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Woman handcuffed to pole for ‘world’s most embarrassing internship’ but loves it

An intern went to great lengths in her quest to get people to sign up to a dating app – handcuffing herself to a pole in central London.

And although some people found the stunt "disturbing", Anya Jackson, 22, insists it was fun and empowering.

Anya carried out the stunt during a nine-week paid internship at dating app Thursday.

It was intended to tie in with "cuffing season" and to get people to sign up to the app.

Anya, along with her co-worker Jess Wreford, who works as a Digital Creative Lead at the start-up, brainstormed some ideas for low-budget ways to advertise the brand and increase the number of downloads.

She told the Daily Star: “The first stunt we did ‘two girls, one app’, didn’t work as well as we thought it would, so we came back to the drawing board.

“With even less time now to do something, we ended up blowing up more than 100 balloons and decided that it would be funny to make a joke about me being the intern and that this was my initiation.”

It received a positive response and Anya decided to post a picture on LinkedIn, to try to reach an even wider audience.

The post ‘blew up’ with more than 7,000 reactions and 600 comments.

“The following week we knew we had to do something again and it had to be better,” she added.

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That’s when she volunteered to be handcuffed to a pole outside Liverpool Street station, with a massive sign reading, “World’s most embarrassing internship? Single? Download Thursday #cuffingseason”, in a bid to get 1,000 downloads.

Anya, from Surrey, undertook the internship after finishing her undergraduate studies at the University of Bath.

She's currently completing her Masters in Management and said that the stunt got people’s attention, but the real explosion happened on LinkedIn, with more than 14,000 reactions and 1,000 comments.

She says she is shocked at the success of her post, receiving lots of “lovely and supportive” messages from people, while her network has grown massively and has even received job offers as a result.

However, she also received some criticism for the handcuff stunt, with some people labelling it as “disturbing”.

She said: “Some people thought that it was male bosses taking advantage of a young, female intern.

“They were saying that the post was completely ‘demeaning’ to women in the workplace and that I should not be proud of what I had achieved.

“It had never even crossed my mind that people would be offended by my posts. I had clearly stated that it was my idea and was completely voluntary.

“I also found it slightly unfair that my success was being undermined by the fact that I was a young female doing it, whereas if it was a male intern, there wouldn’t be an issue.

“However, the majority of the comments were really positive and I’m so glad that so many people have been inspired by my posts.”

Asked how she felt about the stunt and the internship in general, Anya explained that she loved every minute and would love to return to Thursday one day, describing it as having an “unbelievably supportive environment” that pushed her to be “creative and crazy”, where she had the “best time working”.

She said: “It was definitely out of my comfort zone and if you asked me four months ago whether I’d handcuff myself to a post outside Liverpool Street station at rush hour with a massive blackboard, I would say absolutely not.”

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