“Be the human before being the professional.”
Meet GirlCrew Dublin Freelance Multimedia Journalist Manon Gustave
Culinary journalists are responsible for making us drool over lavish pictures of sumptuous dishes, and one woman whose work does just that is GirlCrew Dublin member, Manon Gustave. Hailing from the south of France Manon always had an interest in art, and began pursuing a career in 3D Animation. “I have a passion for cartoons and comics. So, I studied Art in a specialised section in High School just to be a 3D Animator! I finally entered in the third best school in France but I wasn’t able to deal with the pressure, it was a complete nightmare!”
Realising that her dream wasn’t what she hoped for Manon decided to give journalism a go – “I obtained a degree in France, had several internships in different media companies, I even went to Mongolia to work for a TV channel! Most of the time, newspapers were asking me to take photos and do interviews at the same time. That’s when I realised it was essential to be versatile in this job.” It seems this flexibility paid off, as Manon eventually found herself in Ireland, where she has recently completed another degree in Journalism at Griffith College. But being away from home wasn’t always easy “…when you’re from another country, sometimes you need a little bit more self-confidence before you really start a job!” In order to build her confidence, Manon accepted an internship and her team quickly noticed there was more to her than meets the eye so they gave her a wide range of projects to work on “…it was so great to be able doing everything! I am still working for them part-time but they understood I wanted to work on my own. They gave me that self-confidence that I needed, and I thank them for that.”
By working with companies like Food Culture 360°, and Flash Harry’s in Blackrock, Manon has built an impressive portfolio. And her blog has been nominated in four categories for The Blogger Choice Awards, including “Best Photos in a Blog”. But she knows this is just the start – “I guess it’s not a bad beginning. However, I don’t want to be too confident, you never know what can happen. But at least, if it doesn’t work, I will have no regrets as I tried!”
1. What is the best thing about your role?
Every day is different. It’s always a new challenge, find the best light to take your photos, face the difficulties, the technical problems. That’s why I started learning Journalism, just to be sure that I will get up in the morning and I will not know what to expect of my day. It’s a big advantage and many people dream about it. I also love the relationships that you make with the customers. Irish people are incredibly kind and smiley, it’s a real pleasure to work with them. It is just amazing to meet random people and discover they have an incredible personal history that you would never suspect.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
Today, with digital photography and smartphones, it is simple for everybody to take good photos. Images are everywhere in our society. So the challenge is to prove to your customers that they don’t just pay someone with a good camera. They pay someone with knowledge, with skills and experience. A photographer has an eye and knows that taking photos is not only pressing the button. It’s a proper job and this is why there are schools to learn it.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
Well, I arrived here almost two years ago, to study. And now, I am about to work for a really good company as a freelance photographer, and I have some offers for opportunities in France. I used a lot of energy for 5 years through my studies and my work experience, and now, it’s starting to pay off. So, I’ll continue to be involved in numerous projects but I am proud to not to be that “unconfident Frenchie” who arrived in Dublin a few months ago. People treat me seriously here, like a professional. People tell me to be proud of what I achieved here, in Dublin. I don’t know if I am but maybe I should be?
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Smile, answer quickly to potential customers when they contact you, be friendly, meet a lot of people and don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Be the human before being the professional. Being pleasant make sometimes the work easier for everybody! However, be careful not to be too kind or you could have a lot of bad surprises. And be ready to learn the law, because it will protect you from a lot of problems!
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
In French we have an idiom: “C’est là où il y a le plus d’épines que se trouvent les plus belles roses”, which means “the most beautiful rose grows only among thorns”. Work hard and you will obtain the best. Nothing is simple, but this is why the challenge is so amazing. I left my country to live here. It was hard at the beginning. But I made an effort to meet people, learn the language and the culture, and forget my habits. What Dublin has offered me makes the exchange worth it and no doubt the city still has some surprises to reveal!