Xandri Redelinghuys, an ambitious young professional from the small town of Robertson, shares some of her joys and challenges of living as a freelance designer in Cape Town, and offers some valuable advice to kick start you into your career.
One of the greatest joys for her is “the completion of a project and of course a happy client”. More generally speaking, “I get ecstatic about anything beautiful. I mean food; when I cut a piece of beetroot I just want to sing inside because of the colour and the texture and the pattern. Something inside of me just bubbles up. And the same probably goes for when I draw; it’s being able to pour everything that’s inside of you, to see it working out because you don’t think about what you are going to do – you just do. I love creating. I love pouring myself into a project and just doing something, completing it because I know I’ve got what it takes.”
Xandri honestly notes how it can be frustrating at times, where she sometimes just feels like drawing and painting instead of going through the grind of doing what she knows she’s supposed to do with her job at the moment. Confessing: “When a project is really boring (I’m not allowed to say that), it’s not very creative or stimulating, [like when] it’s just the plain old logo. This is why I don’t like design because it can be the same thing over and over again.”
Despite these sentiments, her never-say-die attitude speaks louder. “If you want something you need to work for it – it’s so cliché I know! There’s no way for me to explain it because I’ve always just had that trait. I make a plan; I always find a way to get the job done.”
And this is what impresses me most about Xandri. Often when someone is getting going with his/her career, the only thing that will actually matter at the end of the day is having the grit and determination to push through whether you feel like it or not. You probably won’t have the luxury of being able to pick and choose the work that you’re obliged to do.
Already having been in the industry for a couple of years, Xandri can speak from personal experience in the advice that she can give to other young creatives as they enter the professional sector. “I [think] so many people coming out of varsity look for a job and they get offered [something] with a small income but they don’t take it because it’s not really what they want to do,” she starts. The sole reason, according to Xandri, why these fresh graduates turn down perhaps not-so-glamorous work opportunities is pride. In her words, they think “they’re too good for the job” as opposed to adopting a different mindset of wanting to “work your way up”.
“For me, it’s just taking every opportunity that you can. You have no right to say that I’ll look for another job. Sure, don’t settle for anything but you shouldn’t just turn down any job. You should really look into something because the job might not lead you in the direction you want to go, but the people that you meet and the job will take you places. Sometimes you’ll meet some person somewhere you’ll never have met otherwise and that will open doors for you.”
In closing, Xandri doesn’t mince her words: “Jy moet moer hard werk! It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Put a smile on your face because you never know who you’re going to meet.”