Those lavish, Chanel-stocked 'wardrobe rooms'? Not really a thing.
Ever since I was a wee lass, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I folded scribbled-on A4 pieces of paper in half to make ‘books’ before I even started school, manically wrote essays that were twice as long as they needed to be for my English classes, and attempted fashion blogging for a horrifically cringey portion of my teenage years (all evidence of my atrocious turtleneck-and-crochet-scarf combo has been scoured from the internet, thank you very much). But since starting college, my dream has been honed to working in magazines.
It’s a fantasy firmly rooted in my love of writing but it’s one that’s been frantically fanned by my complete and total worship of chick-flicks and their ultimate cliche – the swanky women’s mag. Hollywood bloody loves the tale of a girl-next-door (FYI I live so far out in the country that there technically isn’t anyone for me to be next door to) who stumbles into the glitz and glam of the magazine world, one that guarantees her a leading role in a romantic comedy and eventually sees her navigate the ruthless yet fabulous world of big-city journalism.
When I bagged myself the position of a STELLAR intern, I made it my mission to uncover the truth behind Tinsel Town’s favourite trope. Hence, I present to you a thorough exploration of the myths and facts of life at Ireland’s leading glossy.
Expectation: Editors are evil and co-workers are appearance obsessed social climbers
Reality: Whenever I tell someone I work at a women’s magazine, the first thing I’m asked is whether my editors are resident Miranda Priestleys and the writers are stuck-up snobs. The short answer? Absolutely not. My editors and I spend a somewhat concerning amount of time gabbing about Westlife and while the other journos do have killer style, they’re the friendliest gals I’ve ever met and always up for the craic at lunch.
Expectation: You’ll be flat out necking back champagne in the lavish wardrobe room
Reality: The Bold Type misled me just a little here. Firstly, we don’t have a lavish wardrobe room – we have a rail in the hallway that occasionally house a few jackets used in shoots. Secondly, drinking on the job is just plain unprofessional. Unless there’s bubbly flowing at a lunchtime event…
Expectation: Speaking of clothes, anything used on shoots is yours for the taking
Reality: Stuck for an outfit to slip into for the fancy cocktail party/movie premiere/hot date you’re nipping to after work? Just grab a dress from the wardrobe, why don’t ya! Maybe this is OK if you’re Lauren Conrad, but for regular interns, snatching Chanel from the wardrobe room (see above myth) doesn’t even enter your head.
Expectation: Undercover assignments are standard and always lead to complicated love
Reality: Not quite. I’ve got to interview some pretty cool folk, but they always knew it was me. And none of them were Matthew McConaughey, but if you bump into him, feel free to pass on my number.
Expectation: A pen (or screen) name is a must
Reality: Sure, there’s Dublin Girlo but for most writers your byline is just your regular oul birth name. There wast that time I was logged into another writer’s computer though…
Expectation: Prepare for a meet cute in the building
Reality: Maybe this one is just for sports writers in New York because for me, any conversations with the solicitors who work on the floor below have been three-second small talk seshs in the elevator.
Expectation: You will most definitely be sent on a lengthy trip around the country to profile your favourite band
Reality: While Almost Famous is inspired by Cameron Crowe’s actual life as a journalistic wunderkind, he’s an outlier. Press trips do exist in the industry and they are awesome – I’m talking product launches in London and festivals in Budapest – but I don’t know any writers who’ve been on epic expeditions before sitting their Leaving Cert.
Expectation: You can afford to live in Manhattan by writing one article a week
Reality: In completely non-groundbreaking news, Carrie Bradshaw’s lifestyle is more unrealistic than Anthony and Stanford getting married in Sex And The City 2. While Carrie had the convenient excuse of rent control for most of the series, if you wanted a pad in the Upper East Side, you’d want to be raking in about €575 a column just to cover rent. And writing one article a week? Try 12 a day in the busy periods.
Ok, so maybe you won’t meet the love of your life on day one or ‘borrow’ the outfit Rosie Connolly wore on set, but for an office full of friendly faces and the opportunity to do what you love everyday (and get credited for it), it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. It’s one of the rare occasions when real life is actually better than the movies.