Perks and Pumps: Interning at Teen Vogue

I remember it was a rainy Monday morning in Manhattan. I awoke to my alarm buzzing loudly in my ear, but I was already up. Sleeping was not even an option the night before as my brain ran in overdrive contemplating what to wear, what to say, and what my responsibilities would be on my first day. I didn’t want to look like I was trying too hard to look like a girl who possessed a keen sense of fashion, since I really don’t, but I surely couldn’t make my debut feeling completely embarrassed in a not-so-trendy ensemble. I finally made my way out of my apartment and down Sixth Avenue heading towards Times Square.

The building was immaculate—the walls and floors shined like the top of the Chrysler building while big, strong men resembling nightclub bouncers stood at the entrances in suits and ear pieces. Men and women talking on cell phones, rushing in through the glass doors, swiping their ID cards, made this all seem so normal. But my heart was pounding. This was my dream. I was at 4 Times Square, home of Conde Nast Publications. “Star struck” are the best words I can use to describe this feeling. After learning where I would be stationed for the summer, I made my way up to the 9th floor. Stepping out of the elevator, my heart dropped. The floor was white and seemed to sparkle, there were couches and chairs outside of the big glass doors. It was exactly what I had imagined. Beyond the glass doors was a white wall and plastered against the wall were the words I had been longing to see. Red, huge, bold, and italic lettering spelled out the words “Teen Vogue.” I was finally here.

My whole experience since that moment was a whirlwind. I worked in the beauty department. I spent inordinate amounts of time in the beauty closet that was stocked full of hair products, nail polish, eye liner, lip gloss, eye shadow, hair masques, acne products, cleansers, toners, and even more that would make anyone’s head spin. Transcribing interviews was another one of my daily tasks which I would usually consider a bore, although listening to Katy Perry’s and Marc Jacobs’ voices didn’t screw up my day that much. The photo research and errands were endless and opening packages that came in every ten minutes seemed to also be on the list of my responsibilities. If I was lucky, the products were last season and I was able to keep them or a bakery would send cupcakes inviting me to divulge first. I had the perks of testing and trying out products everyday and was welcomed to take what I wanted from the beauty closet; obviously taking full advantage of this opportunity has now left me with pounds of products that I don’t even know what to do with.

My favorite memory of the summer would have to be during my last week when I was chosen randomly to fill in for the Editor in Chief’s, Amy Astley, assistant for a few days. Her own assistant was taking a trip to the Teen Vogue LA office. I could not believe this was happening. On the day before, my own boss gave me a few words of advice before I left the office that night.  “You better dress really well tomorrow. That is all.” I came in the next day in an A-line black and white dress with my hair curled and black shiny pumps to finish off the look. I was given clear instructions about my responsibilities. Getting to the office before Amy was a must. I opened the doors to her amazing office, turned on the lights, retrieved a cup of hot water for tea and manned the phone. The phone always needed to be answered. No exceptions. It turned out to be an awesome few days, running around the office giving newly edited copies of certain sections back to their respective departments. Amy even asked my advice about a section and took the layout that I had suggested. I really couldn’t believe it was all happening.

As I was sitting in Amy’s assistant’s desk, two days prior to my whole experience coming to a close, I tried to reflect on my summer. Had I done everything I wanted? Did I foresee myself in this industry? I answered ‘yes’ to both questions, and it had all been very clear from the beginning. This is where I have always wanted to be and was determined to end up here. The people were amazing and talented. The photo shoots and video shoots were exactly what you would expect, skinny models and tons of food for the crew−which is where I planted myself most of the time. I was never barked at and certainly never had my boss’s bags thrown on top of my desk day after day. In a sense, it was the epitome of The Devil Wears Prada. Even I knew to get out of the elevator that one day after lunch so Anna Wintour could get in before me. Besides that, the movie is a bit of a stretch, and I would not trade anything in the world for my time spent at Teen Vogue this summer.


Photo taken from the writer’s Instagram.