I was intrigued when I saw the job posting online, excited when I was called in for an interview, and over-the-moon when I was offered--and immediately accepted--my first and current job at a fashion magazine. In an industry with a waiting line of hundreds of eager, ambitious individuals who'd do anything to claw their way into the revolving doors of the Freedom Tower, I felt beyond lucky to have made it through even if the position wasn't exactly what I wanted. That's something I've been told over and over again--if you get an offer that's remotely related to what you think you may want to do, you take it. It's a realization of a passion at best, and at worst, a learning experience. For myself, it also wasn't just a foot in the door, it was a foot in the door of all doors of women's magazines.
I chalked it up to a roster of 6 internships--something that wasn't just a "highly recommended" part of attending NYU but also rather de rigeur--and lucky timing of chancing upon a job posting on Ed2010, a magazine job listing site. To be totally honest, having snatched a spot--and one at a "dream place" of employment--less than 2 months after graduating, I was feeling pretty on top of the world. I lived for the widened eyes and raised eyebrows I received when I answered people asking me where I worked. I felt like I had a glossy brand name now plastered to myself, and one worthy of that reaction, too. I had always known this was where I wanted to work, and had carefully curated my coursework and internships accordingly. My college application essay was even about a pair of satin Christian Louboutin shoes I had spied gleaming in the holiday window display of Bergdorf Goodman's one winter in the ninth grade--don't ask, I'm still unsure how I made it work as a topic.
Having now been there long enough to get a feel for the industry in a real, full-time capacity I admit I'm learning every day. There's also a certain reality check that comes with working in fashion, and one I'm not sure I was fully prepared for off the bat. So, for those who don't know, fair warning: the hours can be rather long and you're certainly not wearing new-season Prada everyday with a beginning salary. There is a tension between work/life balance and enjoying what you do that needs to be considered, but it's something I realize so many of my equally driven and thirsty-for-life friends are struggling with as well. Your 20's are for a lot of things, learning and experiencing and working your ass off, and those are three things I can attest to having done, doing and hoping to continue to do for a long time.
Victoria Ontman, Editorial Producer Vogue.com @ Vogue