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Creativity Squared: The Potential and Power of Art with Andrea Raeburn


VaynerMedia APAC junior copywriter on pop culture obsessions, recognising your strengths and ‘The Mandalorian’

Creativity Squared: The Potential and Power of Art with Andrea Raeburn

Andrea counts her blessings every day that she got to live, work and play at Walt Disney World for a summer on the Disney International College Program right before the pandemic struck. And now gets to use it when asked to share a fun fact or provide a bio! 

On a more serious note, she surprised even herself by how much she actually enjoyed studying while pursuing her BA (Hons.) in English language and minor in film studies at the National University of Singapore. Since graduating, she has amassed a whopping 1.5 years of experience in advertising — 2/9th of it was dipping her toes in client services before realising she loves language too much to let it go. 

And that’s how she came to be a junior copywriter at VaynerMedia APAC. 

Clients Andrea has had the privilege of working for include Subway, the Singapore Kindness Movement, DKSH Group, and as fate would have it, Disney+ and Disney Studios. 

Andrea’s greatest accomplishments in life are getting to do what she loves for a living and her sense of humour.


Not going to lie, I’m a more anxious creative than I probably need to be. My dad’s always nagging at reminding me that I’m hunching over my keyboard too much and looking too closely at the screen. I try very hard to be creative. 

I think it’s out of an insecurity that I don't come from a creative or production or advertising background. I got my degree in linguistics by burying myself in research papers, so I’m more analytically-inclined to begin with. Having spent the better part of my life tearing things apart, putting things together feels like going to the gym for me – not my natural state, not intuitive, a lot of effort. Very scary. 

I’m unlearning that mental barrier that I’ve set up for myself though, as I go along. These days, I focus my thoughts more on how my education in the humanities has blessed me with exactly the tools I need to be creative – not just the ability to be nimble with language, but also, a keen and genuine interest in people, behaviours and cultures. So yes, I try very hard to be creative but I’m trying even harder to be less self-conscious and to let loose and have fun with the process. 


At present, I find there are four levels to what does the trick for me. 

I like when things get a few (or a lot of) tears out of me. Sadistic, yes, but I also do like when things make me chuckle. If it’s broken through my defences and gotten to my heart, it must be doing something right. That’s level one. 

I like it even better when the piece changes my way of looking at things. Or gives me a new one altogether. I’m pretty stubborn by nature so it’s a big deal to me when you’ve made a statement and found a way to win me over. Level two. 

The next is when it borrows its way into my mind and bugs me to no end, and I can’t stop thinking and / or talking about it for days on end. I know then that it’s truly made an impression, so much so that I can’t help but want those around me to have the privilege of experiencing it too. 

But I have the deepest appreciation for the stuff that makes me forget I’m Andrea Raeburn. The potential and power of art is the realest to me when I’m made to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes. We go through a lot of life very caught up in our own businesses, problems and anxieties. 

So to experience the world as someone else, to live their journey, feel their joys and their pains… boss level. 

I’ve only just distilled this for myself in the last year or so, so I figure it’ll keep evolving as life happens and my general perspectives are continually reshaped. 

Bong Joon-ho’s 'Parasite' was one of those that checked all the boxes. 

Never looked at rain the same again since.


Ironically, I find myself at optimum creative when I make myself step away from actively creating. My dad would be pleased reading this, I think – I’m realising more and more each day that being perpetually hunched over my keyboard with my eyebrows scrunched and eyes too close to the screen, trying my darndest to cram out an idea or the right words does more harm than good. 

So, I make sure to take a walk outside, look up at the sky and admire the doggos out on their walks too as many evenings in a week as I can to clear my head. I insist on being caught up with the latest episodes of ‘The Mandalorian’ week in, week out, and spending lots of time dying spectacularly over and over playing ‘The Last of Us’. I make it a point to protect time with family as well, to catch up with them over dinner every day and for movie nights together. 

Inspiration finds me more in these spots than at my desk. It’s a nice – indulgent and nice – wholesome way to soak in, keep tabs on and be in sync with what’s happening out there! Creation by osmosis and a purposeful reset so when I do return to work proper, I’m a lot more refreshed, replenished and rejuvenated. 

Verbalising is another major exercise. I feed my obsession for pop culture and practise translating my thoughts to paper by having lengthy conversations with my equally-pop-culture-obsessed older brother and of course, oversharing on social media. And having conversations not just when consuming, but also when creating. I love brainstorming, bouncing back and forth, and building on ideas and working in a team. It’s so much more fun than pulling my hair out when I hit a wall all by myself.

A result of the process: a reputation for being a meme repository


is my greatest influence and strength. In all seriousness. 

I said earlier I don’t come from a creative background. But the more I think back, the more I realise that isn’t 100% true. My most vivid memories of growing up all involve the arts and each and every one of them, a loved one or two at the centre of it. 

Elvis and the Eagles, my dad brought me up on them on his car’s stereo. My obsession with movies? Entirely my parents’ doing too. ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Narnia’… they took my brother and me to see them all. I ate all my broccoli and carrots obediently thanks to my late grandaunt, who bribed me with episodes of ‘SpongeBob’. The one who raised me, she gathered empty toilet rolls, cereal boxes, ice cream sticks and every material I needed, concocted homemade PVC glue, and put the brush in my hand so I could create what I’d seen in my favourite TV programme, ‘Art Attack’. 

It wasn’t just the opportunities they provided, but their unique brand of nurturing that helped me along this path. They didn’t freak out when I flunked maths, nor did they kick up a fuss when I dropped science from my subject combination whenever I had the chance to. Against their better judgement, they just accepted they wouldn't have a doctor or engineer or banker or lawyer for a daughter. They didn’t have the slightest clue what linguistics was either, they just said, “Go for it.” I’ve always had their unequivocal support and faith that things would work out. So phew, that every day, I get to do something I’m really, genuinely fond of. That things did indeed. 

So to have such a village, even outside of home, I’ve found, makes all the difference. As a young creative, peers and mentors who help me recognise my strengths and areas for growth, carve out good opportunities, operate with trust, and, at the end of the day, are all about building one another up are very instrumental and dear to me. You just can’t take it out of the equation.

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VaynerMedia APAC, Wed, 19 Apr 2023 10:00:00 GMT