Saturday, 12 January 2013

Olivia Culpo - Miss.Universe 2012

Culpo's life takes another incredible turn
as she finds out she's the new Miss.Universe
over Philippines 
Within minutes of tweeting Olivia Culpo I got a reply, which is quite extraordinary seeing as her life has changed into an even bigger whirlwind when she went from being Miss.USA to Miss.Universe 2012 on December 19th last year. She told me I was sweet for mentioning to my Twitter followers that if I could have anyone's life right now, it would be hers- And let's face it, who wouldn't want her life right now? The 20 year old, 5'5 Rhode Island native has been crowned the queen of the pageant arena over typical leggy blondes and is now an ambassador for female empowerment worldwide.

Being British, I don't think you should JUST support for your own country in events like these, but also the woman you believe a thousand little girls can look up to. Olivia is younger than me in years, but I believe she's wiser than me in wisdom. I competed in Universe Great Britain last May. It was my first pageant and I had no idea (seriously, NO IDEA) what I was doing and completely underestimated how many supermodel-looking girls I would be up against, so I was inevitably overlooked due to lack of confidence and presence- But say if I did win, Olivia would be the girl I would want to lose against at the next international step- Miss.Universe.

I understand people's concerns when it comes to 'beauty pageants' and in my short time competing last year, I saw some people hold true to those false ideals that comes with being a beauty queen. The fakery, the bitching and the dirty looks- I saw it all. But I also saw many more girls drawing on favourable and positive qualities from competing. For example, my closest friend during the Universe GB finals wasn't remotely bothered about asking people to 'vote' for her, but was more focused on the charity element and inevitably raised the most money and ended up winning the charity prize.

Going back to Olivia- our gorgeous new Miss.Universe (whose videos you can check out below), competed in Miss.Rhode Island over a year ago and it was her first pageant. Possessing quiet confidence, she went on to charm herself to the Miss.USA crown and of course Miss.Universe. The girl has never lost a pageant, which is pretty incredible. All this without a hovering aura of being unapproachable, fake and pageant patty. Even though I vowed another pageant wasn't in the cards for me because I got caught up in other people's negative approach to competing, I may be inclined to compete in another next year. I'm also encouraging other women to give competing a shot. Good or bad experience, you'll end up learning a lot about yourself.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Unpaid Vs Paid Internships

The people I've met, the events I've organised and the publications I've written for whilst interning in the media and entertainment business for the past 2 years has been fantastic. But even when supposed 'travel expenses' are rarely refunded, being an unpaid intern gets old. Fast.

Getting a job in this industry is extremely hard, as is portrayed by Lena Dunham's character in 'Girls'. Having parents constantly in your ear about finding a 'proper job', living of baked beans and gritting your teeth through backhanded comments by snobby co-workers is validated atrociously by the fact that many employers take advantage of interns. 'This position is unpaid, but will look great on your CV' mentioned about 90% of the vacancies I have clicked on in the past- And my CV does indeed looks fabulous now thank you very much. However the moral dilemma of being a hard-working intern in this business eats you up at times. It's on that long ass train ride back home from central London at 11.30 pm or being shoved up against the door on the tube under someone's sweaty armpit, holding the 'fragile' parcel with dear life that you're meant to deliver to a fashion house that you wonder why in the world you're not getting paid. It's outrageous and companies offering full time unpaid internships for 6 months, are taking advantage of a bright eager intern in my eyes.  Believe me, in this business a week is enough to suss out whether an intern is reliable or not and pay should be an incredible incentive to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Talking about 'bright eager interns', I would also like to point out that many employers automatically label every single intern that comes through their doors as 'inexperienced'. They should sit down with you and assess your past experiences, strengths and weaknesses. In the past few months, I've had internships where I've been offered the position based on my covering letter and CV alone- and while I feel proud of myself for having a great CV, I would have still expected an interview. Even when I've started my internships in the past after an email offer (which I suspect has been on a first come first served basis) I expect them to ask me about my experiences in the office. Many times, I have been left sitting there doing nothing and when asked if anyone needed any help, I would be asked to load the dishwasher, fetch some coffee or tape some parcels. Barely 'valuable experience' which these internships promote.

I also have a bone to pick with misleading internship offers. I recently said 'no' to an internship offer, that offered a salary with the position. Being invited to an interview, I was excited at the thought of possibly nabbing a lucrative paid internship. At the interview I asked about pay, and was straight up told there would be no pay because they couldn't 'afford' to pay interns. I should have spoken up at the time, but when they emailed me to start this New Year, I confronted them about the misleading information in the job vacancy. They denied the claims and suggested I must have mistook the vacancy for another. I'm not stupid.

Another time, I was browsing through a popular media job site where I saw a couple internships advertised as glossy 'paid internships'. Excitedly clicking on the vacancies, I discovered that their version of a 'paid internship' was handing out £10 a week. Appalling. That doesn't even cover travel expenses. I will be contacting similar 'paid internship' vacancies like this in the future to talk about the issue at hand. 

I am more than ready for a real job in this field and I'm glad I didn't take on the last internship, otherwise I would keep going round in circles. Internships can be incredibly valuable if utilised in the right way and if the people you work with genuinely care. I've dealt with all sorts of employers, so I'm clued up about the people that will just use interns and those who'll end up being a contact for years to come. It's important for potential and current interns to understand that asking about pay does not mean you have crossed the line. They have all the right in the world to ask. Especially if you end up loading someone's dishwasher- you definitely deserve to get paid for that shit.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions for 2013

I've scrolled through many corny summaries of 2012 on Facebook and Twitter, and personally I don't intend on reflecting on my year in a puke-worthy way of people I've loved and lost and the greatest lessons I've learnt from the mistakes I made (To be honest, I'll probably make those mistakes again). I want to focus on the following New Years Resolutions because they're an excuse to keep me on the straight and narrow.

*One of my main priorities for 2013 is to carry on with my crime novel. I'm not sure if I'll get it finished, but keeping it alive is of utmost importance to me. I started writing my novel a couple months ago and a few chapters in other priorities got in the way. I've only had a handful of moments since then to carry on what I started- But it's all about finishing what I started. Having the book published will be a lot of hard work in itself, so I have to focus on baby steps to keep me going! I just don't want to keep saying that I'm an aspiring author for years on end.

*Being the extremely awkward and complex human being that I am, I have the ability to take the synopsis of an everyday 'situation' and transform it into a killer article. 2013 will be the year to try my hand at freelancing for magazines. I believe in my work, but I know the competition out there is out of this world. Hopefully, a chance will be taken on me.

*If you know me well, you know that Giuliana Rancic is my idol and one day her job is going to be mine. No ifs not buts. Showreels and practise are key for this year. I'm not planning on jumping into the deep end, because live interviewing is still fresh territory for me. However, having foundations in my solid writing work I know I can succeed in this media sector.

*Every year my ultimate resolution is to lose weight. I want to change that this year. I just want to be fit, healthy and to look like I work out. I can safely say that I can't resist a slice of pizza or a bite of a burger and will never get the long lean limbs of Miranda Kerr- but a shorter, curvier body will suffice.
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