1. You know what goes into every photoshoot.
Until I had a first hand experience, the images in my favorite magazines were simply fantasies which left me feeling somewhat envious of the editor who got to style that story. Now I know that it takes about 70 runway looks, 100 pairs of shoes, copious amounts of lingerie, gloves, jewelry, tights, and other accessories to obtain as little as one photograph. In most cases, the excess amounts of fashion deliver drool worthy imagery for the magazine, but there have been moments when I ask myself, was it worth it?
2. Those shopping pages aren’t as seamless as they appear.
If you don’t know what I mean by “shopping pages,” reference Elle magazine’s ‘Shops’ section. If you do know what I mean, then you know that reading them feels like a fun, page turning section of impossibly expensive clothing. I know, it’s a great job to be able to curate still life images of seriously good fashion. But wait…there is a bit more to it than that; the editing process of that section is long, hard, and dramatic. I know this and I was just an intern.
3. Credits give you severe anxiety.
You know those references in the corner of every page that tell you where to buy the featured products? Those are known as credits by most, but interns like me know them as Dante’s tenth circle of hell. Whenever a new issue comes out, it’s my job to make sure every brand gets proof that they were featured. So I make a spreadsheet with the designer, number of credits, and then the page number(s). Then I mark the pages with a sticky note and send it to that designer’s PR representative. Now that I’ve done this task, I read a magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, where fashion is on every single page, and I say a little prayer for those interns.
4. Celebrities on covers no longer phase you.
Sure, it’s exciting at first when you find out that photographerX will be shooting celebrityY for the March issue, but after months of planning, assisting the editors, and perhaps going to set with celebrityY, the lust of said celebrity begins to fade.
5. You lose the ability to stay organized in your personal life.
As a fashion intern, it’s a major part of my job to keep the fashion closet clean and efficient, you know, in case the creative director of the magazine wants to hold an impromptu run-through. That being said, the perfectly ordered closet of yours at home, will become a disaster. Don’t believe me? Try working 10 hours straight in hot room over crowded with perfectly displayed clothing and accessories. Get back to me once you’ve experienced that.
6. Your friends will ask you to put together their resumes for them.
“No way! You got and internship there?! Will you look at my resume and cover letter and tell me what to do? Thanks!” Yes, once you find your way in somewhere, everyone will want to know the secret to achieving the same thing. Okay, not everyone, but surely one or two people will want you to edit their overcrowded resume, or have you email them your cover letter to “use as a template.” It’s fabulous to help people, but make sure it’s their authentic voice coming through on their applications.
7. You feel the urge to make your magazine the most prominent on news stands.
For some reason, I felt a sense of responsibility to make people buy the magazine for which I was working. Every time I went to the newsstand at Barnes & Noble, I would spread it across the section so it was impossible not to notice. However, I foolishly got caught in the act once, and one of the employees placed the copies back in their stack right in front of me. As you can imagine, I slinked away in embarrassment.
8. Brand names begin to roll off the tongue…in a bad way.
There is nothing I hate more than when I am in class here at Parsons, and someone corrects my pronunciation of Saint Laurent or Vetements or any designer name that isn’t so Americanized. However, working in fashion editorial, I grew stronger in my ability to say the names correctly and with confidence. It felt good at the office, but in class I felt just like those snobby rich kids who used to correct me. But I guess I should just take the above advice from Raven.
9. The process for your non-internship related work will mold to that of your internship.
You’ll see that there is a large research process that goes into every story at your publication. Some of my tasks included photo research in the archives, finding brands that make whatever else is needed for a shoot, creating mood-boards to reflect the tone of the story, etc. Watching and participating in this approach made me want to do all of my personal projects the same way. Now whenever I have an assignment due, I can barely get started until my research is complete.
10. When your internship comes to an end, you feel a strange sense of loyalty to that magazine.
Now that my semester with this magazine is over, I am forever obsessed with knowing what the editors will come up with next. One thing you’ll learn in this industry is that once you’re genuinely part of a team, you’ll always feel some sense of pride when they accomplish something great.