12 Media Innovators Who Are Defining a New Generation of Content

Meet the Creative 100 honorees elevating print, audio and more

Samin Nosrat turned her passion for food, education and gatherings into the hit book and show Salt Fat Acid Heat. Courtesy of Netflix

Always changing but also mired in its traditions, media can be a bafflingly difficult industry to work in, and true innovation requires a tireless level of passion and dedication.

As part of Adweek’s Creative 100 for 2019, we’re honoring some of the authors, editors, executives and visionaries who have brilliantly navigated the rocky shoals of modern media and, along the way, created some of today’s hottest properties online and IRL.

Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr

Co-founders, Who What Wear

Photo: Justin Coit

Power and Kerr, former editors at Elle, launched Who What Wear as a daily newsletter in 2006 and have since grown the media company substantially, with offices today in L.A., Minnesota, New York City and London. Their Clique Brands, which includes Who What Wear, Who What Wear Beauty and wellness vertical The Thirty, target millennial and Gen Z women.

While Power oversees the company’s business, Kerr leads editorial creativity. The editorial team itself has grown to include 46 full-time staffers, with an emphasis on making their areas of coverage more accessible and inclusive. “When it comes to wellness, oftentimes, it can be very ‘fancy white lady,’ and we are really trying to democratize wellness and really bring different perspectives and price points to that conversation,” Kerr says.

The company has deep ties with Target, having developed a ready-to-wear line from Who What Wear and formed a partnership with the retailer to develop an athleisure line, JoyLab. Clique Brands has brought in almost $28 million in funding from investors that include Amazon, Greycroft Partners and BDMI. Next, the pair are looking to expand a fashion and accessories line internationally.

“Our strength has been sticking to what we’re great at and not diverting from it,” Power says. “There have been so many trends over the past 13 years, from flash sales to aggregating all your traffic under one domain—we’ve looked at them all and stuck to our roots of being very focused on making style look accessible and guiding users through trend discovery and purchases.”
Sara Jerde

John Henry

Host, Viceland’s Hustle

Photo: Levi Walton/Viceland

Hustle. It’s the name of Henry’s show on Viceland, but it’s also his personal philosophy.

“Some people think about hustle and they think that means overwork yourself to death,” Henry says. “But that’s not how I see it. To me, hustle just means aspiring towards what you see for yourself.”

Henry’s life has been defined by his hustle. He started his first business—an on-demand dry-cleaning service for the film industry—after dropping out of school at 18. Before he would have graduated college, he sold that business and turned his focus towards uplifting other entrepreneurs.

“Becoming an entrepreneur was the most creative thing I had ever done, I left the traditional path and took a chance,” he says. “Creativity taps every part of your being. It’s mental, physical and emotional.”

Developed by executive producers Alicia Keys and chef Marcus Samuelsson, Hustle sends Henry to the streets of New York to help small business owners grow. Henry is also a partner at Harlem Capital, a diversity-focused early stage venture capital firm focused on the same sector as his Viceland show.

“When I’m looking for companies to invest in,” he says, “two of the main things I want to see are hustle and creativity.”
Mitch Reames

Paul Martinez

Ecd, Meredith

Photo: Alex Scimecca

When Martinez joined Fortune Magazine at the beginning of 2016, one of the first things he did was take over a conference room and start creating a vision board for the magazine’s print redesign. His vision took over the entire room. Eventually his work would even include redesigning Fortune’s logo, only the 10th time it had been changed in the magazine’s 86-year history.

But redesigning isn’t new to Martinez. Before joining Fortune, he redesigned and relaunched brands such as Maxim, Marie Claire, and Men’s Journal as the creative director.

With a diverse portfolio that includes fashion, business and food, he’s spent the past year, as executive creative director at Meredith, redesigning both Travel + Leisure and Departures.

For Travel + Leisure’s redesign, Martinez worked to elevate the magazine with a more modern look. With fewer, yet larger, photos, the magazine has more room to breathe. He also decided to make everything but the photographs black and white. “We use some of the best photographers from around the world,” Martinez says. “The decision to put the photography up front gives the reader a chance to really immerse themselves into the visuals.”

Martinez has brought his out-of-the-box thinking not just to magazines, but also to website design, animation, typography, video and branding. “’Try everything’ is the best advice I could give to anyone in the creative field,” he says.

“He can look at one photo and build a beautiful story around it,” says Jacqueline Gifford, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure, “and then go back at the final second to add just one final, subtle touch, to make it even better.”
Kacy Burdette

Samin Nosrat

Author and host, Salt Fat Acid Heat

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Nosrat is a refreshingly cheerful amalgam of many things—celebrated chef, author and regular columnist for The New York Times Magazine, just to name a few. But at her core, Nosrat is an exceptional, inspirational and patient teacher.

“My skill is sort of seeing something and translating it for people,” she tells Adweek. “I wanted to reach, empower, and encourage home cooks.”

For proof of her success in this mission, look no further than Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Nosrat’s cookbook-turned-popular Netflix docuseries. For four highly informative episodes, the culinary scholar traveled the world in order to thoroughly break down the four basic elements cooking, exploring their cultural origins as well as how we can incorporate those ancient lessons into our modernized cuisine.

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.