Zoila Darton is a Panamanian-Jamaican Jew from NYC currently living in Los Angeles. She is a passionate innovator, skilled connector and creative director with more than a decade of success in the business of community building and marketing. She is the founder of WORD, an LA based creative agency committed to cultural storytelling and conceptual ideation that puts creativity at the forefront while supporting advancement for women and marginalized communities.
Zoila’s most important title is “Mama” to her 3 1/2 year old, Dakota. She is committed to raising a kind & emotionally intelligent human and works daily to show Dakota what that looks like. She recently worked with HBO Pa’lante directing the Are You Listening? campaign centered on showing the diversity within Latinidad that’s often overlooked. The 15-minute video explains the inauthentic branding that is often experienced during the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, while also touching on the dynamics of respectability politics and colorism within the community. “This is a rally cry to the media and brands to support our community in showcasing the full spectrum of us – culturally across the board,” she says. “Through this powerful, sincere conversation about identity and the intricately weaved quilt that is Latinidad, we will ask the outside community: “Are You Listening To Us?”
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
Celia Cruz because she was an unapologetic and joyful force.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Honestly, I want to fly and be able to nap on the clouds
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Always bet on yourself. Always take rest, unapologetically.
What would you title the autobiography of your life?
Wait, did I leave my keys?
What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
This is a hard one! I started working when I was 13. I think it was a CD or maybe a pair of Mudd Jeans.
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
You’re only as strong as your team.
What motivates you?
My family, my community and my inner child.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
I ended up here by giving myself the grace to understand that life isn’t linear and that I owe it to myself to invest in taking the time to harness my interests. I don’t ever want to look back on my life and ask why I didn’t go for something.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?
My greatest professional achievement is probably having the privilege to hire and empower my community. I love to get people seen, heard and PAID. Personal achievement is definitely raising my kiddo. Being a mom is a lesson and a blessing.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
I’m writing a TV Show 😊
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love:
@thebronxisreading: a pop up book store owned by the brilliant Saraciea Fennell
@murilelu – the best face serum you’ll ever buy and it’s Black woman owned
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why
Selva Negra (@selvanegra_), their clothes are beautiful and sustainable
Name your favorites: Snack, Song, Artist
Snack: Passion fruit
Songs: “Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder
“El Menú” by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
“Turiya and Ramakrishna” by Alice Coltrane
“Ojalá que llueva café” by Juan Luis Guerra
Artists: Erykah Badu, Fiona Apple, Alice Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Celia Cruz