The power of print media is in the texts, images and iconographies leaping off its pages. I recall looking at magazines as a young girl, processing what I thought were the fabulous lives of not only the contributors and featured personalities, but also the people behind the whole publication.
Watching movies like 13 Going on 30, The Devil Wears Prada and just recently, The Carrie Diaries, painted a pretty picture for me. One day, a self-declaration filled my room, I promised to be like the women I saw in those movies. I would work for a magazine.
True enough, a decade later, I find myself working in a publication. Getting a job offer made me immensely giddy. I managed to land a position as an editorial assistant for a publication. Cliché as it sounds, I got the job of my dreams! But a few more months down the road before I spend my first year anniversary, I realized my job and I aren’t always the best of friends.
“Slave, slave, slave”
In any movie where there is an intern, there is usually that cliché scene wherein the character is seen struggling carrying boxes or coffee to the office. That’s usually me once a month, not necessarily the coffee.
If there are props that need to be pulled out, I do the heavy lifting. If a model wants black coffee, I accommodate the request.
A fashion shoot doesn’t mean sitting-pretty during a shoot. Aside from the leg work, there are the obvious struggles: constant revisions and corrections, trying to find the right writing tone of the magazine but staying true to yourself as a writer. Sometimes, this includes impossible client requests, dealing with different people and the not-so-fun game of syncing the featured person, makeup artist and stylist and photographer’s schedules.
I certainly can attest to the fact that MassCom is not “mas komportable”. As one of my interviewees clearly put it, “so basically, right now for you, [the job is] practically slave, slave, slave?” Glamour is in front of the camera. Behind it is a team of people busy with their respective duties, not necessarily looking as glamorous.
I was hit quite hard with the fact that when I stepped into reality, I wouldn’t be the best. At first, for someone like me who finally found my voice and passion during college, I was riddled with intimidation.
I confess that intimidation took control of me that soon developed into fear. But through the months that I continued to pray about my passion and work, I found renewed strength. I am also lucky that my boss gives me opportunities to have creative input.
But it’s not all roses. There are still times when I would receive criticism and corrections for my written work. I even remember an instance when my story was pulled out. Water works at home erupted. But I’ve come to realize that everyone learns. Even my boss would receive corrections from his boss from time to time. Because work is all about learning and re-learning. The learning should never ever end.
When I stepped into the publication, I had no idea about the daily grind of a glossy. I had to learn everything by experience, from budgeting, contacting, managing time and schedules, and most especially writing. I had to read and study the writers, the appeal and image of the magazine I’m holding, and I’m still getting a hang of it until today.
I still encounter better writers and intimidating bosses, but I’m glad that as early as now, I have realized that I don’t need to be the best. I just need to be the best version of myself. Because as a writer, I have a unique voice. There’s no need to compare to anyone else. You set a better standard for yourself and try your best to improve, day by day.
Despite deadlines, and quite a harsh reality check, I decided to stay in my job because of a valid and important reason. I remember having conversations with a blockmate from college, who is also a fellow editorial assistant. She was gushing over the fact that even though the job is stressful, we couldn’t see ourselves anywhere else.
We’ve always had dreams of writing for a publication or being an author during college, and now we’ve taken our first baby step.
Ultimately, when I see a shoot coming together, it gives me the chills. The first time I was able to pull off a fashion shoot, wherein my boss completely trusted me with the pegs, choice of photographer, stylist, makeup artist, hair stylist and model, it felt phenomenal.
I saw my pegs and vision come to life and I was able to translate it with the guidance of a very considerate and supportive team. Whenever I interview personalities or admirable people for an article, I feel honored to encounter such passionate and determined people in their respective fields. I learn so much from these experts and their successes. These are things that I wouldn’t trade.
I started out excited about working for a magazine because of the glamour and the gloss that attracted me to it in the first place. But being here, experiencing its hardships and seeing its not-so glamorous side, I found deeper reasons to love it even more. Because working for a publication has given me the opportunity to see my potential and how far I can go. It doesn’t change the fact that the job is a constant challenge and source of stress, but that’s what makes it worth it. To quote Anna Quindlen, “if your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world, but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
Disclaimer: Photos from fashionweekdaily.com, pinterest and digitalspy.co.uk.