When I first entered college, many, many moons ago, I was a young 18-year-old girl with big dreams of working in entertainment. I did not care what form of entertainment it was, whether it was writing about the Oscars or being in the control room of a syndicated ABC talk show. Whatever it was, I knew I wanted to be there.
However, things change and in college they change quickly. I began to change my mind, maybe I wanted to try something else. I struggled my first two years of college figuring out what to do or where to go.
In July of 2014 I got a call from one of my very good friends back home when she was in Greece. Yes, Greece. She told me she met a woman in a bar who lives in New York and is the fashion director for a website called HollywoodLife.com. My friend talked me up and gave her a quick rundown of the projects I was working on and she liked what she heard. She gave my friend her card and told her to have me give her a call. The connection that was made worlds away was almost too good to be true.
By the fall of my junior year I was officially the fashion intern at HollywoodLife.com. For those who are not familiar with the website, it is a tabloid that is aimed to the late teenage and early twenties market. I was writing numerous articles a day about the cat ears Ariana Grande was wearing at her latest concert and how our readers could attain Hilary Duff’s laid back look at a bagel shop that morning with the clothes they already have in their closet. I had no business giving fashion advice, I wear a black shirt and jeans almost everyday of my life. Also, I am a firm believer that no one over the age of 5 should be prancing around in cat ears on stage. I was quickly finding that the world of entertainment writing, especially fashion, was not a world I enjoyed and it was extremely disappointing.
While at HollywoodLife.com I was able to have an opportunity to interview Bethanny Frankel at a Nike event in Soho. She was very nice and I stumbled a few times but it was still a great experience. Another project while working there was watching “Project Runway” every week and writing a recap of the episode. This brought me so much joy to write about television and people were actually reading it every week. One week my recap was the number one trending article of the day on the website and when the winner of that season was announced I got to cover that story.
After my time at HollywoodLife.com ended I had a very jaded view of the entertainment industry. I took some time to figure out my next move and decided that I wanted to go back to television. I applied for numerous summer internships and sadly received nothing. Not one phone call, not one email.
When I returned to school in the fall I met with my advisor and told her how I have no direction and have no idea what to do. It was my senior year and I was still searching for that ‘ah ha!’ moment. That was when she asked me, “Have you ever thought of children’s books?”
When I told my parents I was thinking about working in children’s books they just laughed. I was never one for reading and I have a very average view of children. However, at this point I knew I needed to take a step back and completely switch gears. A clean slate if you will.
I took the contact that I was given and sold myself over emails. I sent email, after email after email to the same person and was not getting anything back. I was assured that I would get an answer but I never like the feeling of bothering someone. People are busy, they do not need me flooding their inbox. I was beginning to lose hope, but my persistence paid off. By the end of the semester I received an email. I had an interview at Scholastic books.
I started my internship in the publicity department at Scholastic books in January and since then, I have been working alongside the people who created the book tours and press for books such as “The Hunger Games,” “Goosebumps,” “The Marvels,” and of course a little book series called “Harry Potter.” I was given the opportunity to write press releases for books, sit in on creative meetings, go to author lunches, send out numerous books to reviewers and so much more. I enjoy going to my internship three days a week and look forward to what I will be doing. I have met so many great people and have learned so much from them. While the verdict is still out on what I will be doing once I graduate it is safe to say that the world of children’s books is one that I will be looking to stay in.
My advice to anyone who is struggling with what direction they should go in I will tell you not to stress. Everything always has a funny and weird way of working out. Always create connections wherever you go, the industry is all about who you know. It took me a very long time to realize that. Always feel challenged in your internship and if you don’t then you are in the wrong place. You should never feel like you are standing still, you should always feel like you are growing in your job whatever it may be.
Finally, to the future generation of Jasper interns, you will end up where you are supposed to be. It just takes a little bit of time.