The Dropout is an American drama miniseries based on the scandalous true-life story of Elizabeth Holmes, who was once called the “youngest self-made female” billionaire in the whole world by Forbes.

The young entrepreneur start-up her biotech company Theranos, initially known as “Real Life Cures,” in 2003. She touted that her revolutionary blood-testing product can run several tests with a single drop of blood. Surprisingly, enough many high-profile investors like Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch, and the Walton family of Walmart fame in Silicon Valley fell for her charm and raised the evaluation of her company to $945 Million.

To sell such big deceits to her potential customers and investors, she hired many big faces from the world of science and Silicon Valley as well. Among them was Ana Arriola, who’s said to be one of the members of the iPhone design team.

Who is Ana Arriola?

The miniseries Dropout dropped on Hulu on March 3 and has aired three episodes so far. Ana Arriola played by Nicky Endres appeared on the last one, where Holmes convinced Ana to join her biotech company, Theranos in 2007 as Chief design architect. Yes, she was a real person and it did happen.

Ana Arriola had already established her name as a product designer in Silicon Valley. She had worked under big brands like Adobe and Apple at that time. According to her LinkedIn profile, She describes herself as a queer Latinx woman of trans and non-binary experience. Her responsibilities in Theranos were to help monitor, design, and build the blood-testing device. Before this, she was working as the senior product manager at Apple. 

Did Ana influence Holmes to dress like Apple’s Steve Jobs?

In an interview with Elle in 2019, Ana revealed that as the newly appointed designer, she did suggest Elizabeth Holmes “dress more like a CEO.”

“She had this kind of spunky, frumpy Christmas sweater attire… It’s literally like… Stuff you see that has pixel art poorly done.” Holmes took her advice to upgrade her style but instead of picking “couture” as Ana suggested, she went specifically for the “iconic” style of Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs in black turtlenecks. 

Arriola then even gave her the name of Steve’s turtleneck designer. She called Holmes 120% fake as she copied other people’s styles rather than picking her own.

Why did Ana leave Theranos?

Arriola and Holmes’ relationship took a sour turn when Ana disagreed with Holmes to work on testing cancer patients with unfinished and inaccurate devices. She couldn’t stand her unethical practices and lies anymore. So, she resigned from her position after four months of joining.

The former product designer told Elle: “People’s lives were at stake. We left because it was our understanding that [Elizabeth Holmes] was jeopardizing human life.” She was one of the whistleblowers on Theranos, who first spilled the company secrets in The Wall Street Journal to the reporter, John Carreyrou, who even wrote an entire book covering Elizabeth’s scandal named Bad Blood. After she quit Theranos, many other staff members followed her footstep and leave their position.

What is she currently doing?

Ana Arriola has worked with many influential tech companies like Sony, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. since she left Holmes. The former Theranos member is now working as the director of product design and research for Microsoft’s PhysOps Studios in Kyoto, Japan.

She was named as one of the most influentiаl LGBTQ+ people in tech by Business Insider in 2019.