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Read all about Monique’s journey into motion

Throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by hardworking women, from my friends to my family. Growing up, I watched my mum work multiple jobs as a single parent while my older sister took on many household responsibilities. Their examples and sacrifices taught me the value of hard work but also, more importantly, if you’re going to work hard at something, you might as well enjoy what you do. 

With the mentality of hard work instilled in me, I got a part-time job in retail while studying at college and later at uni. Originally, I had no idea what I wanted to do – I looked into a number of courses and ended up settling on Computer Science. It wasn’t until my sister’s boyfriend suggested animation that I even thought about this as an option. Although I had already been accepted to study elsewhere, I changed my mind last minute and went through clearing to pursue 3D animation at the University of Hertfordshire.  

Since childhood, I’ve always loved creating things, understanding their inner workings and solving problems. Due to this, Design and Technology along with Mathematics were my favourite subjects in school. This followed me into adulthood, always setting myself personal projects and finding new hobbies from tiling and plumbing to coding games and, most recently, learning the keyboard. I’ve also always had a love for cartoons and games, so it’s not surprising that I was drawn to the world of motion design, which allows me to combine creativity and is a continuous learning curve.  

I was fortunate to secure an internship at an animation studio in West London after graduating from uni, and after three months of interning, I was offered a full-time position. Not only did I make great friends there (and perfect my FIFA skills), I also grew so much at this studio. Learning on the job and being part of the team boosted my confidence and helped me realise that this was definitely the career path I wanted to pursue. 

After five years at the studio, I moved onto freelancing. This was one of the hardest moments of my career, and a huge part of that was because it was just before Covid hit. It was also the first time since the age of 15 that I felt uncertainty when it came to work. Everything was up to me, and days of looking for work rather than actually animating took a toll. I had an idea in my head how freelancing would be, but getting used to this new way of working while not being able to socialise with friends and family due to Covid was hard to overcome. However, throughout this time I did things I had never done before. Being responsible for videos and working on them solely meant I had an opportunity to push myself in ways I never had as a motion designer. 

After studio life and freelancing, my next challenge was to take on an agency role. Impressed by their creative work, I applied for a job at Silver, confident in knowing that it was somewhere I could continue to learn and develop my skills – and I was right. Working here has allowed me to be part of the whole process on a larger scale. I’m able to see everything that goes into producing effective motion design, working with talented individuals to communicate a message and tell a story. 

Although I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry, it took a while for me to actually believe it. As a black girl, the lack of representation of people who looked like me in the industry only added to my self-doubt and made me consider following a more conventional career path. Fortunately, my loved ones provided the encouragement I needed when I felt discouraged. 

One of the biggest challenges I faced was adjusting to university life. As an introvert and over-thinker, being away from my support system and surrounded by so many talented individuals was intimidating. Plus, gaining a place through clearing made me feel like I was a step behind the rest, like I just stumbled on this path while others knew exactly what they wanted to do. The fear of failure plagued me throughout my university years, I often missed deadlines trying to perfect my work instead of submitting something that could have earned a passing grade, and the pressures of balancing uni and a part-time job led to burnout, anxiety and depression. Despite spending an additional two years due to re-sits and late deadlines, I graduated from university, but still struggled to believe that working in the creative industry was something I could do full-time. 

Some tips from Monique…

Create, create, create. There are so many different ways motion design is used: explainer videos, UI, games, etc. Continuously working on animations will allow you to explore all these disciplines, even if it’s just on a surface level. This helps in finding what aspects you enjoy, and job that you enjoy is incredibly rewarding. 

One thing that I wish I knew before entering the creative industry is that everyone, no matter how experienced or successful they may seem, has moments of self-doubt, fear, perfectionism and creative blocks. It’s important to remember that these moments are a normal part of the creative process and that it’s okay to struggle at times. The important thing is to keep pushing forward, to learn from your mistakes, and to use these moments as opportunities to grow and improve. 

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