Creative Cassandra Joseph on what it takes to work at The Face magazine
Hailing from Nottingham, Cassandra Joseph’s first big creative job was cut short when, in 2020, she lost her role at a London-based wellness brand due to the pandemic. Searching for inspiration and opportunities to up-skill, she successfully entered into The Face X Moncler’s Future Academy traineeship, and the rest is history. Now a full-time creative at the magazine, Cassandra has since worked on a fashion story for Moncler and created assets for an Off-White™ project, championing LGBTQ+ voices. With the ability to identify learning opportunities in every situation, here, Cassandra talks about expanding her skillset, overcoming imposter syndrome and discussing ideas with her mum.
Creative, The Face (2021-Present)
Social Media Assistant and Content Creator, Innermost (2020)
Place of Study
BA Fashion (Concepts and Communication), Leeds Arts University (2015-2018)
What I do
How would you describe what you do? And specifically, what you do at The Face?
I’m a creative at The Face magazine working within the commercial team and also assisting the social team with content creation. This consists of editing reels and TikToks as well as content ideation for the social platforms. When in the commercial team, I work under the associate creative director, helping respond to briefs from all types of brands internationally. We come up with ideas to execute the brand’s vision. We mostly work on brand partnerships, but sometimes we create white-label content because we operate as a creative agency too.
We build decks and presentations that we pitch to clients. Once we’ve dazzled them with our great ideas we then create a pre-production deck where we select the creative team, including photographers, make-up artists, casting agents and stylists. At this stage we also work on the art direction for the shoot and video before the project goes to the production department. After the shoot day, we oversee the art direction and pick the selects to send back to the client.
What recent project at The Face are you most proud of?
The first thing that comes to mind is a project that I helped on for Off-White™. We had to create assets for their I Support Black Women campaign. The aim was to increase global awareness, amplify the connections between fashion and the LGBTQ+ community and champion the voices of LGBTQ+ and non-binary leaders on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
We helped them launch the iconic Pride industrial belt and T-shirt, with all of the profits going to charity. I really loved creating something with purpose; often creating stuff for fashion brands can feel a little empty so it was nice to do something that will genuinely make a difference.
“[I’m most proud of] our recent project with Off-White™, championing voices in the LGBTQ+ community. I loved creating something with purpose.”
What kind of skills are needed to do your role? And would you say you need any specific training to do what you do?
Having good attention to detail, being an image research champion and having a large breadth of knowledge of fashion campaigns and adverts. Also a brief knowledge of all creative components; including graphic design, styling, art direction, photography, video editing as well as being an all-round creative.
A little bit of training. The creative director told me that you should learn all the different types of creative roles and learn them up to the point that you can get paid to do them. Once you have learned enough you’ll be able to direct others within that field.
If you could pick one meme to describe what it’s like to work at The Face, what would it be and why?
[Below] Whenever my colleague and I hear Armani mentioned in the office we immediately role-play this scene from The Office. The vibe isn’t like this at all but with all the designer names flying around you’d think we were in The Devil Wears Prada. Also, I’ll never forget when the fashion consultant Andrew walked into the office in a full Prada tracksuit and said “Well, I guess the devil does really wear Prada.” Iconic.
How I got here
How did you land the job at The Face?
My journey to my current role all started with Create Jobs – a major shout out to them! In 2020 I did the content production online course as a way to get back into creating. I had recently lost my job due to Covid-19, so I was looking for some inspiration and extra training. While on the programme one of the course leaders suggested that I apply for The Face X Moncler’s Future Academy Class of 2021. For my submission, I had to create a piece of content that answered the question “What is the future of creativity?” I then went through the interview stages and had to talk with both The Face team and the team for [luxury fashion brand] Moncler in Milan. It was very nerve-wracking but I also felt confident that I would be great for the role.
Future Academy started in April 2021 at The Face, which was part-time but in the office. After all the social distancing, it was amazing to be in the office and surrounded by people. I learned so much more just by overhearing conversations, being sat next to people, going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea; it was a really immersive experience from the get-go. My favourite part was getting to go into the different departments for a week and being thrown into all of the teams. It was such a great way to learn while working on live projects; it was super-exciting and rewarding.
“If you have a chance at your dream job or project, let everyone see what a great job you’re doing.”
The second part of our internship was with Moncler. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and Milan being hit quite hard by the virus we weren’t able to fly out – but we still got to meet the team virtually and work on some amazing projects. It was also really interesting to see how a huge luxury fashion brand operates.
As part of the traineeship, my fellow trainee and I had to fulfil a creative commission set by Moncler, directing a fashion story for the following issue. We were creative leads on the project so I knew that was my time to shine. If you have the chance at your dream job or project, let everyone around you know. Your passion will lead the way while allowing everyone else to see what a great job you’re doing.
What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
After graduating it took me a while to find my feet. Moving back home to Nottingham and finding a job as a creative was almost impossible for me. It was also particularly hard as I didn’t have that much experience, so as a way to make money and gain a new skill I started an internship at a digital marketing agency. It started off well and I was learning a lot however the company I was with went bust halfway through so I couldn’t finish. However, I got to stay as a full-time employee and was thrown into the world of being a digital marketer without having all of the know-how; it was an interesting experience but my heart wasn’t in it.
It pushed me to pursue my creative projects outside of work. So I started freelancing and got a couple of jobs doing photography, film and creative direction. I was definitely making it up as I went going along but I learned a lot. It gave me some experience and encouragement to start applying for creative roles in London, where there were a lot more opportunities.
I lucked out and got a job at a wellness brand doing social media, content creation and graphic design; this was my big London break, my first big creative job and I was so excited. Unfortunately, it got cut short due to Covid-19 and I ended up on furlough before losing the job. It definitely hasn’t been a walk in the park but the one thing that has kept me going is my own personal creative projects!
“I started an internship at a digital marketing agency; it was an interesting experience but my heart wasn’t in it.”
If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
The first is dankartdirectormemes on Instagram. When I found this account, I won’t lie, I didn’t actually know what an art director was – but it inspired me to become one. Although the page complains about all of the stuff that an art director goes through, I wanted those to be my professional worries and complaints! Also here’s a fun fact: the creator of the page also works at The Face.
The second is going into bookshops, libraries or magazine shops. Just browsing with no intention other than to soak it up, and look at magazines from other parts of the world. I used to spend hours in the university library looking at all of the vintage magazines, that’s always been my main source of inspiration.
The third is my Mum. No, she’s not a thing but she is definitely someone that has been super-useful and inspiring through every step of my career. The fact that she loves to talk through a project brief with me and bounce ideas around is everything. It’s so interesting to have these discussions with someone outside of the fashion world. I’ll get some of my best ideas from having a discussion with her.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Get ready for a cringe explosion – I would have to say myself. I used to struggle a lot with social anxiety and impostor syndrome; I almost talked myself out of replying back to a job offer, just because I thought I wasn’t the right person for it, even though I was definitely more than capable. Although I still have a lot of impostor syndrome, it’s not as bad as it used to be and I would say the big change in my patterns of behaviour came after I had therapy.
Before starting my role at The Face’s Future Academy, I did another employability program, with You Make It. They are all about improving women’s confidence and helping them find work in creative fields. Those three months were so integral in reshaping ideals of myself and what I believe I’m deserving of. Now, I’m more of the mindset that you “fake it till you make it”, because most of the time you’re not faking it if it’s in you. And if it’s in you, you can do it.
“There’s always going to be someone out there willing to pay you rightfully for your skills and talent.”
What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
When seeking out a lot of creative roles, I’ve definitely been screwed over in terms of pay and I’ve done a lot of work for free, or being paid with “exposure.” My biggest learning is that there’s always going to be someone out there willing to pay you rightfully for your skills and talent, so even though you may need money at the moment, don’t settle for less. Take every opportunity as it comes and make it work for you.
What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Get snobby. But have solid reasons for your likes and dislikes.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
During the Future Academy traineeship one of the directors told me that if I wanted to be an art director or creative director I should start now. So if you want to be an art director, start branding and labelling yourself as one, and have a portfolio that highlights all the different areas you cover. By doing this you’ll see what areas that you need to improve on or get more experience in.
I think the main learning is: don’t be afraid to market yourself as someone who is good at multiple things, you can sell yourself as a package. I didn’t like the idea of branding myself as a creative as I thought it sounded non-specific, but now I’m celebrating having knowledge in many different areas – and that’s why I have the role that I have now, so lean into it.
Mention Cassandra Joseph
Interview by N'Tanya Clarke