Meet Our 2021 Summer Interns: 7 Questions with Maria & Chantelle

by Maria Rantis and Chantelle Houareau

Maria and Chantelle

COVID shots are rolling out, while our two new interns are rolling in. As Chicago reopens, NeigerDesign opens their doors to Maria and Chantelle, who have joined us for the summer months as graphic design, and social media and digital marketing interns. With fresh faces, fresh ideas, and fresh content, our interns look forward to introducing both themselves and their work to NeigerDesign and our clients. 

Meet our Graphic Design Intern, Maria Rantis. Maria was born and raised in Elmhurst, Illinois, but now spends most of her time up in Madison, Wisconsin, where she will be graduating from UW-Madison in December 2021 with a BS in Graphic Design. When Maria is not designing, she loves to illustrate, play water polo, or just hang out in her backyard with her family and dog, Oscar.

Meet our Social Media and Digital Marketing Intern, Chantelle Houareau, who was born and raised in Mbabane, Eswatini. She moved to the US in 2018 for college and is a rising senior at Lake Forest College, majoring in Business and Philosophy, with plans to graduate in May 2022. Other than digital marketing and social media, Chantelle is passionate about music, sneakers, and fashion, and spends most of her free time making playlists, thrifting, and discovering new eats in the city.

On our first day together, we sat down and grilled them on 7 questions so you could get to know them a bit better… 

If you could have anyone narrate your life, who would it be?

Maria: Chance the Rapper. His music is so colourful. Would love to bop around all day listening to his take on my life. 

Chantelle: Absolutely Lil Yachty. He definitely is one of my favourite characters in rap at the moment, watching his interviews definitely gives me a good chuckle. Having him talk through my day would be absolutely hilarious. 

If you could eat only one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Maria: Japanese. Sushi is my all-time favourite food. My Instagram name used to be yellow_tail08 in middle school. 

Chantelle: I’m vegan, only for the most part though because I cannot give up sushi. Ramen is my favourite food, followed closely by anything cooked Hibachi-style. So I would not mind only eating Japanese food for the rest of my life, either. 

Who is a designer/artist you look up to or are inspired by?

Maria: Stefan Sagmeister. I love how he thinks about the philosophy behind his work and the connection it has to himself and the world around him. He brings a fresh perspective to what design can look like and really thinks outside of the box. I hope to be a designer that thinks openly and about the impact of what I’m creating. Also his typography is so unique and fun to look at!

Chantelle: I cycle through having favourite designers as my aesthetic changes, but I am currently obsessed with what Takashi Murakami is doing for Prada menswear. His use of brutalism and leatherwork in his pieces is to die for, and it brings a fresh take on Prada’s classic silhouettes. His artistry in general is absolutely astounding, Mr Pointy (2011) is my favourite piece in the Art Institute of Chicago. He also just creative directed the cover art for Pi’erre Bourne’s new album, one of my favourite producers, so I have to love him.

If you were an instrument, what instrument would you be?

Maria: French horn. I played it up until college. Kind of a goofy instrument, but it’s also very expressive.

Chantelle: I want to say saxophone, because I think it’s such a cool instrument. It’s so smooth, and so sophisticated; however, I think that I personally identify more so with a tambourine. They’re still wonderful, just a little more loud and clumsy, like me.

If you could choose one song that played every morning when you woke up, and one song that played every time you completed a task, what songs would you choose?

Maria: I would wake up every day to Julia by Mt. Joy — the perfect combination of upbeat and chill to start the day. Every time I finished a task I would either have Finish Line by Chance for the Rapper play, or anything on the Hamilton soundtrack.

Chantelle: The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is connect to my speaker or throw in my AirPods so this is a definitely difficult one. I would not be mad at waking up to Devil In A New Dress by Kanye West every morning, it is one of my favourite songs ever; and if RIP by Playboi Carti played every time I completed a task? I think I would strive to do more every day.

If you could pack up now and move somewhere, where would that be?

Maria: I would love to go back to Florence, Italy. I studied abroad there before getting sent home in March 2020 due to COVID. I really miss the coffee breaks during class and working in the screen printing lab in that atmosphere.

Chantelle: Wow, every side of me is pulling a different way to answer this question. The soft, escapism side of me would say Tuscany, Italy. I always joke to my friends that I’m going to throw away my phone and run away to live in a flower field in Tuscany. At the same time, though, London just seems like it would be a blast, besides the rain of course.

If you weren’t in the field you are in now, what would you be doing?

Maria: I would move somewhere in the mountains and be a baker! Warm cookies every morning is not a bad way to start the day. Perhaps design and build a little bed and breakfast.

Chantelle: I would definitely be in the fashion industry. I’m pretty passionate about clothes, and happen to invest a lot of my free time and money in the industry. I love creating content and digital media as a whole, so working on a massive fashion campaign? That’s something I’d love to be a part of.

Now, the next time you see our interns sitting in on a meeting, we hope you know a little bit more about them. While Maria is showing off a sketch, feel free to ask her about sushi, or when you log off that call, you can know that Chantelle’s brain is playing Playboi Carti to celebrate a successfully completed meeting. We hope to see you in the office soon, but for now, we’ll catch you on Zoom.

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