(After 5 clingy months with me, my interns ended their summer stint a few weeks ago. *cries* I’ll write more about it soon – but for the meantime, here’s a snippet of my team’s experience as told by my copy girls, Aidee and Jas.)
written by Adrienne Tan & Jasmine Dy
Phones out, hovering above the table at near 90 degree angles, all hoping to get the perfect shot of today’s banquet of flat-laid-food and coffee. It’s been 20 minutes of this. Their voices are distinct in a room filled with a professional in every chair, busy or taking a break from being busy. But these girls are on a different kind of busy spree. Theirs is a different buzz. They look for white walls and bright lighting while chattering about things it seemed only they understood. For another picture? A shoot? What these girls hadn’t known though, was they never needed any white brickwall or natural lighting to make them stand out. They were anything but your basic bunch of young creatives.
(L-R: Abbey, Katsy, Aidee, Jasmine, Christie, Cristina, Sofia)
“Dapat four nga lang eh,” Abbey mentioned, looking back into the grueling internship application process. On one side, for Abbey and Tricie, tough deliberations took place and even tougher decisions had to be made. On the other, we, Team ABC hopefuls, were narrowed down into a shortlist and eventually into the final team: two artists, two photographers, and two writers.
From a distance, we easily passed as typical budding creatives with one foot out the door and one foot tucked in our comfort zones, just testing the uncharted waters of today’s vibrant creative industry. “Do I fit in?” “Is this for me?” “Do I have what it takes?” We seemed to wonder with more potential than solid experience to hang on to. But we were here despite doubts; Abbey and Tricie must have seen something in each and every one of us.
In the very beginning we were just as awkward as we were anxious on the surface. But on a closer look as time passed, it’s no denying that the team was a quirky medley of personalities that somehow fit together to complete a wacky, far-out group of girls with a range of crazy antics up our sleeves, sharing a similar fancy for clean, themed, and color coordinated Instagram feeds. (However, no one’s feed is alike. Don’t believe us? Check us out!) Six characters made for six unique mindsets and interests—photography, illustration, graphic design, journalism, and dance—the list goes on.
It only took a few exchanges of coffee table magazine titles, names of a few bloggers and artists here and there, and even some boys with aesthetic potential (whoops, shh) to spark an unfathomable connection. We talked for hours. We danced like nobody was watching (but people did watch, and we danced anyway). We all sang, although some off tune, we sang louder together. We each had different dreams but shared one of making it big someday, since then solidifying a bond that grew in mutual respect and understanding, glued together like a lifetime of friendship.
And as if by some sort of foreshadowing, most of us in the final team were somehow seated together on the day of our interviews. In a common effort to ace our respective practical exams and simultaneously take in the ambiance of work space for the day, we couldn’t help but chat the hours away too. Trying to get an idea of what Team ABC was going to look like and already getting to know each other then. Little had we known that the universe might have been trying to tell us something. Coincide or not, we were bound to work together soon. By the end of March, they called on six who made the team of eight. The ABC Team.
“We are proud to welcome you to Team ABC,” popped up in six fateful Gmail inboxes. It was only a matter of days before a summer unlike any other started to take shape. It resembled the feeling of entering the first day of school with new people and challenges to break through. It was like a pilot episode that bore the promise of plot twists, climaxes, and villains in the form of creative ruts and a couple of personal insecurities for some. But we ran the marathon.
While it is a common notion that interns are your go-to-coffee or rather, “go get coffee” people to boss around, the ABC internship experience had us doing almost the opposite. We were drinking coffee (or hot chocolate) alongside our boss, whom we looked up to more like an older sister, as she squeezed regular meetings with us in her pencil-written schedule on her dotted Muji notebook and pseudo planner. Abbey was always open to suggestions of where to meet and eat next, never failing to take our convenience and opinions into consideration. She also assigned us to projects and tasks that best suited our specific set of skills, brushing up on our weaknesses and highlighting our strengths.
Aside from lending her a hand for her business and brand, Abbey in turn met up with each intern to get to know, understand, and motivate us to pursue our respective goals. She gave us tips and she shared her own stories of starting out. We got to know Abbey for who she really is beyond the girl with the pretty Instagram feed. And Tricie, her manager and our mentor, in spite of her busy work schedule, remained an active voice of reason and cheerful support all throughout. Both of them offered the interns workshops, from copywriting to goal setting to watercolor lettering; it was endless learning and self-exploration for everybody.
Four months flew by like a time lapse of meetings, briefs, projects, and snippets of underrated, witty moments in between—a summer of new things and new people that we wouldn’t trade for anything. Taking a dive into the unfamiliar, like Microsoft Excel for example (update: it’s not so bad and we’re getting the hang of it), finally maximizing Google Drive and some new apps, and seeing the wheels and cogs of running a brand and business first hand, we took on every challenge with Abbey and Tricie’s faith in us and their experience and expertise following through.
If we weren’t working from our homes and laptops, we attended events as interns on assignment and even just as interns out to have fun. We also had the opportunity to let loose (and we mean really loose) in pajamas at the Young Star Prom where we munched on slumber party food, goofed around, and met new people in the industry. But sometimes fun for us just meant spending an afternoon at the ABC HQ, admiring the artist’s cozy attic where the magic all began and has been taking place since. From bits of manual labor like wrapping merchandise in twine to cutting paper for Made by ABC and Type Lab MNL, to checking out Abbey’s personal collections of magazines, books, and postcards from all around the world. Fun also meant slowing down and getting hands on and crafty at #itsARTern, a calligraphy-hand lettering-and-crafting workshop care of co-creatives and fellow summer interns.
When it came to the nitty gritty, we were serious when we had to be and then we were just a bunch of friends for the rest of the stretch. Behind every team photo and flatlay of food and art materials are a series of good times. Workload stress, if any, were all worth it after our little moments-turned-fond-memories in between weeks of not seeing each other. And when it was time to go, we went home fulfilled every time, with a reignited flame that motivated productivity and creativity. A burning flame that warmed us with the thought that we weren’t so alone in this struggle after all. We had each other, we had opportunities, and we were beyond grateful.
Maybe years from now Sofia, Christie, Katsy, Tina, Jas, and Aidee won’t be on the search for perfect ambiance and pretty, bright white walls anymore. They won’t have to. Truth is they never really had to. All they ever needed was Abbey and Tricie to discover their own little glows. They’re six bright-eyed, young creatives who are going places, and perhaps looking forward to collaborating once again.
We’ll fondly recollect of the summer we spent learning from each other, of familiar faces, and unforgettable boisterous laughter. Then we’ll look forward to yet another new coffee shop to meet in and the team’s seemingly telepathic trademark of arranging plates into one cohesive picture-worthy layout when the waiter arrives with our food. And the only thing there is to ever argue about is where to put the potted cactus and whose hand would make another appearance in the shot.