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The Devil Wears Prada: How Realistic Is It? Life of a Fashion Intern

Part One
            When I landed a summer internship at a prominent famous fashion magazine (let’s call it Fame*), I was beyond excited. I imagined a life of luxury working with celebrities and getting free Chanel gifts from the fashion closet. While some of these perks happened (not the Chanel gifts), I was definitely shocked by how a fashion closet internship works and by the daily tasks required of me. Get rid of any ideas of glamorous activities editors will need you to do, like attend a fashion show with them. This is not how it works – your life will consist of monotonous tasks, and when it comes down to it, being someone’s bitch.
            The building itself is beautiful, with almost 40 floors of magazines and a gourmet cafeteria where the employees can socialize while eating a grape and maybe a cracker. On my first day, I was so nervous watching all the women enter the building in heels and swipe their ID cards to go up the elevators to whichever mystery magazine they worked at. As I sat waiting for my ID card to be made, I noticed a really cute guy sit down next to me. In my mind, he obviously worked for one of the men’s magazines there, or maybe a car magazine. When I asked him what magazine he worked for, he bubbily responded “FAME!” I quickly realized this guy was not interested in me, or anyone with boobs for that matter. 

I have to say, fashion internships do give you the best gay guy friends. While I’m sure there are some heterosexual men working at fashion magazines, the three I worked with were not among them. I have never found better guys to shop with, and they were way more fun than straight guys I know. These are the guys you want to keep around, ladies.
            I finally entered the floor of my magazine and was surprised that it looked exactly like a typical office. There were about 40 cubicles of desks, a conference room, and a large room called the fashion closet (AKA racks of clothing picked by the fashion editors lined up in a room) where my internship would be taking place.  The interns got to do really exciting things like unpack boxes, check new clothes in, and pack clothes up to be returned to the designer. But our biggest task was doing runs! This is by far the most hellish closest errand. You are essentially an unpaid messenger, spending hours of your day using the subway to go to random warehouses and showrooms to pick up or drop off clothing for the magazine. It may seem fun for a day, but then you will hate it. I ended up spending more time on the subway than in the office on most days.

            Now for the question that remains to be answered: Is there an intimidating fashion editor-in-chief who parades around the office instilling fear in all those below her? Yes. She isn’t anywhere near as vicious as the ferocious Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada. In fact, she’s quite nice. But she does have her power complex, and is often spotted wearing sunglasses in the elevator and inside the magazine complex on her way out of the building to her driver. You do not speak to her unless spoken to. Any other similarities to the book or movie? Yes.  Like “Andy” (played by Anne Hathaway) in the movie, the interns give their lives to the editors. You will arrive early in the morning, and you may leave close to 10 or 11 at night if there is a shoot coming up. You obviously aren’t paid, but don’t feel to bad because even the assistants make barely any money. You will be running to Starbucks for any editor that asks. You could even be picking up your editor’s keys at a random boytoy’s apartment down in the heart of Brooklyn – true story. To state it simply, you can be asked to do anything. Getting into one of these jobs means agreeing to go through hell for little in return besides a line on your resume. Call me pessimistic, but I have the experience to know that this is not the dream lifestyle girls often think it is.
To be continued…
*All names have been changed as well as the name of the magazine.

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