Raise your hand if you want to grab one week worth of work experience in Australia’s top-selling fashion and lifestyle magazine? I don’t see a single hand down. I thought so.
Raise your hand if you were fortunate enough to get a few months of internship in the beauty or fashion section of Australia’s top-selling fashion and lifestyle magazine? There are quite a few hands up. I knew it.
Thanks to Lauren Conrad, Emily Weiss, and more recently, Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl – the entire concept of ‘work experience’ and ‘magazine internship’ is revolutionised. It is not just something that is recommended to university students who are studying a Journalism or Communication degree. It is a dream of every Sportsgirl-clad, magazine-hoarding, still-living-at-home girl. Excuse my stereotype, but it is the ultimate truth. Every one wants to be part of the glossy pages. The fictional character of Anne Hathaway in the infamous The Devil Wears Prada, added more fuel to the fire. She made us believe that every employee/intern gets free stuff from the fashion cupboards. If only. Every one wants to be one of the characters from The Hills. Truth be told, I never watched that show. Mainly because they bring nothing fresh or exciting to the world of reality television. They are cliché, dumb and badly scripted. Nothing “real” about reality TV is portrayed. It is overpowered by Jimmy Choo wearing blonde bimbos who think they know everything about fashion and journalism. Leave aside their Hollywood-styled attire, I can place bets on their incapability to have a minute-long intellectual conversation. It breaks my heart and burns my degree to see them strutting down magazine offices.
When I was told to look for work experience in my first year of uni by a very humble lecturer, I hunt down the community newspaper’s office and wrote about cows, income tax and army barracks. I got free coffee and tea. It counts, right? I knew getting a spot at a magazine HQ in Sydney would be close to impossible. But had I known that it would be SO high in demand, I would have asked my mum to book me in when I was learning how to crawl.
Zoe Foster – one of my favourite writers – her journey to the world of shiny pages is induced with luck. Mia Freedman got in after she harassed the life out of the magazine’s editorial coordinator. But luck followed her. And so it tailed behind Paula Joye, Sarah Wilson, Elizabeth Renkert… I can keep naming names. A nice blend of luck, shiny networks, an outgoing personality, 52-weeks of free work and great hair is what you need to get into this industry. It’s not always about the hair though (I bloody hope not).
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not mocking the idea of working for free in magazines to get my foot in the door. I am pro-work experience and internship. Always have been. I did some last year and I fully intend on doing more in 2011. But you can say that I am disappointed with the mind-blasting competition that surrounds us today. Every girl in a newsagency wants to be part of the masthead. Every girl on the train wants a cupboard full on free clothes and products (dream on, baby). And going with the latest trend, every girl wants to be on the set of Arena‘s new reality show – Park Street. Wait till the show is aired, I’ll pray for all the five magazines’ editorial coordinators. Their phone and inbox will ring off the hook. Just you wait and watch.
This post is a follow up to my recent email/phone conversation with [insert Australia’s top-selling women’s fashion magazine title]’s editorial coordinator. Since I’m moving to the city of dreams in four days (eeeeekkkkk), I am trying to organise some work experience. The reply I received was ridiculously unexpected. I was told – “I’m sorry but we’re booked till January 27, 2012. There isn’t a single week free”. Now that means two work experience girls per week for 52 weeks. You do the math – but that sounds crazy to me!
If only I had the courage to look beyond my local community newspaper when I started uni, I would have a pretty heavy resume as of today. And if only someone had told me to watch The Hills.
Damn you all trashy TV addicts!