Presenter, reporter, model, actress, DJ, entrepreneur, degree in Media and Culture
After modeling for 2 years in Paris, I was tired of living out of a suitcase. I felt the need to develop myself for other work in the future and decided to study Media and Culture in Amsterdam. When I finished my Bachelor’s at the university I couldn’t wait to start working and was doubting to study further. I realized that I could always pick up that last year of study, so I skipped the Master’s and have been working ever since.
I have a very glamorous background with modeling and my work for MTV, and having a Bachelor’s encouraged people to give me the chance that I needed. You need to start somewhere in getting working experience, but it is difficult if you don’t get a chance to start somewhere because you didn’t have opportunities in getting working experience. It’s like a chicken-and-egg situation. In my study an internship wasn’t an obligation therefore people didn’t really know what they were getting into after their studies. So during my study I also worked for free, to explore what I really liked doing. I would recommend this to everyone, especially when studying at a university and not having a lot of practice, to just do jobs even if they don’t pay. Really find out what you would want to do.
‘Facts and opinions’
My degree helped in a certain way of thinking, because you learn how to draw conclusions based on facts and opinions. For example, if I watch a documentary I’m fully aware of the fact that they want me to think like them, where if I hadn’t done my study or maybe didn’t study at all, I wouldn’t be aware of the opinions and the way that the media wants to pull your mind. It also helps me with ‘translating’ my script; if I’m gonna ask certain questions I need do know the facts from which they are drawn so I can also counter a possible reaction. My study was very useful in this.
The Andrélon TV commercial was my breakthrough in the Netherlands because people recognized me as that funny chick and it gave me an easy entrance on castings. But I don’t want to limit myself to a certain stereotype, because my blessing and my curse is that I really like a lot of things. I try to just do what I like, without thinking about how people will perceive me. However, when PowNews came around the corner I was happy for the opportunity to show that I’m more than just a pretty face that interviews celebrities as I did with MTV.
Modeling is very temporary because it depends on your looks and the same goes for working in front of the cameras. I was always fully aware of this. So you have to span out in order to maintain a possible longer career than most people and for that I think PowNews is great. Here I can do both entertainment and news which makes me more of an all-rounder.
‘State of Talent’
My mom told me to never be financially dependent on a man, because it is important as a woman to have your own career. Even if you don’t make lots of money, you still can be proud that you can pay your own rent or that you can separate from somebody if you’re not happy anymore. So I think financial independence is very important and I always try to achieve that. A few years ago I started thinking about what I could do in case my television work would stop and I came up with the idea of a production company. Actually, I was already helping people by finding actors or dancers without getting money for it. Now that I have my own company, I don’t only think about my own financial independence but also have big dreams in guiding talents exclusively in their media careers and having a great network for them.
People can feel when you’re passionate about your work or your company. I have never been very conscious about how I should do acquisition, but I am very involved with my assignments which makes clients come back to you and also tell other clients good things about State of Talent. This is a good way of making the amount of clients grow. In my opinion this is not a trick that you can learn, but it is about having the passion and ambition for your company. When you’re passionate about your work, you care about your clients and you care about your talents.
‘Dressing up for the occasion’
My clothing style depends on how I feel and on what the occasion is. But I really like to dress up differently, because that is also in my personality to do different things. I like riding my motor and also like going to a very chic charity ball in Monaco. So in my clothing style you will see that I can be very glamorous but also very relaxed. I also have different kinds of work; what I wear behind the turntables for the DJ duo Poeschpas is not the same as when I am a reporter. Better yet: for PowNews I can’t even wear heals, because that work involves running away from angry people.
I was born in Lesotho and my parents always told me very inspiring stories about this country, which makes me want to go back there for charity work as my parents did. Every once in a while I do some charity work, but now I would like to do more for the country where I was born with the people that my parents worked for. Also, in the future I would want to build up a charity with others around my age who were born there.
In the Netherlands I find that people sometimes talk too small about their achievements. In the US it is the opposite, but at least they think big and when you do that you can achieve big things. So, to that Dutch mindset of ‘oh, I don’t know if I can start my own company because it recession or depression, can I really do that?’ I say: Stop doubting yourself, just think big and start making the arrangements in which you can do that. Do your research, make preparations and believe in yourself. I think big for my company, but I also have a bucket list for my television career: making a documentary, doing a studio program and my own interview program.
Hotel V., Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Mariska van Stiphout
Ferrie by Studio Popgun