your most recent trip to France. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
It was a great experience, because I almost feel as if it was a truce: the world has changed, and there is a before and after pandemic. By spending some time in France where at the time, COVID was under control, I was able to move into the past for a bit longer. It was a great experience, but at the same time there was a health situation behind the scenes, that made it more about family than about travel.
What’s been the most interesting place you’ve traveled so far?
I fell in love with Kyoto. There is nothing I’m more passionate about than the power of rituals, and the understanding of how nature is where we belong. Spending time in the different temples all over Japan, but especially in Kyoto made me evolve my understanding of God. When you visit these temples you realize that the main objective is not what is inside the temple, but bringing attention to what surrounds you.
Aside from Miami, where else have you lived?
Mexico, Madrid, Toronto, New York, and Stockholm
Has Miami been your favorite so far?
Miami has definitely been my favorite place so far. I was able to understand that by being Mexican, I am Latin American. Before, I saw myself as a separate entity (country) because I didn’t understand how incredibly
similar we are and how much of our cultural baggage is shared regardless of frontiers.
I braided myself into all the different countries that surround my own.
Do you often go back to Mexico?
Yes! At least twice a year. I wish I could go more often.
What do you miss most about?
What I miss the most about Mexico, is how surreal it is: how incredible people are, the power of the smiles, rituals, our traditions and how full of life my people are. There’s something about the colors of my country: they are so alive.
What do you love most about your culture?
Our traditions and our history: I think it’s quite interesting how America is the result of the clash of two completely different cultures and world views. Let’s not forget that this continent was hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years which made it evolve in a very different way. After the conquest we became a mix of both cultures. We see Catholicism, and every religion in a very different and every religion in a very different way. I am fascinated by all the things we do not know about Olmecs, and Mayans and how this might relate to different forms of life, and a deeper sense of cosmology.
Any projects in the works?
I have dedicated myself to writing more than ever. I just finished writing a poetry book in Spanish and I am working on a biography that digs deeper into the meaning of my braid and how international and healing the act of braiding is in a time of social transformation. I’m also about to launch my new collection of ‘Canvas’ which is the way I call my hair-piece, given that what it is for me, is a portal into who you are, and not who you were told to be. It’s a white canvas.
A quote that you live by?
live with intention.