Behind the Selfie Interview South Africa

#BehindtheMask: Candice Burgess-Look, director of King of the Jungle

This week, we speak to Candice Burgess-Look, the director of King of the Jungle - a PR firm that looks at developing effective communication strategies for its clients.
Candice Burgess-Look
Candice Burgess-Look

Could you tell us a bit more about your work?

King of the Jungle develops and executes communication strategies to get the word out about our client’s products or services. Since we offer integrated solutions, we do this with a mix of earned media (PR), owned and paid media as well as social media. Content creation is a big part of the job and involves writing, concept development, facilitating photo and video shoots, and working with design teams.

What’s behind your mask - literally and figuratively speaking?

What’s usually going on behind my mask is me quietly singing a nursery rhyme that I can’t get out of my head (I’m a mom to a one-year-old). I have found motherhood to be the most profound journey, so I guess that’s who is really behind the mask at the end of the day.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

I was always fascinated by the newsroom and wanted to either be a TV news anchor or a reporter for a newspaper.

How did you end up on your career path?

I had planned on studying journalism, but the Varsity College campus I was attending in Durban didn’t offer it at the time. One of the administrators pointed out that if I like writing then I should consider their Public Relations Diploma, so I signed up. Thereafter I completed my Honours degree in Media Studies and went on to land a job in an advertising and PR agency.

What excites you most about your career?

I like how challenging it is, and how rewarding it is to deliver results for your clients. I really enjoy how much creativity goes into generating these results. No two campaigns or company objectives are the same, each requires a different strategy and execution, so you constantly have to be on your creative toes.

What advice would you give to youth trying to enter the industry?

Pay your school fees. That’s what my dad used to say to me. Basically, it means you’re not going to get what you want overnight. You must start somewhere, so stay humble and work hard.

Since PR is such a multi-faceted game with many different areas of expertise, you might start out in an area that you don’t necessarily enjoy. My advice is to stick it out, the more skills you can wrack up across the different disciplines in this industry, the better. Gaining holistic experience is invaluable in PR.

Where are you based during lockdown?

I’m currently working from my home office in Lakeside, Cape Town, and occasionally I plug in and meet up with team members at a local coworking space.

When you’re not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?

When not working, I’m usually with my hubby and daughter. I’ve got an insane amount of energy so I’m always trying to get us out of the house. Usually, we land up at a park, or the beach, but a lot of the time you’ll find us on the hunt for good coffee.

What’s one thing not many people know about you, but should?

I’m a vegetarian.

What’s your favourite meme/gif of all time?

The Toby Maguire Spiderman dance gif is my favourite. It just seems so unlikely for Toby Maguire to move like that, and if I’m being really honest, it’s kind of sexy!

What are you watching/reading/listening to at the moment?

I’m busy watching Schitts Creek for the second time (it’s that good) and reading Till we meet again by Lesley Pearce, as well as Raising Kids Positively by Carol Surya.

What’s next for you?

We are launching a PR Training Programme in June 2022 this year, aimed at internal comms teams. The programme will teach key principles of PR and provide companies with basic PR tools and techniques.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games

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