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How did you start your writing and editing career?
“I had no intentions of becoming a freelance writer. I have a family friend who is a freelance writer and editor (see her portfolio here) – and one of her writers fell through for an assignment and she asked if I would like to take it. I said ‘sure’. As time passed, she kept feeding me assignments and I decided…why not try being a freelance writer? I do not have that many years of experience behind me, but I am continuously trying to build my portfolio and work on pitching to publications. Last year due to the pandemic and immigration issues, I had to come home. While trying to find a job, I stumbled upon CARIB VOXX and saw they were offering internship opportunities. So, I said, why not apply for the ‘Associate Editors’ position? Here I am, almost 3 months in.”
What is your preferred drink, and why?
“I am a rum and coke kind of gal, but in recent years I have more sided with red wine. Not sure why, it’s just what I crave – in a non-alcoholic-sounding way. My favorite is the Michael David Freakshow Cab Sav.“
Have you experienced other cultures? If so, are there any experiences that you treasure from your travels?
“First and foremost, I am a Chinese Jamaican. I love that I am from two different cultural backgrounds and every day I am learning more and more about them both. I am fortunate enough to have traveled and experienced many cultures from around the world. With my family, I have visited various states within the US, Paris, Suriname, Canada, and Curacao. I went to Brazil with my church for World Youth Day and on my own, I have traveled to Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Thailand, China, and Hong Kong. There are so many experiences from each of those trips that I treasure dearly and for various reasons.
The most memorable experience was my two-week trip to Brazil. I think I was 16 at the time. My church (St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church here in Kingston) usually sends members of our Youth Group to World Youth Day. It happens, I think, every 4 years. At that point in time, I was still questioning my religious beliefs and I thought it was a good idea to go on this unexpected journey to not only travel and learn about a new culture but to experience my religion from a different perspective. The first week I stayed in São Paulo. We didn’t stay in hotels; we stayed with various members of the church we had partnered with. I had a host family and no one spoke English. However, the week after when we traveled to Rio, my host family thankfully spoke English. But, despite meeting so many different people from around the world, I had the realization that no matter the language or cultural barrier, our religion was the commonality. The fact that 3 million people from all over the world came to Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day, and the same 3 million people gathered on Copacabana Beach one morning to have mass with the Pope, is to this day an unexplainable yet enlightening experience that was pivotal to my now firm beliefs.”
What is your opinion regarding marketing communication in Jamaica?
“Outdated and traditional. Even though Jamaica produces a lot of creatives, there isn’t a creative shift in the way we approach marketing communication/strategy. For example, people have put more emphasis on digital marketing due to the pandemic, but digital marketing isn’t only social media marketing, which many Jamaicans believe. There is also not a lot of emphasis on brand strategy or development either. The marketing tactics used mainly focus on creating marketing collateral rather than on delivering a message and delivering it through the proper channels to maximize reaching a brand’s target audience. Understanding a brand, its mission, and who they are trying to attract is instrumental to an organization’s success.”
What advice can you give to someone who would like to become a better writer?
“Find mentors in the areas of writing you would want to explore. If you like fashion, find those fashion writers you follow and reach out to them. People are more willing to help than one may think. Even try pitching them a story. One, they will see how serious you are about your future writing career and they can then know best how to help, and two, the story might be good enough for them to pass along to a magazine or news house for publication. Working with a mentor can show you your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and they can better steer you in the right direction.”
Please feel free to connect with Rebecca and access her work at:
Blessings in abundance!