Aimee Grant Cumberbatch reveals what it is really like to work for fashion’s most coveted magazine, Vogue
Lectures on cerulean blue, coffee runs at the crack of dawn, a designer-clad Ice Queen for a boss. This is the image that most pops into most people’s heads when you say Vogue internship. “What designer freebies did you get?”, they ask, “Did you sit front row and go to loads of cool parties?”, “Are you mates with Emmanuelle Alt now?”… I’d love to tell you they escorted me straight to the Vogue wardrobe on day one and kitted me out in designer clobber but the reality of my internship at the Vogue Paris website was quite a bit less glam, but a lot more interesting and inspiring.
What is a day in the life of a Vogue intern really like then? Well I worked as an editorial translation for the international version of vogue.fr, the website of Vogue Paris. So from the outside, much like your average office job. I sat behind a computer at a desk and I even had my own mug, though I never managed to convert my french colleagues from black coffee to tea with milk and two. Most of my days were spent translating articles from the French site for use on the English language international version. Which I then loaded up onto the website before promoting them on Facebook and Twitter with as many puns and as much alliteration as I could possibly cram into 140 characters.
My first day at Vogue.fr was probably the scariest of my life. I’d moved to Paris only the day before and spent the whole night inventing scenarios in which my boss-to-be banished me from the building because I didn’t have a designer bag/wasn’t wearing the right kind of shoes/she hadn’t meant to hire a dweeb with a dodgy fringe. Imagine the first day at a new school where nobody’s given you the uniform list so you have no choice but to go in your pyjamas and you’ll have half the idea of the fear I was feeling. When big day did eventually roll round I was shocked to find that not only was my boss nice, but in the seriously smart outfit that I’d agonised over, I was ever so slightly overdressed. The office uniform was pretty much just jeans and a top. When they say the French are all about understated elegance, they aren’t lying, it’s all crisp shirts, immaculate cuts and je ne sais chic.
As for events, I was lucky enough to go to a presentation of some of the London Fashion Week SS14 collections with my brilliant boss and a fashion show during PFW, to which I took my mum, very cool I know. I also attended a private party for the far-to-cool-for-me French label Maison Kitsuné on a terrace over looking the Seine. After a few hours of I-have-nothing-to-wear hyperventilation, me and my friend Sophie from work arrived and were ushered past the queue (a definite high point of my sad little life) before spending the rest of the evening messily eating burgers from the food truck in the corner. So not Vogue.
In terms of freebies, unless you count felt tips from the stationery cupboard, I didn’t get many, sometimes we were offered what the more senior journalists don’t want, but you had to get in quick! One of the things I loved most about the internship was the variety, I live tweeted Vogue Fashion Night until the early hours of the morning, my knowledge of French words for luxury items is excellent (as is weirdly my precious skins vocab…), and they even let me run the show for three weeks, ok it was an emergency situation, but it’s still probably my proudest achievement to date. I absolutely loved my time at vogue.fr and though I still find it hard to believe they even let me in the building, I’m so grateful they did.