Friday, June 19, 2015

Chronicles of a Fashion Intern: Breakfast at Chanel

How I Almost Got Fired from Marie Claire on my First Day

This summer, I am lucky enough to intern for one of the biggest fashion magazines in the country Marie Claire. "Lucky" because everything just sort of happened out of nowhere. From January through April I was frantically sending out my resume to dozens of companies hoping someone would see potential in me and hire me for the summer. Out of all the companies I applied to (about 30) only three got back to me, and neither of those three offered me a position. By the end of April I had not heard back from anyone and needless to say, I was in panic mode.

One night while I was on Twitter, eating a carton of ice cream and wiping away the tears of my failed dreams, I stumbled upon an account called "ed2010" that posted job alerts for various magazines. As I scrolled through, I saw a tweet that said "Marie Claire is looking for a Summer Fashion Intern" and I thought to myself, You'll never know if you don't try. So I sent in a cover letter and resume the next day and a few hours later I got a call asking if I wanted to interview with them. A week later I received an email saying they'd love to have me on the team and before I knew it I was on a plane from Los Angeles to New York and my "Carrie Bradshaw Life" was about to begin. 

My first day was definitely one to remember. I got to work about 30 minutes early and didn't know what to do. I've never been to New York before so I didn't know the area and I didn't want to wander off and get lost. So I decided to go to the CVS next door to kill some time. I thought to myself, "Okay Ingrid, you're just going to pretend like your looking for something for the next 30 minutes and then leave." So I awkwardly walked over to the shampoo aisle and just stared at the bottles for what seemed like hours until a sales associate came up to me and asked if I needed any help. "No, I'm just looking but thanks anyways," I said. "Well, you've been staring at these bottles for the past 10 minutes, are you sure you don't need help?" Shit. I've been caught red handed. Okay, just make up a story." Actually you're right I do need help. Do you happen to know what the best shampoo for dry hair is? I've tried all of these but my hair still looks like shit." So I preceded to have a twenty minute conversation about shampoo...that's right, a twenty minute conversation...only to walk out with nothing. The saleswoman was not too happy about that.

Entering the Hearst Building was a dream. You know... like in the movies when something extraordinary happens to a character and everything around them suddenly becomes slow motion? Well it was exactly that, but better. Better because it was real. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be walking through the same halls legends walked through. Yet here I was only 34 floors away from the legend herself, Nina Garcia.

You'd think elevators are pretty easy to figure out. You just push the "up" or "down" button depending on which direction you want to go, but the Hearst elevators like to complicate things for newbies like me by not providing those buttons, but rather giant keypads in front of each elevator. Now what. It's okay don't panic just get on the next elevator that opens and figure it out from there. It can't be that hard. I walked into an elevator after a random guy and during our awkward elevator ride he looked at my confused face and says, "you're supposed to enter the floor your going to on the keypad..." Damn it. "Oh yeah. I totally knew that. I just thought you were going to floor 23 not 32. Whoops... ha ha?" I turned bright red as he walked out and I quickly dialed 34 on the keypad hoping no one else saw me. The day ahead looked more promising than ever *note sarcasm*

My first assignment was pretty simple, go to Chanel and pick up a bag for Marie Claire. Got it. Nothing too difficult about that task right? So I walked all the way to Chanel which was a few blocks away only to realize the store was closed and didn't open for another 30 minutes. Great. Here we go again with the waiting game. So I stood outside the Chanel store staring at the window displays eating a protein bar until someone came up to me and said, "Breakfast at Chanel's?" To which I replied, "That's right. I'm just crazy about Chanel." He laughed and walked away and I continued having my very own "Breakfast at Chanel" moment. It was all very lovely until the store finally opened and the sales associate told me I was in the wrong place and that I needed to go next door to pick up the items. So in other words, I waited 30 minutes for absolutely nothing.

On my walk back to the office, my heels felt very strange. My feet moved freely as if they were in flip flops. "That's weird," I thought, but I didn't pay much attention to it because I was in a hurry back. When I finally got into the Hearst elevator I looked at my shoes and noticed the entire heel from both my shoes were falling off! It was only 10:35am meaning I had the whole day ahead. So I did what I could only do, staple and tape my heels back on. I guess you could say I was going for a very "high fashion" look.

When I walked into the fashion closet, I was overwhelmed at the amount of clothes and shoes that aligned its entirety. A bunch of trunks came in from a photoshoot in Barcelona and everyone needed to pack up certain runway looks to send back to their specific designers as soon as possible, so everyone was going crazy trying to organize and send out everything all at once."Here, take this and put it in a garment bag," said another intern as she shoved an entire Louis Vuitton outfit in my hands. "Um okay, but what do I do with the bag?" "Just take pictures of everything in that bag and staple this label on to it and give it to a messenger." Okay that's not to hard right? There's no way to mess this up! Just put these amazing clothes in a bag and staple a label. Piece of cake! So I did just that and sent it off to Louis Vuitton.

A few hours later a woman barges into the closet and yells, "Who did the Louis Vuitton return?" Oh shit. That's me. "Um hi, yeah I think I did. Why did I miss something?" "You realize you sent a Chanel bag to Louis Vuitton right? What were you thinking! This is absolutely terrible and grounds for termination." OH MY GOD. Everyone suddenly stopped and stared at me as the closet became absolutely still. "I am sooo sorry!! Someone handed me the clothes and said it was everything that needed to be sent to Louis Vuitton. I assumed that it had been checked for mistakes already..." "Well next time don't assume anything and you might be able to keep your job." fuck.fuck.fuck.fuck. "Okay I promise to triple check the next time. It's my first day and I..." "I know it's your first day which is why we are letting it slide for now, but a mistake like this is not tolerated at all. The next time this happens, let's just say you won't be returning the next day." Shit. 

It was only 12:00am and I was already having the unluckiest day of my life. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong. From having my dress fly up around every corner, to getting sprayed by water leaking from an air conditioner, my "fabulous" New York life was not really living up to it's high fashion standards.

These series of unfortunate events lasted all the way up to 10pm, when I was finally able to go home. It was a less than perfect day and probably one of the most intimating days of my life, but I've decided to look at some of the positive things that came out of it....

Valuable Lessons of the Day:

  1. You can never check to make sure everything is properly organized and packed away too many times. Double, triple, quadruple check... and keep checking after that until you eyeballs fall out. This might make you look like you have extreme OCD but it's worth keeping your job.
  2. Don't pick up items at the Chanel store, they will just look at you like a crazy Karl Lagerfeld groupie.
  3. Always bring an extra pair of shoes.
  4. When in doubt ask, it will save you a random trip to the 32nd floor.
  5.  If you're early, don't stall, just go in and start working, they'll love it.

 My Day in NYC Figures

  1. 3 Gallons shed of Blood, Sweat, and Tears 
  2. 5 Cat Calls
  3. 5 Marilyn Monroe Moments (Thanks Wind)
  4. 2 Accidental Subway Transfers
  5. 3 Times I was almost ran over by a car/taxi/bus

And it was all worth it.

Till next time,


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