Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 4

From the Beginning

"Oh my god, I saw the cutest little bookstore in the Hamptons this weekend.  You would have loved it," Carina gushes, grabbing me by the elbows and beaming.  "In fact," she begins, holding up a finger and reaching into her Balenciaga purse, "Here!  I thought you'd like this."  I gratefully clutch the vintage Harry Potter she's placed in my hands, already accustomed to how easily she gives things away.
Of course, that's to be expected when you're an heiress to one of the biggest candy companies in the country.  Carina is a Santa Monica native and a student at Brown, staying in Greenwich Village for the summer while she interns in the city.  Oh--and did I mention she heads out to the Hamptons almost every weekend?
"How were the Hamptons?" Elise inquires, wrapping her arms around her frail body.  "I'm going this weekend."  Elise, a California native herself, goes to Columbia and is most commonly found with her nose buried in a book.
"Dope, dude," Carina says, shaking her head and grinning with a laid back, Californian attitude.
"My dad was going to take my brother and I this weekend, but plans got changed," Kirsten chimes in from her post at the computer.  "So I'm going to ask him if I can use the money from the train ticket for a massage instead."  Kirsten yawns, cupping a hand over her mouth and shaking her golden hair over her shoulders.  Standing at 5 foot 10, she's got a runner's body and perfectly symmetrical features.  It took me about three days of work before I realized she was a fellow intern and not a supermodel.  Basically Serena van der Woodsen, but with the work habits and drive of Blair Waldorf.
The other interns nod at Kirsten's thought, like nothing makes more sense.
Lula is shy but friendly with dark brown skin and long, black hair.  The daughter of a psychologist and journalist, she resides on the Upper East Side during the summer and stays at her apartment in the Upper West Side to attend Barnard during the school year.  She was undoubtedly at the Hamptons this weekend, too--she's probably just too shy to say it.
Justine is one-woman Type A tornado, barreling down anything that gets in her way of perfection.  A New York native, she lives at Notre Dame during the school year where she majors in political science.  Law school is in her near future--she's going to be a media lawyer, and she's going to kick ass at it.
No one would react more mildly than Alexis, but she doesn't have the chance as she's currently in South Africa "celebrating my grandpa's birthday," she had said casually, snapping a piece of gum like she had just announced she was going around the corner to pick up some foot cream at CVS.  When I told her I went to Cal State Fullerton, she asked me if that was a private liberal arts school that no one's ever head of.  I said yes.  Alexis goes to NYU, but she travels the globe constantly with her parents, the curators of a famous boutique in Beverly Hills.  She's got pale blue eyes, light brown freckles, and deep red lips.  She's thin as a wafer and her head is in the clouds--the type of girl who seemingly floats through life on luck and good timing.  The plot twist being that she is absolutely brilliant.
I suppose you're wondering how I even ended up here.
It's a valid point.  How does some nobody from La Habra, California end up in a coveted position interning at Chic Magazine?
Yeah, yeah, I'm a smart girl, I'm special, blah blah blah.  Thanks, mom.  But can we be real for a second?  I was by no means top of my class in high school, I have no extracurriculars to speak of, I don't attend a very impressive college, and my GPA is pretty average.  How the hell am I side by side with Ivy League Hamptons frequenters?
I've talked with the other interns.  They are all at private universities, they all live in posh apartments downtown on their parents' dime, and they all have impressive majors and even more impressive reading lists.  How did they hear about this internship?  Through their school's websites.  Are they necessarily interested in fashion?  Nah, but Chic always looks good on a resume.
I'd like to say that it was my great passion for fashion that got me here, but how could my boss have realized that through a phone interview.  No.  What got me here is the connections I made.  As much as you'd like to deny it and say that hard work will get you there, it's not quite true.  Yes, hard work speaks volumes, but only after you've gotten where you're going.  What gets you in the door is where you come from (Ivy League website) or who you know.  In my case, it was an editor at another prestigious national magazine, Pose.  
I didn't take no for an answer.  Last year I happened to have a visit to New York planned with my family, and I stalked my way through this editor's Instagram (let's call her Christina) to figure out her email address.  (I don't always recommend being such a creeper, but in this case, it really worked for me).  I sent her an email on a whim, explaining that I was a journalism student with a dream of one day editing for a fashion magazine and I'd love the chance to meet with her during my trip--my one chance to meet her face to face.
Weeks went by--no reply.  I completely lost hope at this point.  Then, I was sitting in a movie theater about to watch a show when I reached in my bag to turn the volume off my phone.  There was a notification from Christina: she was glad to hear from me and was willing to set up a meeting.  I couldn't believe my luck.
Months went by and I did nothing but anticipate this meeting.  It took me a lot to get there, but I did it.  I ended up in the office of Pose magazine with three editors, discussing future career possibilities and the world of fashion.  It's through these editors that I obtained the contact information of the intern program at Chic (Pose doesn't offer internships), which is how I got the offer.
As ridiculous as it may seem, you have to push for what you want.  It's not fair, but an elite few have opportunities most of us don't think possible.  The thing is--it is possible.  It's always possible.  You just have to know how to make it happen for yourself.

Until next time,
Fashion Girl

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