Lorraine's Blog: Supermodels and Interns

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley popped in to see me today

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(Jacket by Paul Smith, trousers by Joseph and shoes by Prada)

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She was wearing the Theyskens’ Theory metallic blazer we’ve all been lusting after at ELLE and tight leather trousers, she breezed through the office brightening up a grey day in Soho. I love Rosie and have known her since I first started at ELLE eight years ago, so she always pops in when she’s in London. She’s a bright girl, full of ideas, and has a million projects on the go at any one time.

I felt like a rather plain daisy next to a glorious rose as she chatted away. After Rosie had left, I filmed an interview for Channel 4 about recruiting interns. What do I look for they asked? It struck me you may want to know, too. So listen up would-be editor-in-chiefs:

  • Have passion and enthusiasm. If you want to intern at ELLE, you need to love every aspect of fashion and be prepared to work hard. This means doing the not-so-good bits alongside the very exciting ones. An ELLE intern who works in our fashion department is likely to go on a cover shoot in LA, but she’s also going to spend a week in our fashion cupboard returning all the clothes called in for a shoot to press agencies and designers.

  • Keep your feet on the ground. This is not a fictional world like Ugly Betty or The Devil Wears Prada. This is a business like any other, we have hundreds of pages to fill each month, so we need people who will make that possible.

  • There is a time and a place to ask for an internship. Twitter, for example, is not the place to ask. Email a letter and explain why I would choose you over other candidates. Keep it short and to the point.

  • Be specific about what department you want to work in and what you’ll bring to the table. Simply saying: ‘I have a month to fill with work experience, can I come to you?’ does not impress an editor.

  • Don’t apply to intern at businesses that you don’t love dearly – you’ll get bored and not give the best impression of yourself.

  • Intern across a business you’re interested in. You never know, you may want to be a fashion assistant but, actually, excel in the magazine’s marketing department.

  • Be persistent and say yes to everything, go that one step further. You don’t have to be a big personality, but if you’re the intern that does the coffee run and comes up with a brilliant new system of storing things in the fashion cupboard you’ll be remembered.

  • Be polite. Always.

  • Be patient and think ahead. You won’t reach the top immediately, but you will get there quicker if you are a joy to work with and you react well to everything that is going on around you. Never be afraid of putting ideas forward in a measured and intelligent way.

I started as an intern on a local newspaper when it was my dream to be a journalist and eventually edit magazines. And I now employ a team of interns, all of whom have a valid voice in the creation of this magazine. I told the film crew today, much to their surprise, that I learn as much from those below me, interns especially, as I do from those more experienced above me. Every generation of young people brings a new outlook to a publication like ELLE and I welcome that.

Moodboards: the fashion team use many moodboards to illustrate our biannual a/w fashion trends presentation, which we give to everyone who works on ELLE. This presentation – about what you will all be wearing for the new season – forms the backbone of our planning and strategy meetings at ELLE. These moodboards help us to define our look for the season as a luxury fashion magazine.

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