By Demi Manglona & Giovanna Brasolin
We shuffled out of the plane bundled in our light winter-wear, but we were all unprepared for the rainy New York weather.
After an hour long shuttle ride to Manhattan, we settled down in our vintage-style rooms and thought of places to go and people to see. None of us had stayed in New York for longer than a night with the exception of Giovanna, so everyone was excited to get lost in Times Square. Amazingly enough, we only got lost once trying to get there.
After visiting M&M World and relishing in the billboard lights, it was time to take the subway home. The clink of the tracks and the songs of street performers echoed through the metro station. Three stops later, we emerged from underground while talking about the plans ahead.
The next morning, bagels were calling our name. It was the first official day of our fashion tour, and we needed to start our day the right way with a cheese cream filled breakfast to prepare us for meetings with reporters and fashion studios.
Even after swiping away at our subway cards, we weren’t expecting to swipe visitor access keys to high-security corporate buildings. Once the front desk scanned our faces, we rode the elevator up to the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange where the first online-only news outlet, Cheddar, films its live broadcasts. We met with senior reporter Alex Heath, who showed us the bright control rooms and bustling editing corners.
“There’s so much that the city has to offer if you want a career in media,” said Heath.
Today was our marquee event: meeting public relations managers and a senior reporter at InStyle Magazine, where we learned that connections and communication are the key to succeeding in the field. We spoke to three publicity managers who direct InStyle social media pages and interact with celebrity talent. The deputy editor, Laura Norkin, told us a story about the success of a college student’s coverage of Lady Gaga’s Golden Globes acceptance speech. An undeniable passionate energy filled the room when these women described their journey to one of the top fashion news outlets in America. They embodied “the city that never sleeps.”
The second day of meetings began with our encounter with Rebecca Patton, TV writer for The Bustle. We met her at a coffee shop by her apartment in Queens. She told us how hard it is to maintain yourself in an expensive city like New York. Though The Bustle is her priority, maintaining multiple side jobs help her sustain a stable lifestyle. For someone who specializes in writing arts and entertainment content, it is reassuring to see someone like Rebecca Patton making a living off of pop culture reporting.
For lunch, we met Jordana Guimaraes, a Egyptian-Brazilian who created Fashinnovation, a company that brings fashion and business together. Guimaraes also wrote a book titled It Can Be You, which tells the story of influencers and homeless people around NYC. Guimaraes is creating a project in which college students will write articles for Fashinnovation and she wants the University of Tampa’s students to be involved with it.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the group of Journalism majors from the University of Tampa,” said Guimaraes. ”Seeing their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge and experience opportunities, in our time together in NYC. Speaking with them about my endeavors, but I walked away extremely inspired by them. It was truly amazing and I can’t wait to see what we can develop together.”
The third day of meetings was dedicated to the New York-based influencer Carly Heitlinger from Carly The Prepster. Heitlinger told about the perks of being Instagram-famous, including some of the perils of it — like having a stalker. However, she said that her main priority as far as professional life goes is her blog, Carly The Prepster.
“Even though the internet has brought fashion to all parts of the world and people aren’t just limited to New York for fashion,” said Heitlinger. “It’s still largely at the heart of it. New York is where all types of fashion converge and are born.”
Heitlinger said she was happy to have been involved in the trip because she thinks influencers are playing more of a role in both ends of fashion: setting trends and promoting existing brands. She added that when she was a student she was always grateful to hear from people in the “real world” and learn more about their careers.
On the last day of meetings we went to Brooklyn for a lunch with UT alumnus, Kelly Smith, a financial journalist who writes for Bank Rate. Financial issues are a large part of the business world, and Smith finds the faces hiding behind the negative effects. Some of us don’t really understand finances, so getting insights from someone that works with it was very interesting to say the least.
As our trip wound down we made one last trip to Times Square. The next morning, we said our goodbyes to the city, but all of us were eager to sleep in our own beds again. The New York fashion journalism tour opened our eyes to the hustle. Everyone we met showed us that passion and determination can lead a young graduate onto a rigorous and rewarding path. It’s one thing to learn about journalism and write articles for school, but it’s completely different meeting actual professionals and understanding how it’s done in the “real world.”
Demi Manglona can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Giovanna Brasolin can be reached at email@example.com