From Festival Internships to Walt Disney World – Here’s How An Alumni Did It
Equipped with a fierce determination at a young age to be spotlit in the Creative Industries, the Festivals and Performing Arts graduate, Maybelline San Juan, has worked tirelessly throughout her degree to be celebrated as an up-and-coming Woman of Colour in Adelaide’s bustling, creative sphere.
Recognised by UniSA as the highest performing graduate in her Creative Industries degree, and with four internships under her belt, it was clear that Maybelline was destined for big career strides.
Landing internships with iconic Adelaide festivals including the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Fringe Festival, Maybelline said the real catalyst for her career was the work experience she did with Adelaide City Festival, facilitated by UniSA’s industry connections.
“Interning at FCA was the opportunity that launched my career, and the professional relationship that I made with CEO Justyna Jochym is the continued gift that keeps on giving,” she said.
Although her love for the stage and events has been embedded in her since she started acting, singing and dancing at only five years old, it was her Class of Cabaret performance in high school that unlocked a whole new perspective of what it means to be in the creative industries.
“When the penny dropped that large teams of people are needed behind the scenes to bring the magic to life on stage, it was a no brainer to want to be part of these teams,” she said.
“And thanks to the industry connections embedded in the degree I have been able to walk into many amazing work opportunities, and even began my career in my final year of study.”
Despite her recent contracts with Slingsby Theatre, Amplified Assembly and RUMPUS Theatre, she decided to place her current corporate career on hold to work as a Cast Member in Florida’s Walt Disney World.
A dream she says that has finally been fulfilled, crediting UniSA and Adelaide’s bustling festival lifestyle for scoring this opportunity.
“Adelaide’s amazing reputation extends beyond South Australia, and if you do ever want to work interstate or even internationally, our arts organisations are prestigious and a gem to have on your resume,” she advises.
When asked how else the degree has prepared her for working life, Maybelline talks about the advantages of her degree.
“A lot of the work in the degree was actually, practically doing real life work in the industry.”
“In my experience, our festivals industry partner Festival City Adelaide (FCA) provided students with various work experience opportunities and internships.”
“By completing work experience, interning and shadowing at workplaces, networking with current professionals I was able to transition comfortably into working in the industry,” she continues.
“Whether you’re an artist, or a creative person who wants to be part of the arts world but is unsure how, I highly recommend studying the Bachelor of Creative Industries because of how customisable and flexible your studies are.”
Reflecting on her University studies, she laughs and details how her and her peers changed their minors and majors countless of times to get the “perfect combination”.
“Trial and error, that’s all it really is,” she explains.
After graduating her degree and embarking on her Disney dream exchange, she is ready to return to Australia to officially kick start her post-uni career.
Landing a huge role at Riverside Theatre as a Business and Venue Coordinator in New South Wales, she will be an active contributor behind upcoming productions that celebrate gender and cultural diversity, which she says she has always strived to be working towards due to her own diverse cultural identity as a Filipino-Australian.
“My purpose in this industry is to make the arts more diverse, accessible & sustainable,” she states proudly.
“Which is why I’m really excited to be working with Riverside as they prioritise representing their local community of parramatta by putting minority voices on stage.”
Maybelline’s triumphant story is a testament to her dedication in the Arts and dynamic motivation within her degree, from participating in internships delivered by UniSA’s proactive opportunity department, to engaging with networking opportunities funded by UniSA’s efforts, she defines her most valuable lesson learnt while studying her degree.
“In my experience it’s demonstrating the “what I know” about key and relevant industry topics learned in class, about my shared values with companies, about the skills I possess and about my passion for the arts that in the end secures the job,” she claims confidently.
“The after part of “who you know” is if those people are willing to vouch for you as your references, which again someone will only do if you’ve proven efficient in “what you know” on the job.”