ALEK WEK - photography: Txema Yeste - styling: Bernat Buscato - hair: Lacy Redway - makeup: Tyron Machhausen - manicure: Natalie Pavloski - set design: Chad Dziewior - text / interview: Irene Ojo-Felix - Models online editorial May 2017
“Feeling comfortable in your own shoes. I think it’s good to be able to say to a young person that you are enough. You can improve but it doesn’t take away who you are. Some people are loud, some people are shy, it doesn’t make them any better or any less.”
“Being iconic means inspiring change. I feel my parents raised us to be thinkers and good human beings the best that they could. I didn’t want to just model for the sake of vanity, I knew that there was a bigger purpose, being able to shed light on important issues like the refugee crisis.”
disclaimer - i’m not a career coach. this is just advice based on personal experience. as a business/marketing major i interviewed with companies like google, nike, philips, and am now interning at microsoft. these tips will not guarantee you a job and some things might not work in your country/industry (but hopefully they will help you along the way!)
1. your resume
this is your ultimate marketing tool. make it work for you. i personally prefer resumes that are limited to 1 page. it’s true that recruiters only glance at your cv for just a couple of seconds, so make yours stand out, yet keep it minimal/simple.
for each job, list bullet points and make them result-driven (and make your first bullet your best bullet).
(i will share some example layouts soon)
2. the application process / preparing for your interview
you have nothing to lose. see a job that interests you? just apply! even if you don’t meet all the requirements, it’s worth a shot. what’s the worst that can happen? you might think “but i’m not good enough for this job” - lemme tell ya, that mindset is not gonna land you ANY job at all.
don’t wait until the application deadline.
prepare a pitch about yourself and memorize this so you’re good to go when the interviewer asks you to tell something about yourself.
there are many websites out there that list basic interview questions. make sure you prepare for these. just google (common/top) interview questions”. make sure you have an answer in mind.
it’s okay to indicate some of your weaknesses, but either conceal them with a strength or tell them that you’re working on improving yourself. no one is perfect. show that you’re eager to learn and grow.
study the company. don’t just look at what they sell, but also study their mission, history and what they do “behind the scenes” (e.g. philanthropic initiatives). also have an answer to why you would want to work for this company (and why you choose them instead of their direct competitor).
ALWAYS prepare questions for the interviewer, too. one question that i like to ask is “what is one thing you DON’T like about working for this company?”. i have asked this to managers at google and microsoft, and some didn’t have an answer for me hehe. surprise them.
3. the interview
BE YOURSELF! i can’t stress the importance of this enough. it’s totally ok to be nervous, but try to relax anyways!
practice a firm handshake.
always be prepared to elaborate on your cv and job experiences. this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you don’t lie on your cv lol.
dont worry about awkward silences when the interviewer asks you a question. take some time to compose your answers rather than simply trying to bridge the silence by blurting out something . some companies also like to hear your think out loud.
take some time to get to know the interviewer. if s/he doesn’t do so already, ask the interviewer to tell something about themselves.
dress accordingly (some companies require you to dress smart, others are fine if you show up in a casual outfit). if you don’t know what the dresscode is, don’t be afraid to contact the recruiter about it.
didn’t get the job? don’t be so hard on yourself. you tried your best, so consider your interviewing process a lesson and a training.
4. on the job
networking is important. schedule coffee with your teammembers so you can get to know them better one on one (maybe you’ll even make some friends along the way). are you interested in what other teams or departments do? don’t be shy and get to know them too. (note: do check your organizational structure. by that i mean: don’t just schedule coffee with all senior managers and directors if that is not a part of your company culture lol)
if another intern is onboarding you and showing you the ins and outs, always take notes. you tell yourself you will remember everything, but trust me; you won’t. write down any instructions you receive and you will thank yourself later.
never ever be afraid to ask questions. don’t be afraid to ask for help.
don’t be afraid of new challenges.
if you have any q’s, shoot me a message. got any additional tips? feel free to send me those and i’ll add them to my list (ofc i’ll credit where due).
This is a video I keep in my phone and listen to it once in a while when I’m down.
It’s one hell of a gifset, but I just don’t want to cut anything he said because every word shows his precious growing mindset. Everyone has weakness and difficult times, but it is so important that one can be critical of oneself even if others are lenient, be conscious of their ability and goal, be realistic but also optimistic about the future, and have a fire to keep going despite hardship. Each of those characteristics is good enough, but it’s such an amazing thing to find this all in one person, and condensed in just a few sentences in this interview.
Beside his lovely performances, this is the reason why I admire this person so much. And because life is so hard for me recently, let me just translate this and gain some strength from it now then.
i’ll never understand why emotional vulnerability is so looked down upon when it’s possibly the most human trait you could ever have? im all for emotional vulnerability & transparency. i’ll cry into my soup at a crowded cafe if i want to. it’s a powerful way to live
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna photographed by Stephen Torton, 1982.
Madonna and Basquiat dated for a while, but his heroin addiction ended up pulling them apart. “He was an amazing man and deeply talented. I loved him,” she said. “When I broke up with him, he made me give all [his paintings] back to him. And then he painted over them black.” She regrets giving the art back, but felt pressured to do so since it was something he had created. (The Howard Stern Show, March 2015)
Madonna: “Basquiat was my boyfriend for a while, and I remember getting up in the middle of the night and he wouldn’t be in bed lying next to me; he’d be standing, painting, at four in the morning, this close to the canvas, in a trance. I was blown away by that, that he worked when he felt moved. And they gave jobs to everyone. Keith would meet kids on the street and ask them to come stretch his canvases for him. Basquiat had every B-boy and every graffiti artist in his loft. He was constantly giving everything away. I think they felt guilty that they became successful and were surrounded by people who were penniless, so they shared what they had. They were incredibly generous people, and that rubbed off on me. You stay inspired that way. I could never work in a recording studio where you have this lovely view and a beach and the waves are crashing. For me, it’s all about being in a tiny room with little windows. It’s almost like you have to be in a prison. And you can create beauty when you’re in that sort of deprived environment, which is a re-creation of your formative years.”
“I remember having conversations with Keith [Haring] and with Basquiat about the importance of your art being accessible to people,“ she recalled. “That was their big thing—it should be available to everyone. It was so important for Keith to be able to draw on subways and walls. And Basquiat used to say to me, ‘You’re so lucky that you make music, because music comes out of radios everywhere.’ He thought that what I did was more pop, more connected to pop culture than what he did. Little did he know that his art would become pop culture. But it’s not like we really had discussions about the meaning of art. I remember hearing them talk about those things.”
“Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out. — Cheryl Strayed
Three days ago I watched this interview of Cheryl Strayed on “How To Become a Writer, The Power of Art and More” (this is the title if you want to watch it on YT) and it was truly amazing and inspiring!
This interview (done by Marie Forleo) put me into tears at a certain point, I don’t even have words to express how I felt after watching this discussion, it was extremely moving, inspiring and powerful! If you ever feel sad or just having a bad time, I highly recommend you to watch some of Cheryl Strayed’s interviews, because Cheryl’s words of wisdom is the best medicine ever!
Speaking about Cheryl, I today received 3 of her books! “Torch”, “Brave Enough” and “Advice on Love and Life from someone’s who has been there”. I can’t wait to finish my exams to read all of them!
Side note : Brave Enough is a book of quotes from Cheryl and what I am planning to do is not to read it in one sitting but read one quote every day!