The night before my first day interning at Seventeen Magazine was awful. In between tossing and turning, I was imagining my boss as an even more evil version of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wear Prada, ordering me to do impossible tasks and get her Starbucks orders. In this nightmare, there was no Stanley Tucci to be kind and share with me the wonders of the fashion closet. My worst fear was walking into my internship and finding out that it was the terrible portrait painted in every movie and TV show about the magazine industry.
Instead of my nightmare, what I walked into has been the greatest learning experience I could have ever asked for. Getting off the elevator on the 17th floor (cute, I know) at the Hearst Tower, I was greeted by my internship supervisor and given a tour of the floor. The floor is separated into two sections: editorial and publishing. I work on the editorial side as a features intern focusing on the entertainment and lifestyles section; my side has the cute couch where all the celeb visitors take pictures when they come to the office! Then, I met my features editors and got straight to work!
Disclaimer: I walked into this internship believing that what it took to be a writer was to type dramatically on my laptop looking out onto the city streets and ponder whether I should be with Mr. Big or Aidan (I blame Sarah Jessica Parker for this delusion). What I’ve learned is that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. My internship has included researching statistics for my editors’ articles, finding real girls and guys to be featured in the magazine and share their teen insight, compiling a daily list of the hottest celeb gossip and teen stories for our editor-in-chief, and coming up with fun and cute titles for various features in the magazine. Even tasks that sound boring, like opening the mail, are actually really exciting! Every box is another cool CD, book, movie, or TV show that’s just being released and looking to be featured in Seventeen. It’s like a pop culture fanatic’s version of Christmas! And not once have I done the cliché intern coffee run.
Working at Hearst Tower is cool in and of itself. We have an amazing cafeteria with everything from sushi to a grill to a sandwich station to themed Wednesday snack days (last week was create your own French fries with tons of cool toppings). Popular magazines like Esquire, O Magazine, Redbook, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan are among the renowned titles that we call our neighbors. Spending time in a building with so many cool media staples is a guaranteed way to run into some pretty famous people (I haven’t spotted any celebs yet but my friends have seen P. Diddy and Dr. Oz so far). And my lunch hour is an awesome time to explore the city’s unique restaurants and eat in Columbus Circle and Central Park while the weather is still so beautiful. This week, I even modeled some fall boots in the park to mimic an outfit seen in the October issue.
I’m very lucky to work with people who make me feel like a valued member of the team. In a young, enthusiastic office, I always get awesome feedback when I do good work. Emails from editors range from saying that a possible title is “AMAZE” to “come get a cupcake” after I do something well (another disclaimer: free food on the job is like hitting the jackpot for an unpaid intern). Creating a magazine is a very hands-on, collaborative process and I couldn’t be happier than I chose this as my career path.
The other day, I was walking to Hearst Tower with another Red Fox interning at the iconic Hearst Tower. She told me how surreal it still felt to intern in an industry that some people only dream of. I couldn’t agree more. It still seems a little nuts that I took a love of red carpets and binge-watching TV shows and turned it into a future career. I’m so fortunate to be in the Marist in Manhattan program, which allows me to live in the city and really have the time to focus on my incredible internship. I’m only a month into my internship, but I can’t wait to see what other opportunities come my way and what my other three months living in NYC will bring. Until then, I’ll keep learning all I can about the industry and cross my fingers that I run into a celebrity soon!
Click here for me info about the Marist in Manhattan program offered at Marist College.