When Ace Content co-founder Carlos Naude isn’t brainstorming new creative marketing schemes for Carhartt, The North Face, or Google, he spends his time trying to get off the grid at every possible opportunity. I spoke with Naude shortly after he appeared in the debut episode of Can-Am’s “Where the Pavement Ends” video series, which focuses on inspirational stories in the hopes of nudging viewers into spending a bit more time exploring the great outdoors
The video produced with Can-Am represents just one of Naude’s many extracurricular projects, from building and selling a successful Airbnb in Pioneertown near California’s Joshua Tree National Park to founding an outdoor club, off-roading with his family in a Jeep Gladiator and Escapod trailer , and riding dirt bikes out in the desert. He might even make an attempt at the Baja 1000 race sometime soon, a bucket-list goal that bubbled up while filming a feature on the only Mexican driver to ever win the iconic race.
Creative Director (And Possible Baja Hopeful) Carlos Naude
Naude originally hails from Mexico, though his circuitous route to co-founding Ace Content took him through Sweden, Spain, New York City, and eventually the greater Los Angeles region. Now with a wife and young son, Naude lives in Calabasas but one of his main projects outside of producing branded content for Carhartt, The North Face, Google, Pellegrino, Uber, and more for the past few years involved building Casa Mami in hipper- than hip Pioneertown. The stark Mojave Desert of Joshua Tree introduced Naude to the capabilities of Can-Am’s side-by-sides.
“I’ve been driving them for a while,” he told me, “I’ve done three or five Can-Am trips… I love it. You know, I just absolutely love it. That’s the beauty of California, right? You have everything, you have mountains, you have desert, you have the forest.”
After using Casa Mami as a getaway during the pandemic, Naude sold the property to focus on a new house in Calabasas, though he wants to get back to the dirt soon—and not just to create another stream of rental income.
“On my bucket list is I wanna do the Baja 1000,” Naude revealed. “We’re working on a film about the Baja 1000, a scripted film inspired by Tavo Vildósola, who is the only Mexican who ever won the race. It’s Mexican, it’s a race in Mexico, but it’s for Americans.”
Of course, a connection with Can-Am might just help Naude check Baja off the bucket list.
“I wanna do it on a Can-Am,” Naude explained. “I’m not gonna do it on a bike. I have a son now and it’s just too dangerous. A Can-Am, you know, feels like the right amount of pushing the edge, but while not sacrificing your life. At least you’re in a cage.”
I mentioned the incredible challenge Baja presents to vehicles and drivers, even seasoned pros. But Naude just laughed.
“Listen, I don’t wanna win it. I just wanna finish it, you know. I wanna take my time.”
Getting Away From The Grind In A Jeep Gladiator
Given his penchant for off-roading side-by-sides and dirt bikes, I asked Naude what he daily drives—turns out, the four-wheeling life continues in town with a Jeep Gladiator.
“I live it out in the suburbs in Calabasas, so I don’t do a lot of city driving,” Naude explained. “I go surfing a lot and I just drive through the canyon with the board on the back of the truck. I love that truck and it’s fully built now.”
Though not a factory Rubicon, Naude’s Gladiator looks the part with knobbies and the iconic Jeep profile. Even the Gladiator’s extra truck bed cargo space, as compared to the smaller Wrangler, presents a bit of a challenge for a family of three, though, so he typically hauls a lightweight teardrop-style Escapod trailer that features a little bed space and a pop up kitchen at the rear.
Maybe the challenge of leading massive brands through today’s evolving corporate landscape forces Naude to seek some respite out in nature. Clearly, he wants to try it all.
“All the activities, anything that gets me out. Any wheels, any motion.”
Working Holiday Outdoor Club
“The moment you hit dirt, it’s like that’s when the fun starts,” Naude said. “The road is just, you know, there’s so many rules. Once you get off the road, it’s like the rules kind of just go out of the way more. That’s what makes it super fun.”
On the tail of his Gladiator, Naude plastered a sticker for his latest project, called “Working Holiday Outdoor Club,” a new facet of Working Holiday Studio, which he founded as a personal project separate from Ace Content. The outdoor club attempts to combine all the aspects of his life, in what seems like a strong nod to the current digital nomad culture.
“It’s kinda like my side gig,” Naude told me. “Working Holiday has three different pillars. It has creative, it has interior design, and then recently started doing a Working Holiday Outdoor Club where it’s basically just all my hobbies put into one place and trying to monetize them.”
Gladiators don’t come cheap, it turns out—neither do Escapod’s trailers. Naude obviously specializes in transforming creative work into revenue, but he hopes to keep Working Holiday from becoming a chore or a distraction from the fun.
Can-Ams, Bikes, And Baja
“The moment it becomes spreadsheets, I’m out,” he joked. “When I put everything in place, I’m super organized. And so I love to get the things together, but I wouldn’t wanna run, like, an adventure company. That’s too much liability, too much logistics, and too many spreadsheets and insurance and insurance policies.”
But if projects like Where the Pavement Ends and Working Holiday allow him to escape the daily grind, all the better.
“I just wanna be able to do more,” Naude said. “I’m about to build a dirt bike now. I’m looking at a [Honda] XR650. It’s all stock, I’m picking it up on Monday,”
But that bike won’t take him to Baja, at least not how Naude envisions entering and finishing the race. Maybe Can-Am can help along the way, since even finishing Baja requires first surviving Baja.
“Two years from now, I think I’m gonna do it,” Naude predicted. “Just to do it, not very crazy. I’m not hoping to spend $200,000 and get a helicopter and a support team. Just literally get a partner, pay a couple crew to help us with pit stops. What happens if we do 200 miles and that’s the end? So be it, at least I tried.”
Sources: acecontent.com, can-am.brp.com, casamami.co, youtube.com, workingholidaystudio.com, escapod.us, and jeep.com.