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Meet Maxim Smirnov of MXM Agency

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maxim Smirnov.

Hi Maxim, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I always loved all things cinema, experimental art, fashion, beauty, and editorial. It was my time to pursue my creative endeavors and take myself out of a predisposed box as a first-generation low-income student and broaden what I could accomplish with the tools and opportunity my parents had by emigrating to the United States. I wanted to take myself out of the narrative and boundary of being stuck in a box of poverty and rise out of that.

It began in 2016 once I transferred into the USC School of Cinematic Arts. I was excited to venture into the world of entertainment in any capacity. My first semester began with searching for opportunities at 20th Century Fox who made my favorite show at the time, American Horror Story. I quickly made my way into the creative corporate world and stayed in the company as an intern for 1.5 years before being offered a full-time position once I graduated in 2018.

I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go out on my own following the Disney merger and acquisition of 20th Century Fox. For the longest time, I always wanted to pursue a career as a videographer, photographer, or creative director. I struggled internally for quite some time because I was afraid of not having a steady income. I then took the faithful leap into investing in myself and creating MXM Agency, a social creative agency based in West Hollywood. The fear was eating me alive but I had to trust my gut to establish a creative collective where I can grow, lead, and be recognized for the type of content that I was truly passionate about but was not fully utilized for in my prior experiences. One thing led to another and I am here today with clients and projects that I am personally proud of, aligning with the values, visions, and aesthetics of my clients.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I wish I could say yes but I would be lying, and I pride myself on being open and honest. Not only was it the fear of having a steady income, being made redundant in my full-time job, COVID, and my overall happiness in a corporate world, but my fear to venture out on my own. I had to overcome and unlearn my inherited anxieties growing up from my past. At the time, I believed having a 9-5 job with steady income was the only path to success. But I took a chance on myself and felt an immediate shift in energy once I accepted who I am today. I needed to build courage and confidence to follow my passions and interests as an artist. I learned to take every opportunity that came my way because you can apply anything you learn from unrelated projects to your future creative endeavors. Exploring the unknown is also a fun challenge for me and helps me to manifest infinite future possibilities.

As you know, we’re big fans of MXM Agency. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
MXM Agency is a social digital creative agency focused on content creation (photography + videography), social media marketing, strategic consulting, and graphic design. Founded in West Hollywood, CA, MXM Agency has been featured in publications like Forbes, The Coveteur, and Eater LA.

The projects I am most proud of in our portfolio are the diverse and multi-disciplinary mediums that bring something new to the table. Whether it is a project for a beauty brand like URJA Beauty, or Glamnetic, or other clients of mine I am passionate about, including Act of Wellness, Interior’s soon to be released coffee table book with designer Ryan Saghian, or YCO Active (a small, Black-owned activewear business), I find it important to have representation on social channels and in the media. I am mindful of telling stories and including voices of minorities that are not commonly heard in the industry, including LGBTQ+, Female, Asian, Latino, Black, and First-Generation. I believe everyone is worthy and I would like to help uplift and assist in telling their stories for their brands, communities, and content.

After numerous positions in the creative field in Los Angeles, I observed that the industry was being underserved in the content creation and social media marketing fields. The idea for MXM Agency was hatched from this observation. As peers failed to keep up with creating elevated content that works for our growing demand for social media, I borrowed key learnings from my entertainment studio, e-commerce, beauty, and consumer lifestyle clients to provide unparalleled service to this new venture. My company, MXM Agency is an all-inclusive digital creative agency dedicated to creating multi-disciplinary content in a growing social landscape.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Ok, I am that boy at age three that would sneak into my sister’s bedroom and blast Wannabe by the Spice Girls and express myself through dance and art. My parents always encouraged me to pursue my genuine interests in school. This first began with hip hop dance classes with my sister. I then attempted sports before finally falling in love with music and videos during the rise of YouTube. This propelled my interest to pursue a career and education in Film and Photo. Some of my current inspirations are Sasha Samsonova, Operator in LA/Berlin, Hugo Comte, Australian olive oil brand Goldi,  The Weeknd, and Brian Ziff. If you were to ask me what my day to day is like, each day is a little different from the next. One day I’m managing social media accounts, being a photographer and videographer and the next I’m pursuing my personal culinary passions at home or dancing to all different genres of music while I’m working on my projects.

I was very fortunate enough to have grown up in a very diverse school environment. I always loved how my peers embraced me for who I am and allowed me to express myself through dance, music and weirdness. For the ones that did not, they taught me to be resilient. I hold that quality and character throughout my work, friendships, and home life. Subconsciously throughout my entire portfolio of work, I wanted to see more inclusivity and representation of individuals like myself and those who have not have had the opportunity to have their story heard.

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Image Credits
Maxim Smirnov, MXM Agency

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