• MinJi Joo (she/her)

An Advertising Internship Gone Digital (Part One)

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

My experience with the 4A's Multicultural Advertising Internship Program amidist COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the chaos of 2020.

A screenshot from Jezz Chung's, Rewrite your Bio Lab! There I am at the first row third box

How naïve it was for me to think that the next summer was going to go just as planned. Finally! An internship within my grasp after three years of endless applications and interviews that led to absolutely nowhere. MAIP acknowledged me for the capable young creative that I am! Alas... as I was fantasizing about my joyous summer in the vibrant city of Chicago, the coronavirus nipped my dreams in the bud. As a rising senior, I felt like not having an internship by now meant I was doomed. Little did I know, this was better than any other internship opportunity I could have hoped for.

The Anxiety

As a female Asian American rising senior that had no internship experience under her belt, I felt screwed. When I recieved the news that my art director internship at Mcgarry Bowen Chicago was rescinded due to the pandemic, my heart sunk. The loss of an internship and the on-going sinophobia just outside my door made everything feel out of place. Everyone that I knew was suffering in some way shape or form due to the pandemic: job loss, severed relationships, unexpected relocation, you name it. Then... the rekindling of BLM.

The death of George Floyd shook the nation to the core. I have never wept for a man that I have never met. This had started all sorts of conversations among the MAIPers. As BIPOCs, I believe collectively the majority of us have reservations about the advertising industry. The endless stories of racism, sexism, microaggressions, and otherisms from other BIPOC industry leaders is not so encouraging. The white "clubby" nature of the ad industry never seemed inviting or welcoming to me as a minority. I love creativity; however, am I willing to fuel capitalism? Am I willing to face microaggressions in the workplace? Something to ponder.

I am at the intersection of the fear of not wanting to pursue art direction, getting jumped by sinophobic people on the streets, getting covid, and mentally spiralling.

On the verge of graduation and dipping my toes into job hunting, I have even questioned if advertising is the right path for me at all. I reaffirm myself by saying, "MAIP is going to shake the table and change the advertising industry for the better."


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