Have you heard of the accomplished freelance photographer who has fostered advocacy and awareness for inclusion in the Philippines? Her name is Andrea G. Zubiri and at just 29 years of age she is a role model who is making a difference in the lives of so many children in the Philippines.
SENIA became aware of Andrea in 2012, when her teachers nominated her for the inaugural SENIA Student Award. Andrea was a senior attending Brent International School Manila at the time and her personal statement of advocacy for herself and others within her school and community, secured her the prestigious SENIA Student Award.
After graduating from Brent International School, Andrea pursued her dream of photography and attended De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. At college, she learned how to speak in front of large audiences and how to advocate for accommodations in order to pass her exams. She also gave a presentation to the college student body about special education as an advocate for students with special needs.
Upon graduation, she spent a year in New York City, USA at the New York Film Academy graduating with her certificate of photography. This is where she began her freelance photography work as she was inspired by the local art and gallery scenes. She returned to the Philippines and began her freelance work photographing families and various clients.
In 2018, Andrea had a one month internship with Collabtive, a digital and creative agency in Singapore. Here she was able to develop her photography skills and business. She gained experience on how to expand her business and was able to acquire her own clients.
Additionally, she worked with One World School ‘s Nilay Exhibit, photographing the artists and the art works of students aged 2-30+ of all abilities. This was a fundraising event for the school ‘s expansion program. One World school is unique in that it caters for a full range of students of all abilities, including those with special educational needs, gifted and talented students and those who just learn differently.
With the pandemic, Andrea has had to figure out how to promote her freelance photography business as she was no longer able to meet face to face with clients or do family events and portraits. Here she pivoted to developing clients to photograph their products. She was able to photograph products in the Beauty and Wellness industry – such as Grounded PH, and a collaboration with Cray cosmetics. She is still trying to promote her product photography work.
Andrea has also found time to work as an online photography teacher for Vanguard Academy during the pandemic. She works with grade 10 students of varying abilities and supports them in setting up the photography for their instagram businesses. She draws on her knowledge of setting up her own photography business to inform her instruction and support her students. She is also developing a grade 7/8/9 scrapbooking class for students. Vanguard Academy is an innovative school in the Philippines that is open to and accessible for all students by providing equitable opportunities to develop their skills, interests and talents.
Andrea is an accomplished young adult who is a role model to her students not only as a gifted photographer but as a talented Filipina businesswoman. She shares with her students the importance of being able to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic and find innovative solutions. Also, she shares who she is and how advocating for yourself is an important skill to develop.
Andrea Zubiri is a truly remarkable woman and SENIA is so proud to be part of her incredible journey.