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Thanks to contacts I had made during a networking event at Endeavour House in Tottenham Court Road over a summer holiday that I dedicated to applying for internships, I managed to secure some work experience with the fashion department of Closer Magazine this winter. The majority of my summer was spent getting some experience with a London-based magazine called Amor and doing a small publishing course. After having written a multitude of covering letters and making endless phone calls to editors in an attempt to persuade them to take me on board for a couple of weeks, albeit through means that at times seemed to border on harassment.
My first couple of days was spent in the fashion cupboard with another intern, sorting out samples that were to be sent back and organising jewellery and shoes. Eager to impress on our first day we had cleared out most of the cupboard, much to the dismay of the disgruntled man in the post office, on the ground floor of Endeavour House, whose job it was to record parcels and send them off and whose work load we had just increased by filling his office with the contents of the fashion cupboard.
Apart from taking over at the fashion desk during photo shoots to make sure that all phone calls were answered, emailing and calling PR agents for high resolution images of samples, transcribing an interview with Stephanie Pratt (and watching her be interviewed while eating my lunch opposite the Heat studio), compiling images and doing research on celebrity beauty secrets, the majority of my time was spent checking in items of clothing that arrived for photo shoots. Apart from giving me a strong urge to indulge in some retail therapy, it was a task that became quite monotonous and the only excitement it caused was when I had accidentally booked in one of the writers’ Christmas presents that had arrived with the rest of the fashion items. She walked in the fashion cupboard the next day to find the scarves that she had gotten her cousins hung up next to the party dresses that would be used in the Christmas photoshoot. Luckily, she saw the funny side to it.
On one of the days, all the sample products sent to the Bauer media magazines were gathered and sold to the staff to raise money for charity. The exorbitant prices of products that students like myself could never dream of buying were, I guess you could say, lowered considerably, with a price range that would make any woman crazy as most of the items were going for less than a pound. In fact it did, as the room packed with ladies hoarding as many items as they could before someone else did, reminded me of a frenzied shopping scene from Confessions of a Shopaholic.
I was really grateful for the chance to work alongside the writers and editors of Closer in their busy office and learn about the different roles within magazine publishing. It seems that so many of the members of the team remember being in my position as an aspiring journalist and were happy to share their tips for success with me. Most of all I realized how much hard work and effort these people put into each issue of the magazine, with very busy 9-6 agendas.
At the end of the work experience I was really touched when we were handed two big goody bags filled with high end cosmetic products and makeup, books and sweets. It was a really positive and motivating experience overall and I am thankful to Closer for getting me one step closer to my dream job. And to all of my fellow students still waiting to hear from the 87 publications you have applied to, my message to you is: hound them (within reason) until they cave!
Words: Yashi Banymadhub
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham