Keep on wearing that big smile of yours

This is an article by Charlotte Giver.
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Time flies like a little bluebird and I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I started my internship at Red Light PR in Hollywood. I don’t know about you but before working in fashion PR, my knowledge of what it’s actually like to work in the fashion industry was as small as Victoria Beckham’s forearm.

Charlotte Giver living it up in LA

It is funny how I ended up working in the industry. Once upon a time, I was one of those people that thought that anyone involved in the fashion industry was shallow and superficial. At the same time though, I was wearing the latest designers and rocking my studded stilettos.

However, it was not until one of my friends over in the US introduced me to the world of fashion and entertainment PR by giving me the contact information to a well-known PR agency in Los Angeles that I actually fell in love with the profession. At the time, I was in the process of landing an internship for my third year of university; also known as the placement year (I don’t believe you can graduate without any work experience listed in CV…)

After a skype-interview (gotta love the new technology!) I got the internship and arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in June 2011, wearing a sundress, straw-hat and a big smile on my lips.

So how was it like to work in one of the most dynamic professions, in one of the world’s most dynamic cities?

Footsore and fancy free

I can only speak for fashion PR but interning in America is often unpaid and working in fashion is pretty much a slave job!  If you have watched Andy Sachs in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, you know what I am talking about. My feet went on strike after the first two weeks. All of the running around to Starbucks, Staples, FedEx, Copymat and the newsstand, I wanted to pretend that heels did not exist.

It didn’t matter how many shoes I got to pick out of the shoe-closet as a reward for my hard work, my feet refused to step into any shoe with a heel. But do you know what? It was all worth it!

Yes, all of that running around was exactly what I needed in order to do to prove just how much I wanted to do a good job at Red Light PR. I learned that what might be seen as a hierarchy will only work in your advantage! Unpaid or not, you are working yourself up! And a little PR101: don’t whine!

By knowing exactly how to work the word reputation management in the world of PR, you will make yourself, your boss and your company look good. I am talking about keeping a good relationship with the clients, stylists, editors and entertainment managers.

Keep on wearing that big smile of yours and with a little hard work, blood, sweat and tears, your internship will pay off!

Loving my job

As I slowly started to imagine my life in flats, working at Red Light PR was like a dream come true. Even if this was not Vogue (I have always dreamt of working at a US publication), people at Vogue most definitely knew about Red Light and so did my friends over in New York, as they congratulated me on what they thought was an amazing internship – and it was! I learned everything there is to know about the magazine industry and I was constantly working with stylists, editors and publicists. Surrounded by fabulous clothes, motivated people and great colleagues, I could not help loving my job!

As invitations to movie premiers, sample sales, designer exhibitions and red carpet events were taking up the space of my inbox, I started to realize just how incredible the world of public relations really is.

Needless to say, as an intern, it is very important to create a good relationship with your boss, manager and colleagues. The first day of my internship, I went around the office and introduced myself. I got along great with the other interns and spent a lot of time with them after work and during the weekends. When I was assigned to the Fashion Director and the Account Executive of the women’s department, I made sure that I went to see them every morning in order to show interest and create a good relationship. I asked them if they wanted some coffee, if there was anything in particular that they needed me to do and how the day looked like.

My year of internship has now come to and end but if I could, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! Yes, it has been a whirlwind at times and working unpaid for an entire year is something many people think is insane. But I tell you one thing: the people I have met, the places I’ve seen and everything that I have learned and experienced make it all worthwhile!

I mean, hey, I even lived in the same apartment complex as Heidi Montag and Lauren Conrad in the first episodes of the Hills!

Charlotte Giver is a final year student at Bournemouth University


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