The Heroine’s Journey of Federica Gilda Marrella

What is the best thing that I love about my work? As a designer, I love the possibility to express myself and to think critically about the future, so that I can propose alternatives to the traditional values and current models. I like to define my idea of a preferable future and to materialise this vision into design products accordingly. In this way, I can draw an intersection between my personal and my professional life.


What is my idea of happiness? Drinking a glass of wine with the ones I love. Having a conversation that stimulates my brain. Sharing the love and being loved. Possibly, all at the same time.

What is my greatest fear? I’m afraid of losing my sight and of being involved in a car accident. I’m scared in general of losing control on my body, or that my body cannot perform its usual functions.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I’m perpetually undecided. I’m constantly weighing the pros and cons of every decision, and because of this, I can have a hard time deciding which way to go. My indecisiveness makes me waste a lot of time.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I admire the work of Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. I love how they address the process of challenging the status quo with their design professions.

What is my greatest extravagance? I’m a Gemini rising.

On what occasion would I lie? I would lie to avoid hurting the feelings of people I love.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The industrial design field is characterised by a strong patriarchal culture. Contemporary design culture is strongly male-centred and by affirming predominant social and cultural models, it perpetrates the hierarchical structures which support systems of violence and oppression. I walk away from the egocentric idea that just few strong personalities—mostly white men— have the priority in building our design history and affirming the status quo.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Recently, I had the possibility to showcase my graduation project ‘The Feminist Textile Glossary’ at Dutch gallery Melkweg Expo in Amsterdam. It was a very happy moment and I was surrounded by strangers and loved ones who came there to support my work.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to be more positive and dreamy sometimes, change the side of myself that tends to be too much realistic and grounded. I would like to be more arrogant in a positive way and strongly believe in everything I do. It is a difficult process, but I’m getting there.

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What is my greatest achievement in work? My greatest achievement in work is having the possibility to reflect my values in my profession and promoting social sustainability with my projects to the external world. I believe that when you work motivated by your passions and values the outcome you deliver is easily recognisable by people as honest and high-quality.

Where would I most like to live? I love to live in Amsterdam, where I’m currently based. But maybe in the future I would like to come back to live in Rome, Italy.

What is my most treasured possession? I’m not a materialistic person, I cannot think about something physical which I consider a treasure. So I would say my cat Ugo, even if I don’t believe that it is a possession of mine.

What is my most marked characteristic? I’m slow in everything I do. I noticed that having a slow approach to life is always seen as a negative feature, but I believe that this kind of attitude makes you appreciate more different aspects of everyday life and gives you the possibility to engage deeply with whatever you are doing.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I love all the different kind of markets in Amsterdam. One of my favourites is the flea market IJ-hallen in Amsterdam Noord, but I also like Lindengracht market in Jordaan neighbourhood, where I live.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? I love to eat vegetarian ramen at Japanese restaurant Umaimon, near Leidseplein in Amsterdam. But I’m happy to eat in any kind of Italian restaurants and pizzeria, as long as they are cooking truly Italian food.

What books influenced my life and how? The novel ‘The Secret Garden’ by F.H Burnett influenced my childhood as it is one of the first books my mother used to read to me and my sister. Same for ‘Stories for Children‘ by Oscar Wilde. I remember these moments of collecting reading with nostalgia, and I discovered the value of a book since then.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Forever Young by Greams

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? When I was young I admired Princess Fantaghirò, the protagonist of an Italian fantasy movie from the early 90s. She is a sort of archetypical tomboy who fights like a warrior and counteracts all the gender standards connected to the idea of a princess.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I don’t have heroes and heroines in real life. I admire people, from my family and my group of friends, who struggle every day to understand which kind of fulfilment they want to reach in their life and try to achieve it in every way possible.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? “Il sorpasso” directed by Dino Risi.

What role plays art in my life and work? As a designer working on a variety of disciplines I noticed that art and design are always seen as opposed and conflicting. This conflict is resolved in my working approach as I see design discipline not necessary as a market-driven field. I find the design discipline more fascinating when it takes a critical approach to sparks debate and encourages political action. This approach is usually seen as less technical and closer to the aesthetic of art in its outcomes.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? I believe we humans influence our own life taking inescapable decisions. This happens when we commit to grow, to learn, to build the steps for the realisation of a dream. But I’m quite a fatalist as well and I think that a percentage of what happens to us is just pure accident. I happen to be born in the Western wealthy part of the world, and I feel quite lucky, but it was not my decision.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Probably my sister Aida. She always supports me.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020? Dunne & Raby, Superflux Studio.

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2020? I would love to meet Anab Jain and Jon Ardern from studio Superflux and activist and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on? I’m looking forward to work on the speculative design project Plasticful Foods, a guerrilla marketing campaign designed to influence people’s behaviour to be more sustainable.

My colleague and I have just had the news that the University of Amsterdam and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, our partners in this project, want us to scale our vision on a bigger level so that this campaign can be launched in different university campuses. It will be a lot of exciting work. Where can you see me or my work in 2020? I’m currently exhibiting my graduation project “The Feminist Textile Glossary” in the Dutch gallery Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam. It will be showcased there until 8th of March 2020. Besides that, I will exhibit the project Plasticful Foods at Milan Design Week 2020, from 16th to 21st of June 2020.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? When you work motivated by your passion you don’t see a job as an obligation anymore but more as a journey. I believe that when you work motivated by your passions and values, the outcome of your projects easily reflects a sort of honest and direct aura that makes your work reliable and attractive to other people.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?  Ellen McCarthy (Sustainability and Innovation Designer), Francesca Maria Tiberti (Digital Designer), Virginia Rasori Miceli (Chef), Moze Martens (Artist & Creative Campaigner), Lotte van den Hoogen (Artist), Samira Welles (Artist) , Ellen Schreven (Artist & Educator ), Hemaseh Manawi Rad (Artist).

How can you contact me? Send me an e-mail at Send me a DM on Instagram at federicagildamarrella Find me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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