It's been a full week, but I have to say I still haven't come down from the IPSE-QA Awards last Thursday. It feels like a dream, but I'm so happy to say I was crowned 'Freelancer of the Year 2016'!
I'd been really impressed with IPSE's hard work to support freelancers since finding out about them in 2013 - and it was my fantastic experience as a finalist of their '15 for 15' awards two years ago that prompted me to give the Freelancer of the Year 2016 awards a shot.
I hope it doesn't sound faux-humble, but I'd honestly talked myself out of the idea that I would win - I suppose as a sort of defence mechanism to not let myself fall too hard if I didn't get it. There were definitely a few moments (and tech issues) in the judging presentation where I was thinking 'nooope! I've fudged it'. Sure, there's always that streak that pops up "but what if I do win!" (which would give me an excited look, probably making the people on the train think I was kind of odd), but as the runners-up were being announced (the wonderful Richard Jeffs and Lowri Roberts), I was thinking 'ah well, it's been a really great experience but I haven't got it'.
It's quite tricky to describe the feeling as the awards host, lovely comedian Tom Rosenthal, announced me as the winner. Mostly like the celebration version of that last second on a water slide, where you start flying through the air and then crash with confusion in to the water. The water being...emotion? Who knows. All I can say is it was a lovely shock.
|Pure joy face|
I mean it, I really do. Despite the seriously low points, ridiculous situations and mountainous challenges, I just...live it, I'm a freelance illustrator and it's everything I ever wanted.
In a flurry of congratulations and "You made the audience cry!"s I reminded myself to hold on to that feeling. It was overwhelming, beautiful, and felt a little bit like accidentally turning your phone screen up to full brightness in a dark room, but, y'know, in a good way.
|Photos by IPSE, Prima Media and finalist Steve Folland|
|What happened to Alice?!|
|With finalists Steve Folland and Mercy Obi (photo taken by Steve)|
A huge thank you to IPSE and QA; a massive high-five to all the other incredible finalists (an extra big one to Lauren Razavi who won the young Freelancer of the Year award); a casual fist-bump to Tom Rosenthal who was an awesome hosty-chap; and a gigantic cheer for everyone who celebrated National Freelancers Day with us!