Venezia Jones: The Gift
By Venezia Jones on Feb 18, 2021
Aspiring copywriter shares her ONE School portfolio program story
Black History Month celebrations are a little extra special this year at The One Club For Creativity. We've opened up applications for a second season of ONE School — our free portfolio program designed to address the ad world's diversity pipeline problem — and doubled its size, adding Chicago and Atlanta to New York and Los Angeles. We're hyped to see what sort of magic will
But we couldn't have had a second season without a successful first season, and this month also featured a very awesome moment: the graduation of ONE School's inaugural class! After sixteen grueling weeks of hard work, all thirty students made it through to the end, donning digital mortarboards for a virtual celebration that presented them to an audience of agencies looking to hire.
As we gear up for our spring classes, we invited our freshly minted grads to share what the ONE School experience meant to them. First up: from our West Coast class, Detroit-area aspiring copywriter Venezia Jones!
Man… ONE School. There are so many thoughts that come to mind with this one.
This experience has been more enriching than I could ever imagine. I mean, when I heard of the program, I knew it was going to be legendary.
Honestly, I haven’t always been a super fan of writing, but I’ve come to realize the power in words and how they can connect us. Being introverted and ever-so-slightly anti-social, I often do not volunteer to verbalize my inner thoughts with too many people. I tend to be very choosy with whom I allow myself to share those thoughts and feelings with. ONE School has helped me to open up a bit.
Before ONE School, I had been trying to break into the advertising industry since graduating college. When I say that I was desperate, I wholeheartedly mean that I was desperate to get in. I would’ve been so happy to just get a freaking pinky toe in the door of some agency, even if that meant that I had to get in on the account side and work my way on over to the creative department.
I had awards, honors, and experience studying abroad under my belt, but I made the mistake of not bagging an internship in college. So, regrettably, my journey to break in was difficult. I had people tell me “You didn’t have an internship? You’re f*cked” and “oh, for this internship, we’re only looking for candidates who have had a couple internships under their belt already.” I’m not gonna lie, those words kind of hurt me a bit and made me feel quite hopeless. Like, you mean to tell me that your interns need multiple internship experience to be… an intern? The math wasn’t mathing for me on that one, but I continued to try.
On top of those spirit-breaking words, a lot of people were telling me that I needed to spend more money to go back to school and that was something I couldn’t afford to do. So instead of worrying about it, I spent my time creating things that brought some kind of happiness in my life, such as writing songs, curating photoshoots, and collaborating with local artists. Although those things brought me joy, they did not bring me much money and I very much so lived a “starving artist” lifestyle. Deep down, I’ve always felt like I possessed more than enough creative sauce to be paid handsomely for it. However, it just seemed almost impossible to obtain.
And then came ONE School.
When I learned that I was accepted into the West Coast class, I danced and then cried so many tears of joy and relief. The timing of this program was a literal blessing from God because I was so close to giving up on trying to be a creative in the industry.
"The timing of this program was a literal blessing from God because I was so close to giving up on trying to be a creative in the industry."
I am very thankful for the classmates that now make up my new creative family, as well as for Ez Blaine, the head of ONE School West Coast. Everyone fostered a positive, supportive environment, and served as a constant reminder of the talent I possess. Although it was a challenge tackling a new brief every week, I felt recharged and inspired after every single Zoom session. I now have a better understanding of my creative being, where my strengths lie, and how valuable my voice is to this industry. There will be no more straightening my hair for interviews to “look professional,” no more down playing my talent to humble myself, and certainly no more trying to fit in. I feel more confident to be myself because that is more than enough to propel me to greatness and make an impact.
I’ve discovered that my unique creativity is not only a superpower, but it is a gift to myself and others. I truly believe that talent is gifted to each of us so that we may gift it to others. Part of the human experience is the constant cycle of giving and taking to one another and so much good comes out of it. ONE School was a gift that helped me in ways unimaginable. In turn, I am hoping that my way with words and conceptual thinking will inspire and help people in whatever capacity they need it to.
Cheers to what I hope to be a gift that keeps on giving!
ONE School is currently accepting applications for Spring 2021. The sixteen-week online program is free for all accepted participants. The deadline for applications for all four classes is March 7, 2021.