MY STORY SO FAR

I am called Jenna Anderson. My friends call me Jen; not to be confused with my best friend’s nickname, Gin. I am a hardheaded, southern-raised blonde girl. I have a deep voice, I take lots of pictures of my feet, and I drink my coffee black with two ice cubes. I am a human juxtaposition (I think in the best way possible – it keeps people on their toes). I am a creative. My love for all things creative and innovative began when I started dancing at the age of three. This love for creativity melted into other facets of my life like art, musical theater, photography, videography and design.

I entered college majoring in Arts Administration intending it to lead me to a career in art direction. I learned that I like Photoshop and Illustrator. More than just the design and construction aspect, I love the conceptual, brainstorming aspect of creativity and design. I find that the deconstruction process of looking at a simple element of the human experience and then building a multifaceted visual work out of that concept, invigorating. I actually just approved some of my work to be published with Kendall Hunt in a textbook that my professor is co-authoring. (So exciting!)

I decided to study abroad for a semester when I was 19. I lived in a sleepy little town called Preston in Northern England. I traveled a lot when I lived there, navigating multiple cities and countries on my own, without cellular data, and sometimes not speaking the language. My time there proved to give me some road blocks, like getting pick-pocketed in Spain. This isn’t fun when you don’t speak Spanish, but it also gives you a sense of ability when you feel very violated. Or sleeping in airports because your flight is at 7 am but the latest train to the airport is midnight the night before. This can be isolating, but it gives you a sense of attentiveness. This time spent abroad was equally the hardest and most rewarding time in my life. Personal struggles paired with external hitches taught me extreme perseverance, spontaneity, independence, and gratitude. Not to mention I will always have a soft spot in my heart for sleepy little English towns.

A friend of mine is currently in Portfolio School in Atlanta. Upon graduating from college I realized I didn’t want to be an administrator to an arts organization, but that I wanted to work as a creative within a large agency. I talked to my friend about his experience in school and I did A LOT of my own research. VCU has both aspects of a portfolio school and master’s program in one perfect fit for me. I have since been accepted into other portfolio schools, but VCU really feels like where I need to be. VCU doesn’t just breed creatives, it breeds creative leaders.

I had a job interview on UK’s campus September of 2016. I got a cup of coffee in the library before hand and proceeded to walk towards the business school. As I casually sipped on my blazing hot cup of coffee (it did not have two ice cubes in it) I accidentally spilled it all over the front of my baby blue blouse. Once I got to the building, I ran to the bathroom to try and get this coffee off of my shirt – it wasn’t working. In short, I took my hair down and swept it over one shoulder to try and cover the horrid stain. I ended up getting the job (and still work here!).

While enhancing my portfolio to re-apply to VCU, I have done extensive research about portfolio schools, masters programs, advertising agencies, and the people that work there. I have spoken to numerous people who have been through portfolio schools (VCU, MAS, Creative Circus, and SCA) and inquired about how the school has affected their careers. I have also annoyingly contacted agencies such as McCann and Deutsch about creatives they prefer to hire. I have looked at lists of employees on multiple agencies’ websites and stalked them on LinkedIn to see what kind of education they have. I have put countless hours into this research and ultimately, believe that the place for me is The Brandcenter and that the career path for me is Art Direction.

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Jenna Anderson

andersonj8@mymail.vcu.edu

(859) 285-9121