Student, The University of Melbourne / Intern / Model / Work Part Time
Extra, is a word that comes to mind when we think of Millie Ng. This girl does not fit into a prefabricated box, instead, she shifts through life trying everything she desires and ditching the rest. What drives us crazy about this student, intern, model, worker is that she truly dances to the beat of her own drum.
This #careerstory is perfect for any of you fresh out of high school babes, as Millie explains her career to date with such enthusiasm, but also realizes that she has more dreams to conquer.
Make sure you read down to the very bottom to find out her must have resources for girls wanting a career in a creative field (they are everything). And while we still have you, can we just stop for a moment and chat about her header picture for this piece. Taken for a promo shoot for FLUFF – our new favourite brand.
Ahhh, one thing is for sure, WE. LOVE. MILLIE.
Hey Millie, it’s awesome to have you here. Can you tell us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in Hong Kong and moved to Brisbane when I was 12. Growing up with Asian parents there definitely was an unspoken pressure to perform well academically. I would get in trouble for grades my Australian friends would be proud to get, always be expected to rank in the top percentile and my mum definitely worried more about my grades than I was! But, my parents always encouraged my sister and I to try different creative hobbies and even pursue a career in them – which was pretty rare among my other Chinese friends.
Because I never had any pressure in the direction of whatever I wanted to do a when I grew up I was free to explore my own interests like design and fine arts as well as film. Pretty sure I watched at least one movie everyday through the last 3 years of high school!
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to a creative high school in Brisbane called Queensland Academies of Creative Industries where I focused on visual art. Maybe because I actually did graduate with an OP 1 I’m not the best person to be giving this inspirational interview about how many CEOs were actually high school dropouts (I wish I was that brave), but I can tell you I didn’t get my score without the huge toll it took on my mental health. And overall what you end up remembering about high school even one year down the track are the people you surrounded yourself with and not what mark you got on that one comparative study that one time.
I enjoyed my school though! I think without it I wouldn’t have met so many creative people and I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the hectic first year of university, where I moved to a new city with my boyfriend and worked three jobs alongside full time study!
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I definitely knew I wanted to work in the arts since a very young age because I loved it so once I found out about this specialised high school I knew I wanted to do the switch! And I guess it was a good move because I’m still planning on working in a creative field.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Nope! I was already on the classic fast food grind spending my evenings at McDonalds and Taco Bell :’-)
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I’m currently doing a Bachelor of Design at Melbourne Uni majoring in Performace and Graphic Design. I chose these very very specific courses because they were very very specific to what I already wanted to do! Ultimately I want to be an art director whether its for film and tv, fashion/editorial/digital publication/etc. I feel like this double major is so in line with my goals in life I was psychically and spiritually forced to do it. My first semester was just a lot of foundation and introductory courses, I did a looot of art history and analytical work in that first few months! Then semester 2 was more hands on, I studied things like music in performance, and introduction to movie making and the history of typefaces where we did a whole assessment baaed around designing our own typeface and using that typeface for other graphic work.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
Hmmmm not exactly sure how I can answer this looking back at my entire one year ‘career journey’ since graduating high school but I can say for sure I’m so excited and surprised whenever someone is interested in what I’m doing or want to work with me! Whenever I get contacted for shoots inner me is always like ‘What? Me? The same me who once cried when she closed a sliding door on her plant and snapped off a leaf?’ outer me is like ‘I’d absolutely love to! Yes Sunday works for me x’.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
By going out there first and getting into contact with people in the industry!
As my mum once told me, ‘opportunity won’t call if it doesn’t know your number’.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Balancing my schedule with the rest of my commitments! Luckily working at Continuance, I can do everything on the graphics and social media at home on my laptop which makes it so much easier to work around any shifts or shoot days.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
I’m currently doing an intensive summer subject at Uni so I’ll go through my typical day of I’ve been having for the past week!
8:00am: wake up and eat my porridge and muesli
9:30 – 4:30pm: painting at VCA!
4:30 – 5:30pm: I’ll sit at any café and storyboard for a while
6:00 – 10:00pm: doing the closing shift at the restaurant
10:30 – 2:00am: either doing any course work or more concept art at home or watching Netflix. Actually mostly watching Netflix.
What is your biggest career f*ck up? (Did you fall over in a job interview? Did you accidentally email someone by accident?)
All the times I accidentally double booked! Nothing more embarrassing than messaging a shoot last minute and telling them you can’t make it!
Ahhh, your day sounds incredible. So, who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Definitely my mum! Knowing how difficult it must have been as a first generation immigrant to Australia without knowing the language and having to work multiple jobs to pay for her education inspires me to work harder every day and be grateful for the opportunities I have, because of how lucky I am to be born into a supportive and financially stable family.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Don’t be afraid of working for free, you end up with a strong portfolio, knowing people in the industry and work experience. Plus then you’d know if working the creative industry was right for you! Whether it be fashion or film, both require you to put in long hours most of which aren’t paid but you do it because you just love it!
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: pinterest, i-d mag, mixamo for character references
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @_unn1mm3
- Favourite Podcast: 99 percent invisible
- Favourite Netflix Series: Mindhunter, Ozark, Black Mirror, Terrace House
- Favourite all time book/s: Joy Luck Club
- People: My boyfriend