Sunday, 23 August 2009

Week 3 at Cosmopolitan

I can’t believe how quickly 3 weeks have gone. Only five more days and I will be saying a sad good bye to the Cosmo fashion team, and dragging my suitcase out of the National Magazine House. I will miss getting the tube to work each morning, I will miss walking down Carnaby Street in the sunshine, I will miss the people here. I know to them I am just another intern, but I feel so indebted to them for giving me this opportunity and have grown fond of everyone here so will never forget them. I think the thing I have perhaps loved most of all over the past 3 weeks has been feeling part of it all; I have been inside the walls of one of Britain’s most famous magazines and part of a team. The fashion department here have such power, but they are still such normal, nice people. I am very aware that I have been extremely lucky - I am sure not all magazines are like this.

Another unusual thing for a fashion magazine - the office always smells of cake. People bring in cupcakes, battenburg and croissants which they sell each day to raise money for charity. There is also the infamous ‘light box’. There is a light box on one side of the office upon which people place things that are free to take. Unwanted beauty products that have been sent in to the magazine, chocolate brownies, maltesers... This week it has been covered in a shower of Kinder Buenos. I have never seen so many before in my life, and wonder whether someone won a lifetime’s supply but became so sick of them they donated the rest to the office.

One day this week as I was leaving for lunch I passed a crowd of smiling women at the leather sofas (which are used for informal meetings and charity sales of unwanted books and jewellery). They were holding a baby shower for someone who is soon to go on maternity leave. Everyone was laughing and eating mini jam tarts. Despite the abundance of cake the people who work here look dazzlingly healthy. I think it just proves that happiness and cake are much better for you than a diet of celery sticks and carrot juice.

Everything happens at such speed here, but in a quiet, efficient way. Without me really noticing the outfits for the Christmas edition had all been chosen, sorted and sent off to the studio to be photographed. Before I knew it I was packaging and returning bags and bags of shoes and party dresses. One day this week my desk became a pop-up jewellery shop, sparkling necklaces and bracelets laid out in every available space as I sorted through the jewellery that needed to be returned. As we return the jewellery we have to photocopy it all. One copy gets sent to the shop or PR company so they can check everything has been returned, and one copy is filed here. I walked to and from the photocopier, necklaces hanging from my neck and jangling on my arms. One necklace I photocopy costs £1000, an absurd amount of money in my opinion for a necklace that looks identical to one you could get at Topshop. I am pleased that the fashion team are of the same opinion; it isn’t elitist here and that is why I love the atmosphere so much. Saying that, last week I did return a £700 dress that was photographed for one of the issues. But it was entirely covered in gold metal sequins and was so beautiful that I didn’t feel at all hypocritical for falling in love with it.

On Wednesday this week it was just one of the fashion assistant and me in the fashion department. The fashion director is away on holiday, and the others were at a photo shoot, including Alison (the other intern). This was her last week so she was allowed to go along to the photo shoot - hopefully I might get to do the same thing next week. It was quiet in the office, and I had finished my jobs so spent most of the day answering the phone and taking messages. The quiet was good though as it gave me the chance to talk to the fashion assistant. She gave me some really useful advice and I left the office with lots of ideas about work experience to aim to get next summer. I can tell now it is going to be a busy summer between exams and (hopefully) starting university. I want to get as much work experience as possible, but also have an aim of going to France and becoming fluent in French. Hmm. But I keep telling myself that my problem really isn’t a problem - having too many plans and aims is so much better than not knowing what to do with my life.

Friday was Alison’s last day, and it will be so strange without her next week. A new intern will be starting, and I hope she will be nice, but it’s still not the same. I have so enjoyed having someone to talk to and go to lunch with for the past 3 weeks, and am so lucky that I got on so well with that someone. In a way it is a lot about routine as well. I have got so used to seeing her that it will be strange not to have her around, just like it will be strange to leave here at the end of next week.

A reminder of school came this week when I got my AS results. My mum went in to collect them for me, and I had planned on waiting to open them myself, but ended up asking her to open them for me and text me my results. I did well and was obviously thrilled, but in a way it didn’t really feel like the results were mine. This summer has been such a huge learning curve for me - I have been basically working 9 till 5 for 5 weeks - so I feel a completely different person to the girl who revised and sat her AS exams. That is why going back to school will be so strange. At times I have found the work experience overwhelming; there are no school bells to tell you where to be, and I don’t get to go home at 3:40, but it is real life, and every part of it has been an exciting new experience. And perhaps above all, I have enjoyed it so much. But then, I have been at school for 12 years already, so one more can hardly hurt.

At the end of the day on Friday I got the train straight to Kew Gardens where my mum was having the launch of her fifth book. It was a lovely evening; I felt so proud and was surrounded by friends and family. This at the end of a week working at Cosmopolitan and I felt fit to burst. I had to work the next day and at about 3 o'clock the last 3 weeks hit me and I felt dizzy with tiredness, but after a weekend at home I now feel ready for the big city again. Last week I changed homes and have been staying with a lovely family in Finchley. It makes the commute in to work longer, but it also feels nice to be staying with a family; it makes the homesickness for my own less.

I already know that next week will go too quickly, and that before I know it I will be on my way home again, but I just have to try and enjoy and make the most of it. Because that is what a Cosmo girl would do.



  1. Enjoy your last week, and make that new intern welcome and let her in on all the little tips and tricks you were told in your first week....sometimes it's nice to be the 'old hand' and help the 'newbie' along!!.

    It's been lovely to hear about your time at Cosmo. Thank you.

    Sue xx

  2. Thanks Sue! And the new intern started today and is really lovely - I am trying to make her as welcome as I was made in my first week. I think I'm going to miss her too when I leave at the end of this week!!

    :D Libby