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Kissin’ Ass and Takin’ Names

Magazine interns sound off

By Afton Ginlock

“Was your internship a learning experience or exploitation?”

Anna Christina Cosby, 21
Lucky, paid
“The whole experience was exhilarating and made me realize that working for a magazine is exactly what I want to do.”

Aja Johnson, 21
CosmoGIRL!, unpaid
“My experience at Hearst Tower was one I will never forget. It was the most exciting, educational, eye-opening, reckless, rawest time of my little 21-year-old life…It really solidified that this is my passion, this is something I believe in doing and I won’t stop fighting until I get it.”

Joseph Lamour, 24
The Liberator, unpaid
“The internship allows you to meet/talk with so many different people, and it gets my artwork to quite a broad audience. An internship is like a free crash course in a trade.”

Aïcha Diop, 23
Blackbook, unpaid
“My internship has added benefits: Not only am I completely immersed in the world of publishing, but I also help create events from the ground up.”

Maniezheh Firouzi, 22
City and Lucky, unpaid
City is small and independent; Lucky is owned by Condé Nast. I feel I wouldn’t have had an accurate view of publishing if I had only interned at one magazine.”

Jacqueline Bartolomeo, 19
Avenue, unpaid
“Coffee-fetching and doing monotonous tasks comes with the territory of being an intern and in that respect, I believe every intern is exploited at one time or another. One must prove herself to gain trust, acceptance and the privilege to work on jobs that are fun and rewarding.”

Julie Vadnal, 23
Esquire, paid
“The experience was like going to work for my older brothers—the ones who tease you for your fashion choices, call you ‘dude’ and give you bunny ears in pictures. But at the same time, they’re the ones you admire—the brothers you want to be like when you grow up.”

Taylor Harris, 21
Cosmopolitan, unpaid
“Most of the other interns in the fashion department were ‘must-hires,’ meaning they acquired the internship through the help of a friend. These interns made it abundantly clear that this was not a vocation that interested them. They complained about having to run trivial errands; I viewed these tasks as a rite of passage.”

Alec Mouhibian, 23
anonymous magazine, paid
“Location is everything when it comes to internships, and I would recommend focusing on whether you’re interning where you’d want to be in the future—that’s more important than what your internship entails. In other words, it’s better to spit-polish David Remnick’s loafers than do feature stories for The Boonie Gazette. Remnick will never read an issue of The Boonie, but I’m sure he looks at his shoes all the time—and whenever he steps on a piece of gum, he’ll think of you. The path to a ‘Shouts & Murmurs’ clip couldn’t be clearer.”


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