We’ve all heard a story before, of a small girl with big city dreams — the girl who people would describe as “unrealistic” and possibly sometimes even “too ambitious.” Various fictional stories have been written about this type of girl… But in real life, I am one of those girls.
Since before I can remember, I’ve dreamt of living in a city where I could pursue a fashion journalism career and be able to travel the world at my leisure. Only thing is, I understand that my life isn’t a movie and I have evidence to prove that I’m not the luckiest person in the world… So the chances of me landing a series of jobs that would make me the next Editor in Chief of Vogue were extremely slim.
Instead of striving to land my first internship at a big name publication, I chose to put in work in a different way…. Through an internship with the coolest college fashion website ever — collegefashionista.com.
As a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista, I was responsible for capturing street style photography around my school’s campus and creating weekly articles that revolved around a particular person’s style. This was a great opportunity for me because my university is located in Philadelphia where there aren’t a lot of fashion journalism related jobs available.
Starting off as a Style Guru was tough at first; I had to watch strangers walk around campus and approach them to ask if I could take photographs of their outfits. (As any Style Guru will tell you — there’s a thin line between “Style Guru” and “Style Stalker”.) Becoming comfortable with that aspect of the position was the the most nerve wrecking for me, but the awkwardness didn’t last long.
For my second semester with CollegeFashionista, I worked as both a Style Guru and an Editorial Intern. My job as an Editorial Intern required me to edit 4 to 6 articles a day that were submitted by other Style Gurus from different campuses. It helped me learn a lot about what it’s like to multi-task and how to identify even the most minor mistakes. After editing each article, I would provide each Style Guru with feedback and give suggestions on how they can improve with their writing. It was a challenging and very tedious job, but it was absolutely worth it!
At the start of my second year with CollegeFashionista, I now feel that I have improved immensely with photography, writing, editing and overall communication. The site has relaunched this fall, and I know I’ll have the opportunity to become an even better writer. I am seriously getting a real journalism experience without having to travel 80 miles away to NYC to do it. Working for CollegeFashionista has allowed me to start pursuing my dream full-fledged, and I appreciate every second of it.
I chose to attend Philadelphia University for two reasons: the first reason being they had a Fashion Merchandising and Management program and the second being they had a student run fashion magazine. I started off as a writer with the publication, then was promoted to a co-editing position and now, I work as the Web Editor of the publication.
My job as Web Editor is to maintain the publication’s website, assign articles to our bloggers, edit their work and then provide them with proper feedback. This position has given me a great insight on what it’s like to manage a team of writers and how to decide what topics are interesting and important enough to write about for our university audience.
Over the past year, I have also worked as a freelance writer (as fashion and beauty contributor for a black teen magazine, Sesi). This position required me to compile looks for photo shoots, create articles and contact PR reps of brands for images. This is another job that I felt was essential and beneficial to my growth as a journalist because I got to experience article pitching and creating work by following the Editor in Chief’s guidelines.
Everything I do, and every job I take on, is with intentions on bettering myself as a writer and overall person. I’ve turned down opportunities and positions that guaranteed money because I had to stay focused on a bigger picture.
I know most people say, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free,” but I now understand that compensation comes in more forms than just money.
As an intern and aspiring business owner, I’ll dedicate my time to doing unpaid work, opting for a jeans, white T-shirt and lunch bag type of style everyday… Because I know that someday, I’ll be able to afford Chanel and bomb gourmet tacos (I love tacos) and I’m totally okay with being patient for it.
I take my career goals very seriously because it’s something I really want. I want to spend my time writing, editing and researching. I love fashion a lot, but I know my purpose is bigger than what I can do with just that one field. I want to be able to help people improve their wardrobes as well as their lifestyles. I want to provide them with a new perspective on life they may have not been introduced to before. I want to do it so bad that I can’t, not do it. Sleepless nights are worth it. Any opportunity that aligns with what I want; I’ll take it.
The experiences I have gained over the past 12 months have lead me to where I am today — the creator of Darla Magazine. I know how to take photographs, I know how to write, I know how to edit, I know how to work collaboratively and manage a team, and I know how to create. Now I just have to challenge myself to put all of that together and accomplish a new goal.
I still may be just a small girl with big city dreams, but I’m getting closer to where I want to be with every word I write and every move I make.
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