Catalina Lledo, born in 1999 in Chile, is a tenacious entrepreneur with a diverse journey. Raised by a single teenage mother, she is a partner of @nevadanovias store. Beginning as a model at 14, she transitioned to film production and later trained as a commercial pilot until a 2019 plane accident altered her path.
Undeterred, Catalina launched a successful bikini brand, then founded Oasis Marketing during the pandemic, employing 10+ people globally. Her agency thrived, catering to casinos, Juventus academies, dentists, and clothing brands.
At 23, Catalina embraced a new challenge—establishing the first overseas flagship for a bridal store in Miami. Her inspiring journey reflects resilience, adaptability, and unwavering determination.
1. Your journey has taken you from modeling to film production, commercial plane piloting, and now marketing. How did these diverse experiences shape your perspective on life and career?
To be honest at the end of 2022 I felt like a failure. I changed so many times of my
ideas of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be and our society shapes us to
believe you have to decide. But after hearing Steve Jobs’ story on how studying
lettering after helping him create the computer keyboard I started seeing it like
every little thing I did was shaping me for something greater. Modeling helped me
to get out there and not be scared to be seen. Film production, besides the
technical part, taught me a lot about creativity. Being a pilot taught me to overcome
extreme situations and challenges and how to stay calm to resolve them. And all came in together to what I do today which I see as way more than marketing. I lead
on a day to day basis a team in our bridal store ‘Nevada Novias’ in Chile to do sales
and create unforgettable experiences for our brides who deserve the absolute best
when deciding about “the most important day of their lives” and I also create
content for them where I make them company to the couple through it all, record
everything almost as their personal paparazzi, for them to always remember every
detail of that day. So I’ve learnt that you don’t always have to decide. Sometimes
you just have to follow what your heart desires and then put all your efforts into
that even if after some time you decide to quit and do something different.
2. You’ve been involved in various ventures, including your mother’s bridal store, a bikini brand, and a marketing agency. How did you manage to juggle these different roles and what motivated you to explore each one?
I would say I have a pretty active mind and I get ideas and recurrent daydreams
about different things I think I’d be into. Also I consider myself a romantic and I’ve
always thought of my life as a movie and is just one long movie so I like keeping it
interesting. For example, the pilot career came to my mind one day when I was
flying back to Chile and told my mom I enjoyed being back in the plane more than
the actual holiday. The bikini brand was an idea I had because I saw these
influencers in France that created a huge brand and I wanted to be like them. My
mom also plays an important role there because she had me when she was 17 and
had no support and now she is an architect, business owner, dress designer and
pilates teacher. So I’ve seen how an idea becomes materialized many times in my life and that’s definitely inspiring. These roles I have chosen come from the same place: finding something I enjoy doing which would lead me to succeeding and so money would not even be a thing on my brain, because when you put a 100% into something you love the outcome is always positive. To me, a rich person is not the one who has the most material things but the one who is more fulfilled with their lives. And knowing that has been a motivation.
3. The plane accident you mentioned in 2019 must have been a significant setback. How did you find the strength to bounce back and start your successful marketing agency during the pandemic?
The day I had the accident the only thing I wanted was to go back to a plane, but
they took my license away and had to do an investigation for a long time before I
got it back. The chief of the pilots told me that this time was necessary to process
what happened. I think that was the biggest mistake. I am used to getting an idea
and start acting on it immediately. Thinking too much usually gets me stuck. So
after those months I spent thinking on “how that day I could have died” or “how
dangerous and risky it is to fly alone” I ended up being afraid of the thing I loved the most at that moment. The hardest moment for me on piloting was not even my own experience, it was my friend’s Isabel. Sadly, she passed away in a bigger accident than the one I had. But actually that made me bounce back. Just that little reminder on how unpredictable and short life is and also the pandemic showed all of us how some things are completely out of our control and how we need to adapt to that. So I thought about what I could learn from home and started doing it. I partnered up with Josue and we ended up working with over 10 people, some from Chile, others from US and we even had a person working from Morocco and one from Mumbai. It was a very enriching experience to connect with these people and create something out of nowhere all together.
4. Your journey has led you from Chile to Miami for your bridal store project and animal volunteer work. How do different environments and experiences influence your creativity and approach to content creation?
From our environment and the people we surround ourselves with we learn. To me that is key to life. When you feel stuck, not creative, with a low energy, not valued, etc. It means you are just not in the right place or with the right people. If I was working every day at creating content, and selling wedding dresses I know I would not be as creative. I get burned out easily when I do the same over and over again. Just like animals, I need constant stimulation. Working with animals in a forest-like environment gives me balance. When I am there I don’t stop. I am focused on that, no phone. So the next day when I come to work I think more clearly. And when you change your routine you find things you never expected. For example at the animal foundation I ended up connecting with Nathan who is also a content creator but for a reptile company. Even though it is very very different from what I do, he has a very creative mind and when we share ideas he gives me a whole new perspective.
5. You mentioned your passion for animals and working with @zwfmiami. How does this volunteering work align with your career goals and personal values?
Probably with my actual work it will only align in ways I can’t even see right now.
And as I said before it will also help me balance. I am very thankful for every
opportunity I get. Working with animals at the beginning was just because every
time I think “Oh that job seems like fun” I want to experience it myself. But right
now that I have been doing it for over 6 months it has become a huge part of my life and now I can’t see myself not working with animals. And If I do stop, I will probably need a huge backyard to have my own! That would be a motivation too I guess haha. Animals and kids teach so much, it’s unbelievable. They have taught me about boundaries, respect, consistency, and so much more. If you wonder how? Well they really find a way to push your limits. Especially wild animals. And for a timid person like me, finding a point where I am respected without having the need to be mean or dominant it’s a challenge.
6. From your experience as a model to your current role as a community manager at @la_louvierechocolatier, how has your ability to adapt and learn new skills played a role in your diverse career path?
I guess for most models keeping up with trends is easy even if you are not
interested because you model for trends before they even become one. You get to
see how a photo production works, the roles people play in them, how they move
the objects to be shooted, angles, lighting, etc. For getting model jobs you have to
do a lot of castings, connect with new people and you start getting contacts. When
I started the community manager role for our Bridal store I already had the phone
numbers of many models, photographers, and filmmakers. I knew nice places in the
city to do the photoshoots too. So when I stopped modeling I already knew most
things I needed and I only needed to gain experience and learn on the way. The experience I gained with the bridal store led me not only to the chocolate store, but
to manage several accounts in the past. I think my ability to adapt comes from my
growing up environment. I changed schools many times because I got bullied in all
of them. My mom was an architect so she loved moving and we lived in very
different places during my childhood. But I see this ability as a gift. And every time I
meet a person who is in their comfort zone, I encourage them to get out of it.
7. Content creation seems to be a recent focus for you. What inspired this shift, and how do you draw from your various experiences to create engaging content?
I am in my hustling years. I think starting to focus young on the things you want to
accomplish makes life a lot more fun. I am 24, I still party from time to time but
what gives me motivation to get up in the morning is to have goals and work
towards them. And spending more time in Miami every time we have to travel and
check on the store, made my mind open even more. Most people at the Zoo I
volunteered for had more than 1 job and they were all my age. We had a group chat
to sign in and out of the Zoo. So every Sunday when I received those ‘sign in’
messages from others at 8 am I thought that maybe I needed to do more. I started
to think about what I could do as a side hustle and a friend, Camila, sent me the
idea of making content creation for weddings (Good friends who want the same as
you are key!). Since I already worked on creating content for brands and also for
myself as an influencer in Chile where I even did collaborations with Dior, Armani,
Tommy Hilfigher and more. So working at the bridal store gave me a step ahead on
finding new customers for this new challenge as a wedding content creator. To
create engaging content though, it’s a challenge. Most tips out there are not real.
The best content creators I know went viral only by creating something original
that people would interact with. So you have to think about who you want to get to
and with what purpose and then create something.
8. Your recent video from a wedding in Canada gained recognition from a renowned designer. How do you approach storytelling and capturing moments that resonate with both your audience and industry professionals?
Like in my response above, you have to find the niche you want to get to. In this
case it was ‘Bridal’. I made that video on a castle in Banff, Canada and that was not
even as a job. It was just for fun and to see if I liked doing it. But how to approach it
it’s difficult for me to explain because I envision everything in my head first, write it
down and then record. Then when editing I think “Do I like this because I did it or
would I like it when I see it from someone else?”. That question makes it easier for
me to cut off the videos to make them shorter and more shareable.
9. Your belief in pursuing one’s heart’s desires is evident in your journey. Can you share a pivotal moment when this belief led you to make a decision that significantly impacted your path?
Wow. Mmh. It was always my mom who told me to do everything with my heart.
Which is very significant for me because I had a heart surgery when I was 4 years
old. I identify myself with the word “Lucky” because of how that surgery went.
Besides, I am honestly very lucky in life. Probably the weirdest things happen to me
as well but when they do I know how to face them because I know without the hard
times the good ones would not be as good. One Pivotal moment in my life
happened on the 31st of December 2022. I decided to end a 5 years relationship
with someone I shared a dog with, worked with and basically spent 24 hours a day
with. He was older than me so we had spoken about marriage and the idea of it was
bittersweet to me. I love having a partner. I am an only child so I think I really enjoy
the company. But I am also very independent and want to experience the world, to
help as much as I can, adopt a child, travel the world, write a book and we did not
share the same goals in life. He wanted to stay with his friends and family and that
is also valuable. But that day my life changed completely, I loved him but I took a
plane on January 1st 2023 and never looked back. Today he still works with me, it
has its ups and downs, but I am sure it was the best for both of us. If I wouldn’t have
followed my heart I would have not met my actual partner with whom I have a
connection I never had before, I would not be working on marketing from my
computer and traveling the world. I wouldn’t have made friends with monkeys and
wild cats. Neither got bitten by a jaguar or have pitched to a group of entrepreneur
women that wanted to hear our experience with the bridal store. I simply wouldn’t
be writing this.
10. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for your career and creative endeavors? How do you envision the intersection of your various interests shaping your future?
This is definitely the most difficult question to respond to. I have already shaped my
life based on the opportunities I have gotten, the ideas I have and following
whatever dream it is I have at the moment. So who knows honestly where I’ll end
up. I still would like to work at least once in Disney. I want to write a script for a
movie. I want to live in Africa for some time and work with animals there. I want to
write a book. I would love to get married with my actual partner. I want a farm in
my house and at least 3 children. I am very interested in the autistic spectrum and I
think if I am interested it is because of a reason so I would like to explore where I
can learn more from it. And I would like to contribute to finding ways to stop child
trafficking in lower income countries only because I had to investigate it at school
and the information stuck with me. I know, even if I would read all of that it sounds
very unrealistic but so has all the things I have done in my 24 years of living. So,