By Mae Valdez
I do work in the events industry part-time as a brand ambassadress. Most people call us promo girls, and though I don’t have any violent reactions about that, a brand ambassadress (BA) is different from a promo girl. Firstly, BAs are models who appear in print ads and TV commercials while promo girls do not enjoy that opportunity. Second, BAs are more, but not limited, into advertising than selling the product. They are like “walking advertisements”. Third, BAs are paid more.
The job is not easy in the sense that you need to maintain a good physique, which means discipline in eating and being wise on investments pertaining to personal appearance. But the work itself is repetitive and not challenging. It’s basically being there to smile like a human ornament. Getting the job is a different issue though, because competition is tough nowadays when Brazilian models permeate the scene.
Despite the opportunity of fame and fortune, I don’t see myself doing this type of work in the next two years though. Pursuing a college degree, I hope I may be able to shift to a different career where I can further utilize all the things I learned in AIT. And speaking of AIT, there are several AIT alumni whom I have worked with in this industry. Some may not be aware but our college has produced a number of models and beauty queens aside from industry leaders (I’ll give their names soon). Indeed, AIT is a college of people who possess both beauty and brains.
Being a BA has taught me a lot of lessons in life that I would gladly share. Here are some of them:
Make the most out of every opportunity. When I was starting out, I didn’t get jobs. BAs are hired through go-sees where a representative from the events agency and the client company will be present. I didn’t know how to dress up, put on make-up, get to places such as Buting, Pasig (some interviews are held in places you never even heard of before). There were times when all I had in my pocket was just the exact amount of fare to get home. There were times when I went to “go-sees” and was lost in a sea of beautiful faces where I felt small and misplaced. I had self-esteem issues but I never gave up. I just went to every go-see I knew and made the most of every opportunity that I had. I kept on thinking that if the job was not for me, then something would be and I won’t stop until I find it.
Build relationships, not just a “network”. We often hear how important it is to build a network because you may never know when you would be needing help from other people that are inside your network. I prefer to build relationships with people I work with not because I may need them someday but because I appreciate them. If not for the agents, I wouldn’t have any work. So whenever I get a paycheck for example, I bring ice cream to their office. Sometimes, pizza. I may appear to be sip-sip in doing so, but I don’t give in with expectation of getting something in return. It’s just my way of showing appreciation. People can show appreciation in many different ways.
Always be on time. Don’t underestimate the traffic. There will always be traffic. Deal with it. But don’t rob others of precious time they may be spending doing something else. At work, time is paid. It’s a duty to be on time.
Get MRT Stored Value cards! Unless you want to spend a good 20 minutes on buying a ticket in North or Taft station during rush hours.
Get familiarized around Ayala Ave. and Ortigas area. And you should love walking.
Know as many gay lingo terms as you can. The events industry is the industry of gay men. Interior designers, make-up artists, fashion designers, directors, agents, and event organizers are mostly gay, probably because these jobs require a high level of creativity that gay men have. So learn their language. For starters here are some:
Chorva/Char/Chos are fillers
Echusero/a means “bolero/a”
Wit/Wichicles mean “no, none” depending on the context
Award means “napagalitan”
Kabog means “the X-factor”
Be polite but not timid, confident but not bigheaded. We Filipinos value humility, but sometimes humility tends to become timidity. In this industry, confidence is a must as well as respect for seniors and peers. It is a way to avoid gossips, which can ruin a career. Whatever industry you’re planning to venture in, it’s very important to keep a good reputation.