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From the day I was born, I’ve always wanted to work. Being the daughter of Filipino immigrant doctors, I had an insatiable desire to serve others from a young age. When I was 14, I finally got my opportunity. I marched into Burger King—the only place in my hometown of Middletown, N.Y., that would hire me at that age—and demanded a job. I was hired on the spot.
This story first appeared in the November 8, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
I have always believed that in order to do your job with passion, it’s important to feel good while doing it. So in addition to adding custom tailoring touches to my rust polyester uniform, I created my signature “Burger King Brick” lipstick that was reserved solely for my work shifts. Because I was standing behind a counter representing a brand, I felt it was my duty to always give it 150 percent. I had passion and drive, and I was on a mission to change the world.
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For the customers, I was obsessed with perfecting the process of making the most delicious French Fries—the perfect amount of salt, just enough time in the fryer. Sure, the grease would accumulate on my face and hair, and of course I ate way too many. But I loved every single second—working with people, communicating with people, cooking for people.
My goal was very clear from the beginning. I wanted to interact with customers, so I had my eye on the coveted cashier spot. I worked my way up quickly with my big mouth (surprise!) and couldn’t have been more thrilled. This gave me the opportunity to connect with the guests and be their advocate over the microphone. This lesson in communication—to always be one with the people you are serving—has been my guiding career theme. To this day, I still have an intense drive to give people the best. I’ll never forget that 14-year-old girl at the register. She reminds me every day that anything is possible. If you treat each day as an opportunity, you will absolutely 100 percent love your life.