LA Aguinaldo, Yeo Kaa, and other creatives tell us their internship stories

Internships, OJTs, apprenticeships—whatever you wanna it call, we all went through them. Or at least, most of you out there are about to. This is your first taste of the bustling, ever so changing creative industry. Our internship story will always be different from one another. It could be mundane, life-changing, or just another graduation requirement.
We all have an internship story to tell. And so do your fave creatives.
In between breaks, we ask the speakers of this year’s SCOUT Creative Talks on what kind of intern they were, the description of their ideal intern, and what can they say to young hopefuls trying to get their dreams off the ground.

LA Aguinaldo, “Most likely to start a party”

Were you a good intern or a bad intern?
I was a clock-in, clock-out intern. I just wanted to go home, do my job, and then when it’s five, I’m out. Even if people are still in the office, I’m gonna start packing my things. Looking back, I thought it was just the rule. I didn’t treat it as, ‘oh, you have to stay.’
My bosses didn’t even say anything. I interned at a production house, so the hours were weird. The work started around 1 p.m., and then my co-intern and I would leave at five. Like, ‘Uh, we’re out. We have school stuff to do.’

If given a chance to repeat your internship, what would you do differently?
Probably spearhead projects more and not treat it as a requirement, because I treated it as more of a school requirement than a learning opportunity.

“Just be your fucking best because people are going to know you if you’re doing your best.”

What does it take to be your intern?
I just want someone easy to work with. We have to vibe with each other. I’ve worked with a lot of people who just have the same wavelengths. They get whatever is in my head. It just clicks, you know, and I take note of people like that and just keep working with them. Because it makes things so much easier and at the same time you learn a lot.

Any advice for young hopefuls who wants to become a creative?
Just absorb everything and just try everything, you know? It’s so easy now to intern for people you want because everything’s just a DM away. It’s important to use the resources you have.

Petersen Vargas, “Most likely to go home by 8:00 p.m.”

Tell us about your internship experience.
I was both a good and a bad intern. I volunteered once for a film prod, and I did very good at it. The film did not finish shooting. I enjoyed it so much that I applied for another internship in the same summer, which ended up being made, but I quit on the second day. I was bad at it ’nung time na ’yun.

Would you change anything about it, if given a chance?
I don’t know, ’cause sakitin kasi ako. It’s not a good quality in a film set, especially in a country na binabagyo palagi. So I don’t know, I guess I should start being more healthy. [laughs]

Who can apprentice under you?
Since I’m in film, the intern should love films. I think that’s the basic standard. If I ask the question, “When was the last time you saw film in the cinema?”, and you say, a month ago or you’re rambling and you don’t know when was the last time, I think we’re not a good fit.

What’s your advice for aspiring filmmakers?
In one summer internship, I learned almost four years’ worth of university experience. Because it’s the real-world application of what you’ve learned, and especially in film, once you’re thrown into a set, and you have to finish shooting a feature film, it’s like your baptism of fire. Para siyang rites of passage.
Since you’re doing it for the first time, and maybe the only time, just be your fucking best because people are going to know you if you’re doing your best.

Marc Nicdao, “Most likely to bike”

How did you get started in photography?
My friend interned with a photographer, and at that time, I couldn’t take my internship because I was missing one subject. So I’m free for six months and I couldn’t take the remaining classes during our third year of college. My friend recommended me to the photographer, Francis Abraham.

I had an interview, and then the next day, he asked me if I wanted to apprentice and I was scared and confused because an apprenticeship means commitment. I was going back to school. I just needed something to do.

I stayed with him for three months as a production assistant and then I became his apprentice. I had no interest in learning how to use digital or to become a photographer. And then things just changed.

Who can apprentice under you?
They need damn good music and a good sense of humor. They need to think faster than you, and think two steps ahead. Someone who actually is hungry to learn, and at the same time not greedy.
Someone who’s really interested and who has the right reasons why they’re doing whatever it is they’re interning for. You have to be happy with what you’re doing, or it doesn’t make any sense. Even if you’re getting a million a month and you hate it, it’s not worth it.

What would you want to say to any aspiring creatives out there?
They should know the person they want to work with. Not just Google. But in the course of the internship, you get to know the person more. It’s the way they are with other people the way they treat their clients, the people they work with.
I became a professional because I observe. Not everything that you see is right, and that’s when you actually learn judgment. And that’s a judgment to yourself, “Will I do this?”. Whatever it is you’re going to do, there’s always a reason. But you better have the right ones.

Danyl Geneciran, “Most like to be an artist”

What were you like as an intern?
I left the internship way, way earlier than when I was supposed to, so I would say I was a bad intern. But if you ask me how it was, it was really helpful. In the span of three months of interning for V magazine, it was like a package that was right in front of me, where I was able to be exposed to the different departments of the business.
I think that’s why internships are really important, because it allows you to explore what areas you want to be in before deciding what you want to do in the future.

“Talent is great, but if you don’t nurture it with hard work, it definitely wouldn’t travel as far as putting in the hours.”

Would you have done something differently in your internship?
I think I would explore other departments further aside from styling. That’s one mistake that I did. Back then, I was only focusing on one area because I’ve always wanted to do that one area.

If someone wants to learn to style under you, what should be their qualities?
Someone who is creative and I think that’s already given. I’m looking for someone with high aptitude and real energy. Someone who will swoon over the clothes and the racks because that’s what makes it worth it. Someone with a good attitude and someone who’s genuine.

Read more: Fresh grads and career shifters, here’s advice from professional creatives

What’s your advice for creatives out there?
I guess the advice would always be if you’re a creative, whatever field you want to be in you should always strive to be ahead of the curve. Creatives are always striving for change and they’re always on the lookout, they’re always curious. You should be that. Be curious and observe it.

CJ Cruz, “Most likely not to get kicked out”

Do you have any interesting internship stories?
[During my internships] I was really bad at being good. You know when you know how to do things, but you don’t really do it that way? Yeah, that was me. I was very high strung. I had my own point of view, but I was just an intern. [laughs]

Would you have done something differently in your internship?
I feel like I would be less shy. I would be more comfortable in my own skin.

What are the top qualities of a CJC intern?
Someone who can definitely offer something new on the table, and thinks outside of my perspective. but would be on the same page as I would.

What will you tell aspiring fashion designers out there?
Nothing beats hard work. Talent is great, but if you don’t nurture it with hard work, it definitely wouldn’t travel as far as putting in the hours—not just the hours, but putting in the skill and the focus.

Yeo Kaa, “Most likely to take business in college”

What kind of art intern were you?
’Di naman ako na-la-late. Pero lagi akong lasing. At least pumapasok ako. Tapos sabi lang ng boss ko, “Kahit ano ang suot mo.” So, pumasok ako ng unang araw butas lahat ng damit ko. Hindi pa uso yung butas na damit noon, ha.

If you can change anything in your internship experience, would you do it?
Wala naman. Ayoko nang bumalik. Ayoko na ulitin, okay na ’yun.

What are the qualities of your ideal intern?
Punctual. ’Tsaka ayoko ’yung nag-se-cellphone lagi. ’Yung timeline ko na-de-delay dahil ’dun, sobrang strict ko sa oras, eh.

Any advice for young artists who want to follow your steps?
Akala ko joke lang ng prof ko pero importante talaga ’yung [pagiging] punctual. Sobra. Kahit gaano ka galing, kung hindi ka punctual, pipiliin nila ’yung mas mabilis na kausap.

Jess Wilson and Coco Quizon, “Most likely to take over the world”

Jess, do you have an OJT story for us?
Jess: I had a very colorful creative internship background. My first internship was with Bench. Nothing creative about this, I was literally an Aldo store stock keeper. My dad was saying, “You can’t have a summer. High school’s done, you’re now in university.” And I was transferring to Sydney, so I had an eight-month gap. So I was asking everyone to hire me for a month or two, and Bench was very kind and they hired me as a store stock keeper for Aldo.
I was in the Rockwell store in the backroom taking notes of how many pairs came in. That was for three months, and I was like, this is hard work. And then I went to Rustan’s and did the bedding section. So I did bedding workshops. It was very interesting. There is a whole business out there for linens. And then, I finally went to university and went to England and did a Harvey Nichols PR and marketing internship, where I was in charge of putting together graphics and PR stories, and styling the mannequins, so that was really fun.

Read more: It’s about that time: we’re accepting internship applications again

What was the biggest takeaway from your internship experience?
You kind of just get thrown into all sorts of jobs and you’re asked to do full-time profession work on day one, and you’re just expected to know how to do a Photoshop poster banner of a sale sign.
I figured that along the way, but these skills have somewhat helped me in my career today. So, at least I know—with our graphic artist today—exactly what to tell them what to do. And then sometimes there would be funny mockups and they’re like, “What is that, Jess?!” Basta, you get it, this is the direction.

You have to learn that there’s a lot of hard work, or that there’s a lot of boring work to do.”

Would you say you’re a good intern or a bad intern?
Jess: I wasn’t the best, but I showed up every day. I wouldn’t do sick leaves. I took every role, but I never was like–there were always three or four interns with me, and they were always the favorite ones. They were the ones who got hired and I was like, “What am I doing wrong?” But that’s fine because it’s all for a reason. Had I got hired, I wouldn’t be here today.

How about you, Coco? Did you do internships back in the day?
Coco: I actually have never interned in my life. I started working at 18. My first job was at the Pancake House of Australia. From there, I’ve had a lot of jobs in between. I worked at a Jamaican restaurant. I worked in part-time catering.

What was your first introduction to the industry then?
I needed money, and I was broke at the time. So, I chose a bunch of different part-time jobs, and that’s how I developed all my hard and soft skills. I ended up in PR, met a couple people that were like, “Hey, you might be good for Sunnies.” So that’s how I ended up here.

Would you have done something differently?
Coco: I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I didn’t make all my mistakes or job hop.
Jess: I think I really went for the internships I really wanted. Well, not the first ones. But I ended up with the jobs I really wanted, especially with Harvey Nichols. I really fought for it. And yeah, I wasn’t paid. It was really difficult living in London, but I think it taught me a lot.

What are the qualities of your dream Sunnies intern?
Jess: Hardworking. A love for the brand is really important.
Coco: It’s important that they like the brand or they like retail. That they understand that to get to the pretty stuff, you have to do all the hard work. I think where interns get kind of messed up is that they expect that it’s all fun. You have to learn that there’s a lot of hard work, or that there’s a lot of boring work to do.

Read more: How Anthony Bourdain taught young depressed creatives like me to be brave

Jess: The ones that succeed the most in the company are those with entrepreneurial skills, the people that really feel that they are part of Sunnies. The brand won’t succeed without them.

What’s your advice on entering the creative industry?
Coco: There’s some stuff in my portfolio that’s very embarrassing, but I understand that it was part [of the learning process.] I was able to network and meet all the people that got me here. That’s something that they shouldn’t take lightly, and they should have fun with that. And just don’t overthink stuff.

Eric Salta, “Most Likely To Be A VJ”

Were you a good intern? Or a bad one?
Oh my god, I was such a good intern. I interned at GMA network for a TV show, and back then it was at QTV. There was a show called “May Trabaho Ka” where they hire people on the spot. It was like a series of challenges in a reality TV show, and the prize is the job itself. Ang bilis ko daw mag-transcribe, ang dami ko daw ideas. TV production wasn’t really my thing, but I thought I wanted to try it out because it’s a new experience and I wanted to explore it at that time.

Would you change anything about your internship days?
No, not really, I still thought them really helpful and I learned a lot. I had an idea that it was difficult to produce TV or content in whatever shape or form it comes. It taught me to respect all the other people in production: From the director to the scriptwriters and producers, even the gaffers or best boys. It’s all an orchestrated effort. One cannot function without the others. That’s what I learned throughout my time there, and I think I’ve had massive respect for people who are doing that.

Who can intern under you?
My ideal intern is someone who is not afraid to just learn and follow. Sometimes interns have this expectation on how things should be. They have this idea, and then they want to try that point throughout that period, but it’s important to be able to be receptive to what your direct superior is trying to teach you.

What can you tell aspiring interns out there?
You shouldn’t be afraid of getting yourself out there. No matter what you do, it’s very important for you to know what’s happening out there. It’s necessary. Even if you’re that type of person who says, “Oh, I want to do my own thing. I have my own ideas.” It is necessary for you to know what’s happening out there, and see how you can actually relate to those. Because otherwise, you’re just in a vacuum.

Special thanks to Off-White Manila & Univers.ph
Produced by Rogin Losa
Art direction by Nimu Muallam
Photography by JP Talapian
Cover art by Cathy Dizon

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