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An Internship Horror Story

We are at a time in our lives when the scariest words to anyone are “internship” and “job.” It is that joyous time of spending countless hours on the computer sending your resume to 20 plus businesses, firms, agencies, or for me, magazines. Glossy magazines have cluttered my room for years. While most young girls were playing teacher and house, I was playing magazine editor.

This is what I wanted and it was this fall when I thought all my dreams would come true. Wow, was I wrong.

We have all heard internship horror stories but I was about to live my own, literally stepping into the vicious world of high fashion at Harper’s Bazaar magazine, one of the classiest and reputable publications out there. I was soon going to surround myself with everything I had ever hoped for. September came and I was the new beauty editorial intern.

I knew walking into the Hearst Publications building I had reached heaven. The breathtaking building was filled with marble, posh décor, and high heels clicking away. My beaming geeky intern smile was washed away in just a few short hours.

I had become a lipstick holding, mascara testing, coffee running, and lunch serving slave to my editor. I was now to print hundreds of  emails from the printer that sits in between the editor and myself. I’m sorry, is your index finger seriously incapable of clicking print? Oh, and sure I would love to uncap 70 red lipsticks and put them in shade order. Let’s talk about how stressful it is when you are asked why the new Dior eye shadow didn’t come in for the shoot.

“Michelle what do you mean it isn’t in. Do you know what this means? You have ruined the shoot now!” Was this seriously what I have always dreamed of? To be humiliated over glitter that goes on your eyes?

Everyday is a gut-wrenching surprise, never knowing what  bi-polar mood my editor will be in. But this pain is a lifetime experience right?

I literally wanted to hide under my cubical and cry my drug-store makeup off, but then I thought to myself that just a few years ago, my editor was getting high off hairspray fumes, making party favors, and doing lunch runs for her editor.

Being in the world of magazines is like entering a whole world different than what we know. It is fierce, cutthroat, and most of all oddly captivating. Even though each day I left like a child covered in glitter, with my hair on top of my head, sweating to death with painful heels in hand, I knew that deep inside I wanted to be my editor.

 It has been my dream and sometimes a reality check of how hard the industry is and that it either makes you or breaks you. To be an intern in the high-fashion world is literally subjecting yourself to brand hungry lions, except they are six foot, 90 pound, picture perfect women.

I may have to be locked in a closet full of shampoos and lip-gloss, and I may have to pick up flowers, and alphabetize eyeliner, but sometimes you have to just pay the price to reach your dream. Internships are designed to create assurance in ones professional path. Some experiences are wonderful while others will have you crying the whole commute home. 

While picking an internship and interviewing for a position there is no true way to know how your experience will be, but in the end it will be worth it in some way.

Not every industry is as glamorous as it seems and as students, we take that risky non-paid chance to learn even the slightest bit about our professions.

I may be exhausted at the end of the day and mentally drained, but it is all worth the pain to have that name on your resume.

Do it for the name and bite your tongue the whole way. Happy interning. Don’t forget if it’s two sugars or one!