I woke up at 6 a.m. to a dark, rainy Soho. The honking taxis, grunts of large trucks and the smell of bagels proved that you don’t have to see daylight to know that the city was already wide awake. But what I didn’t see coming was that today would be the best day of my life.
It was the first full day (and the only full day) at Teen Vogue Fashion U. I got dressed in a cheetah print Portofino blouse, hot pink flats and a gold spiked necklace courtesy of Express and my own pink midi skirt. Then I headed off to One World Trade Center, the home of Condé Nast.
After a 15-minute subway trip, I finally gazed my eyes on the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere- and hopefully my future office! At 1,776 feet tall and 104 floors, I could get used to Teen Vogue’s breathtaking 40th floor view every day.
A few months ago, I had a dream that I got a personal tour of Teen Vogue’s offices and met Amy Astly, the editor in chief of the magazine. Today, that dream came true.
First on the agenda was a photo-shoot with Express on a private trip to Teen Vogue’s offices. I passed the line of hundreds of girls waiting to check in, got my bag checked, received my VIP pass and headed up to the building’s very confusing, yet high-tech touch pad elevators with Teen Vogue’s Sheena Meekins, the integrated marketing director. She is such a boss lady and a joy to talk to.
The big reveal came when we walked into those glass doors and saw the editors’ offices. You might have seen Amy’s on Instagram. This is why: Flawless.
If I was on cloud nine before, now I’m on a number I can’t express (pun totally not intended). We moved to the middle of the offices, and one of the photographers handed another ambassador and I the “T” and “V” letters that have been held by every celeb who visits the office (former Disney teen queen Debby Ryan was the last one posted on Instagram).
Then we kicked up our heels at one of the desks in the office, sifted through a rack of Express’ new spring collection (not yet in stores!), and shot some “my stories” with Express’ Snapchat guy.
It sounds like my day couldn’t have gotten better, but oh boy, it did. I heard from worldwide beauty blogger Michelle Phan; Instagram’s fashion and art leader Kristen Joy Watts; Teen Vogue editors Amy Astley, Dana Matthews, Elaine Welteroth, Drew Elovitz and Erin Kaplan ; Mickey Rapkin, a freelance writer known for many of Teen Vogue’s cover stories (including April’s with Bella Thorne) and the author of Pitch Perfect; and DKNY PR Girl Aliza Licht.
I asked two questions during Q&As that impressed the editors and students alike! First I asked Kristen about increasing follower engagement with creative captions. Her advice? Keep it short and have a distinct voice. Think Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine (who spoke at the business of fashion major) and cool-girl model Cara Delevingne. I asked the editors about how the role of the editor has changed. I once had a professor tell me that magazines don’t hire writers, just freelancers. Amy was quick to prove him wrong. At Teen Vogue, the editors do it all. They style, write, go to photo shoots, travel and whatever else helps expand the brand. It’s not that writers aren’t hired anymore, it’s that writing is just one of many tasks the editors have. After applauding my question and noticeable passion for the industry, I was fluttering inside.
After lunching in the sleek Condé Nast cafeteria, I jetted off to another tour of the offices. Teen Vogue randomly selected about 100 students for this exclusive experience. How lucky was I? Two tours-and most students didn’t even see it once. The closet assistants showed the group of five the editors’ offices, fashion closet, beauty closet and answered all the questions I had. Let’s just say I had I couldn’t resist asking questions and posting at least four photos on Instagram each day the entire weekend.
Everyone couldn’t wait for 5 p.m. to roll around: it was time for the editor mix and mingle! For an hour, students swarmed their favorite Teen Vogue editors over munchies and punch to get the inside scoop on breaking into fashion, exchange business cards and snap a picture. I talked to Devyn Bell, the graphic designer for integrated marketing, aka advertisements. Dressed in a studded leather jacket, rocker jeans and black booties, she was the ultimate cool girl. We talked InDesign, followed each other on Instagram and then it was time to call it a day. #missionaccomplished.
At the end of the day, I was tired, my feet were killing me, the bags under my eyes were definitely not designer, but I couldn’t wait to come back tomorrow to wrap up a fairytale weekend.
So what’s my Teen Vogue staff networking count now? Five! (not including speaking to the editors and taking a photo with Fashion News Director Jessica Minkoff).
It’s unfathomable to me that I’m writing all of this. Honestly, I wanted to cry of happiness. It felt too good to be true. I’ve dreamed of working at Teen Vogue for five years, trusted it as my fashion bible for almost a decade, and I’ve already gotten in the doors. So what’s next? You’ll just have to read the next post about my graduation day!