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20 under 30: Leah Dieterich

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LAist's "20 Under 30" interview series with interesting Angelenos under 30 continues with Leah Dieterich, a 25-year-old who lives in West LA. You might have seen her at galleries, or run across a video she's made, or heard her playing drums in her apartment's bedroom. You might bumped into her buying coffee (she tells us she buys a lot of coffee). But it's a big city, so maybe you don't know her. Yet we're sure you know of her through her day job: she works at Secret Weapon Marketing writing TV ads for Jack in the Box.

You write Jack In the Box TV commercials! Which ones?
Let's see. Its funny because a lot of the time I don't know whether the spots are airing in LA or elsewhere in texas or something, but eventually I think they always make the rounds to most markets. I did one about Ciabatta Burgers where an employee puts talking parrots in all the restaurants to help people learn how to pronounce Ciabatta. I did another for a contest called Win Jack's Stuff, where an employee of Jack in the Box sees the contest poster and gets really excited about all the prizes he could win, says he wants to win a night with Jack's wife and when he realizes employees aren't eligible, he rips the poster down, and of course Jack is standing on the other side of the glass wall the poster was on, pouring coffee. And Jack has a straight mouth in that one. Which is my favorite expression of his. There's one with a focus group of guys who'd rather check out one of Jack's combo meals then two girls pillow fighting. Another spot features a PR guy who suggests Jack make "Ciabatta" rubber bracelets to promote the sandwiches a la Lance Armstrong. Cuz bread's more fun than cancer, right?

How did you get into ad writing?
I used to be a ballet dancer. Which actually has nothing to do with how I got into ad writing. But it is how I got to Indiana University on a scholarship to their music school. Once I decided that being devoted to a dying art that you can only do until you're 30 was shortsighted, I decided to pursue writing. I became a Journalism major. But I was interested in advertising for some reason. I didn't really know anything about it, but it seemed like a way to be creative, and support myself, which as a ballet dancer I would never have been able to do. I transfered to the University of Colorado, which has an incredible undergrad ad program and got into ad writing there. Two years of internship at a great little agency in Colorado and then I moved here and hostessed for 2 months while I sent out my portfolio. It's all about the portfolio. I always hated the concept of bullshitting on your resume and this job doesn't require that so I knew it was right for me.

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Where did you live before Los Angeles?
I moved here from Boulder, Colorado where I'd been living for about 4 years. I grew up in Connecticut. I'm rather proud of the fact that I've lived in all three "C" states. By proud I mean I find it marginally interesting.