Perola Janice – Software Extraordinaire
“I feel like I can literally do anything I want to, so if I wanted to be a lawyer today, I feel like I could figure it out and become one.” Perola Janice: a UX specialist, XR creator, founder of Odd Space and overall creative technologist. Originally from Angola, raised in Brixton – Perola has taken the tech and digital world by storm and is most definitely leaving her mark.
Life in Tech
Perola’s journey into the tech world originally started with software engineering but after a year and a half, she decided to steer down a different path. She tells us how her passion for products and design led her to become a UX/UI designer. “When I got into that path of trying to become a UX/UI designer, that’s kind of where I fell in love with it. I took courses and watched a lot of YouTube tutorials, and just being proactive and tried to learn. The more I learned, the more I would design stuff and share it with people, the more I felt like this is something I can actually really do and be paid well for.” When asked about the transition from one career path to another, Perola gave us some insight into how it was for her. “If I had to rate the transition out of ten, I’ll probably give it a seven. It’s not rocket science but it was hard trying to figure out what good design looks like because it’s not really something someone can teach you. In order to have a good eye for it, you have to keep practising over and over again.”
This part of our conversation felt especially inspiring because its essence serves an important message. You can follow your passions and pave a way for yourself no matter how hard the goal may be or at what point in life you decide to embark on the journey. Consistently showing up for yourself, working hard and believing in your abilities is not only beneficial for your path to success but the best way to become that bit better every day.
We asked Perola about the representation within the tech industry and how she feels it has progressed. “When I was in university doing computer science, in some classes I would be the only black girl or maybe they’d be one or two of us in a big class. There was a girl who started this initiative called Black Girls in Tech, it would be a group of us and we would have events and meetings and a bit later on I started facilitating workshops to help other people learn to code. Fast forward to now, if I go to a tech event it’s likely I will bump into another black person whereas before you wouldn’t unless it was a black event.”
In 2020, Perola founded her experimental design and technology company that seeks to push the boundaries of innovation. Not only does Odd Space create unique and sustainable products, it’s also a community that provides educational support and resources for different genres like artificial reality.
“So how it came about is, I wanted an outlet. When I first started designing and transitioning into UX/UI, I found it was helpful to post my work on Twitter and Instagram. The more you post, the more people would enquire for Odd Space. I look up to people like Virgil, I love how Virgil can design a mirror. I want a design company where I can just design random bits of things and because I am also into augmented reality, I felt like it goes hand in hand. It’s a design outlet I use to sell stuff, physical and digital, so that includes classes, assets and then physical items. I’m enjoying it, I get to make stuff and share it with the world which I feel in the long term if I left my 9-5 that’s what I would want to be paid for.”
Beauty and Fashion
Switching gears slightly, we wanted to find out more about what beauty and fashion look like for Perola.
There are so many different aspects of the beauty industry, what would you say is your favourite?
“I would say I’m more of a makeup person because I like looking pretty.”
What are some of your staple makeup products? What would we find in your makeup bag?
“Don’t judge me but I still use the old school MAC foundation, all my friends that are into makeup cuss me cause it’s very much the makeup we did in college but I’m very much a person if it’s not broke don’t fix it. You’ll find KEM lip glosses, KEM blush, random mascara and concealer – I still use LA pro girl but my friend got me the Too Faced concealer so I’m gonna transition. I have the La Roche Posay SPF and I use the first ever KEM highlighters that were released, my real techniques brushes, my sponge and eyeliner.”
“I’m a strip kinda girl, my strip lashes are from the hair shop, I have KEM lashes and some random ones that aren’t in packaging.”
What are some of your makeup hacks?
“My hack would be setting spray, I feel like if you don’t use that your makeup looks ashy or it doesn’t hit the same. I also feel like putting a bit of highlighter everywhere cause it makes you look glowy.”
How would you describe your style?
“I like to play around, some days I might want to look like Lori Harvey in a nice pair of pants or a nice dress and heels. Another day I might wanna look like JT, I wanna put on some Rick Owens and a T-shirt – I guess I would say cool and sexy.” I like to keep it simple and more time I wear black, the most colourful thing I have in my wardrobe (if white doesn’t count) is a shirt from the Kai Collective and I think I have a yellow shirt that I bought in summer to wear with a bikini on holiday.”
What’s your favourite season for fashion?
“Even though I love summer and I can wear nothing, I don’t think it’s summer because I really like trousers, I wear them in summer as well. So, I think it might be autumn/winter, the looks just kill.”
What brands do you gravitate to the most?
“I like to keep my clothes for a long time, I’m not really the kind of girl that likes shopping. I hate going online looking through clothes I wish they could just appear in my wardrobe. If we’re talking shoes, I’m not buying two shoes from the same brand. If we’re talking a bag, I bought my first Chanel bag last year and I was happy to do that, I like Rick Owens and Bape trainers. Bags are my favourite accessory at the moment, I’m building my collection.”
We can all agree that self-care is essential for a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle and naturally it looks different to everyone. Unwinding doesn’t have just one formula, for Perola this is what self-care looks like: “get a glass of wine, find a nice show to watch, maybe putting on a face mask or going to the spa. Sometimes just speaking to a friend and laughing a lot or even if you wanna vent about life. Sitting by myself in silence as well, I might journal, write down my thoughts. Making food, sometimes when you cook in silence and just watch the food it’s a bit therapeutic. Sometimes I sit by the window and I watch the city go by like the cars driving by, I think it’s a good reminder that there’s more to life than what you’ve got or whatever you’ve got going on.”
Chatting with Perola provided such a stimulating and enjoyable dialogue. Some of our favourite words from Perola was her motto – “the show must go on, no matter what I’m going through or what’s happening.” Her journey is so exciting and brilliant, and we’re absolutely looking forward to seeing how it continues to elevate! You can follow Perola @oddspace.eth on Instagram or on TikTok @perolajanice1.