Michelle Lee

I’m Michelle, a brand strategist with an obsession of TV/film and cereal. I believe that everything you need to know about branding comes from those three things. I’m also a Master’s candidate studying Creative Brand Management at VCU Brandcenter.  

Before school, I was a photographer and graphic designer. Now I intersect my artistic craft with strategic thinking to offer fresh perspectives. As a visual storyteller, I connect the dots between what makes people tick and how a brand lives and breathes. Nothing excites me more than seeing an idea blend together, kind of like a bowl of colors from Cap’n Crunch Berries in milk


Here are some fun facts:

(Side fun fact: no stock images were used on this page)


Dad’s spaghetti is my life recipe

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I used to be a picky eater. My parents couldn’t get me to stomach onions, mushrooms, or food from different countries. Trying new things wasn’t my forte. But one time, my dad made me spaghetti and I loved it. So much that during freshman year, I applied for a study abroad program in Italy. I knew nothing about the country other than that it’s the motherland of spaghetti, and I’d never been abroad on my own before. But I did it anyway, because I was hungry for a bigger palate. I could dive into details of how studying abroad opened up my world or changed my perspective, but that’s another story. The bottom line is that my dad’s spaghetti encouraged me to embrace the unknown. Today, I am a foodie, an explorer, and a student of culture—all thanks to an impactful recipe.


My life is based on movies

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Unlike most people, I was raised by movies. When my parents immigrated to the U.S., they watched a film every night to learn about American culture. So naturally, I grew up with a library of VHS tapes and DVDs. Everything that I live by has come from watching almost all of them. Up in the Air taught me how to travel light. “Hakuna Matata” got me through every inevitable downfall, and Zombieland made it a rule to enjoy the little things. What I’ve come to learn is that building fictional worlds is no different from building brands. Like storytelling, brand strategy is an ongoing human experiment, and I am casted as the anthropologist for it.


I follow the Wes Anderson craft

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Did I mention that I like movies? Well there’s a film director named Wes Anderson, who’s famous for using bright colors and flat compositions. Anderson is dedicated to all aspects of his movies, from the way that each shot is designed to how every transition moves. As a photographer, I’ve learned from him to give attention to detail in my own work. I plan out every idea, location, and hour of day for shoots. In public, I embarrass my friends by standing in awkward positions to frame my shots. Even if my process goes unnoticed, my photography is never complete without full devotion. Like Wes Anderson, I’m a quirky go-getter in my craft.


Explore my life in squares