Interview: Aubrey Hamlett

Meet Aubrey Hamlett, founder of the incredibly helpful and clever blog for students of media, journalism and PR, My Interning Life (you can also say hello on Twitter or Facebook).

When she's not interning at PR business, Milk Kiddle Langmaid, (and soon, at Cosmo magazine!) she's busy posting fascinating profiles of fellow interns on her blog. She was kind enough to share her experiences with us during a spare moment...

1. Tell us about yourself and why you'd like to become a journalist.

My name is Aubrey, I'm 22 years old and live in Melbourne. I'm currently an intern at Milk Kiddle Langmaid PR and also work casually in hospitality. I am in my final year (thank goodness) of university, studying a Bachelor of Media Studies (Journalism) at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

I wouldn't say that I want to be a 'hard news' journalist, rather my dream has always been to work at Cosmopolitan magazine and be a features writer or have my own column. I love writing and during high school English was always my strongest subject. When I was about 15 years old I picked up my first copy of Cosmo - the infamous 'blow job' issue - and have bought and kept every issue since. I would pore over the articles and came to adore Zoe Foster's beauty advice. My love affair with Cosmo has since become a bit less obsessive, however I still enjoy reading the columns by Zoe Foster and Emma Markezic each month.

2. How did you first become an intern? Did you apply to many different magazines and PR agencies?

At my university internships are not compulsory. There is an internship subject for third year students, but nobody undertakes internships or work experience unless they enrol in that subject. At the start of 2011 I decided to procrastinate no more. It's well known within the media industry that you have to have some experience under your belt before graduating. You can't just walk into the Herald Sun, The Age or even ACP and say, "Here I am! I've graduated from media/journalism... give me a job. Now." It's impossible to do this and so many students mistakenly think this.

I had mentioned to my brother's long-time girlfriend, Eden, who is an editor for a group of magazines that I wanted to get some experience. I also wanted to be published. I hadn't actually applied for anything until Eden sent me a message saying Milkk PR (now known as Milk Kiddle Langmaid) were looking for interns. Eden thought I would fit in well and encouraged me to send Shereen an email.

I sent the email explaining I knew nothing about PR and had no experience and generally thought nothing of my email. I honestly thought I wouldn't be asked to even come in for a trial. Shereen responded a few days later and after about a month of choosing dates for my first day, I started in March and have been going to Shereen's home office each week since.

In May I had my first article published online titled 'Rebel Who' on The Roar website. I gained a lot of attention from my provocative stance on Rugby Union. I was really happy with the outcome and have surprised myself because so far I have only been published online (The Roar, upstart magazine) writing about sport.

In November last year I applied to do some work experience with Cosmopolitan magazine in Sydney. I was thrilled when Gyan Yankovich invited me to come ACP in Sydney later this year. I am also keen on getting some work experience at a sports organisation in their media department.

3. What was your first day of interning like?

My first day was nerve-wracking to say the least. I was going to a home office, and had no idea what to wear. I just had my laptop, wore some jeans and a shirt and off I went. Shereen's home office is based in the south eastern suburbs, while I live in the outer east. It takes me about an hour and a half to get to my internship. I spent my first day writing a biography for a children's book author. Nothing embarrassing or funny happened that day, although I gathered that it was a pretty relaxed environment and Shereen seemed happy with what I had written. Hence why I kept going back. It just became a no brainer, Wednesdays was the day that I went to Milk PR and dedicated my spare time to working with Shereen. I also knew I was complimenting my university studies by interning each week.

4. What does a typical day involve?

A typical day... there isn't really a typical day at Milk PR. I am now working there a few days a week so I suppose a typical day starts off with a de-brief of our social lives over some chai tea. Shereen then gives me tasks to do or follow up and I check all my emails on the admin computer. I draft press releases, email journalists, sports organisations, personal contacts and liase with clients. Shereen is sometimes out of the office several times a day meeting with clients. We recently did the PR for an Australia Day event so we were busy contacting athletes, celebrities and media to get involved. We are also in the middle of cleaning up our media databases which is time-consuming but will definitely help us in the future. My day usually ends at about 4pm when I head home and reflect on everything I learnt that day.

5. What's been your best experience so far while interning?

My best experience so far has been working with Shereen. She has welcomed me into her business and personal life. I have already learned so much about PR from Shereen and my experience has been invaluable. What's really satisfying is when media such as a TV show or newspaper confirm they will be at your event, and when the piece of press appears on TV, in the social pages or as a feature article. I look at it and think 'I helped with this. I locked in that piece of PR for our client', it's really satisfying when everything works out. It makes me think that all the travelling, countless emails, hours spent in the office, meetings and the event itself has eventuated into something worthwhile.

6. Tell us about the blog you've started, My Interning Life.

My Interning Life was actually a university assignment. We had to create a blog, write entries of 500 words each week and then create that blog as a website from scratch using HTML and CSS. I came up with the idea by just discussing and brainstorming a unique blog idea. We were told that sport and fashion were a big no-no and had been done to death. My Interning Life seemed like a great option as it was something that I could relate to and also wanted to know what other internships students were doing.

After I had the foundations and idea of my blog...I kind of fell in love with it. I consistently posted each week and found I really wanted to share other intern's stories so I could inspire others to get out there and intern. My most successful entries seem to revolve around AFL (surprise, surprise) which is also one of my favourite topics. Working in the AFL or for a sports organisation is popular with many students and I am happy to say that two of my featured interns are now working full time at AFL clubs where they interned. It's moments like finding out my friend has scored their dream job that makes my blog worthwhile.

I really enjoy connecting with other media/journalism/PR students and professionals and learning about their experiences. Writing each week has also helped me find my own style and I try to challenge myself each week by making each post indivdual and unique.

7. How would you describe your fashion and beauty style?

My fashion and beauty style is very comfotable and casual. I basically live in jeans and cardigans. Being from Melbourne, I usually find myself dressing head to toe in black and looking at the weather forecast so I can dress appropriately. During summer, I mix it up a bit and love adding colour and wearing dresses, skirts and sandals. I love being comfortable so I always make sure comfort comes first when getting dressed in the morning.

In terms of beauty, I have a day and night skin care routine using Mario Badescu products. I love wearing lots of mascara as my lashes are long and dramatic. I found Dior mascara is great for this. I've recently also become a fan of fake tan and bronzer. I am very fair (I wasn't blessed with my mother's Italian skin) and love using bronzer over my blush to give myself a more 'sun kissed' look in summer. I have however had many mishaps from my DIY fake tanning -- the curse of the fair skinned.

8. What are your career goals for the future?

My career goals have significantly changed in the last 18 months. I would still love to work in magazines as a writer or columnist, but I am now a lot more open and willing to seek out other options available to me. Working at Milk PR has thrown me for a loop. I am one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason and now feel as though I am heading in the PR direction. I would really love to work in the media department at an AFL club or doing PR at a boutique agency like Milk Kiddle Langmaid.

Whatever happens I want to make sure I am being creative, writing and continually being passionate and inspired from my work.

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