Here's How I Landed My Dream Job Right Out of College

I was one of those kids who went around telling anyone who’d listen about my life goals. At 6, I said I’d be a marine biologist. By 10, I was going to be on the Harvard women’s swim team. When I was 14, I was convinced that I had to attend Parsons or FIT to study fashion design. I always had a plan (whether or not I knew how to get where I wanted to go).

Given my early interest in fashion, you might think my ending up in my current role at Who What Wear was inevitable, but it actually wasn’t until much later that I really found my path. I have to hand it to my parents, though: Without fail, they entertained every single one of my interests, signing me up for swim lessons at first and enrolling me in drawing classes when the swim team didn’t work out. I changed interests often, but my determination never wavered.

Once I finally narrowed in on the exact career I was after, I stayed laser-focused. Between double-majoring in (shocker) not fashion but art history and Italian, completing 10 internships, working countless jobs, and taking a semester off to go backpacking in Asia (this last part was really important, I promise), I landed my dream job at Who What Wear. Maybe it’s cheesy, but I like to think that every step of my unconventional path here was worth it in the end.

It all began with a Nikon camera and a CollegeFashionista byline…

I arrived at UCLA from my small Ohio town bright-eyed and idealistic. I thought I was going to major in environmental science and save the world from climate change. I laugh at that thought now, not because I don’t want to save the world but because I was so optimistic.

At that point, I was craving a creative outlet outside my classes, so when a friend from my sorority mentioned she worked for a then-unknown site called CollegeFashionista, I was all ears. She told me about going around campus interviewing and photographing stylish students.

I applied for CF on the spot and spent my meager savings on a Nikon DSLR camera. I began contributing weekly as a “style guru” and quickly got the hang of writing about the outfits and trends I was spotting.

My first summer interning in NYC part-time at CollegeFashionista and part-time at Michael Kors. The interns at the CF offices were the best crew I could’ve asked for.

CollegeFashionista became so much more than an internship. I worked with the CF team remotely and IRL when I interned in its NYC offices one summer. I wrote and photographed for the site, worked with their marketing department and as a “social media guru.”

I learned so much from Amy and Melissa Levin about the ins and outs of the industry, and every type of position I could pursue within it. Since then, I’ve loved seeing CF grow, watching it becoming part of Clique Brands in 2015 and transforming into the media brand it is today.

If I couldn't study fashion, I decided I'd educate myself instead.

In 2015 and 2016, I took part in the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, a scholarship slash mentorship program for college students who want to work in fashion. Here I am at the first annual gala held at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC.

Up against fashion design students from Parsons and business students from Wharton, I submitted my 10-page case study for the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. As a liberal arts student from a school that barely offers business classes, I never expected to win the award, yet there I was, standing in a room with executives from every major retailer and big-box brand in New York. I remember shaking hands with the CEO of Macy’s and forcing myself to network despite being so nervous.

Though the program catered more toward a career in merchandising and marketing rather than editorial, I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity I could. Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I couldn’t prep myself for a fashion career in school, I’d DIY my fashion education. That meant making certain sacrifices like giving up a school trip to Vegas and taking my final exams weeks early so I could be in NYC to start yet another summer of internships.

I built up a community at my school.

I even tried my hand at designing. Here I am lacing up a corset on one of my models at UCLA’s student-run fashion show.

At CollegeFashionista, I learned marketing skills. At Michael Kors, I learned to copywrite. I tried internships in public relations, social media, and even design production—anything to get my hands dirty and learn about every facet of the industry I set my sights on. I’m grateful I was able to do so many unpaid internships, but I also felt compelled to build a community right there on campus.

I led UCLA’s first-ever digital fashion magazine, Denizen, brought in alumni from nearby companies like Revolve and The Zoe Report to speak on panels, and even tried my hand at designing in my school’s student-run fashion show. I had important takeaways and a few lightbulb moments from each of those experiences. I learned that maybe marketing and PR weren’t exactly the roles for me. But I also realized that writing and curating—two things I’m most passionate about—are two of my greatest strengths.

By my senior year, I had completed 10 internships and had a resumé that bled onto almost three pages. Suddenly my classes were getting in the way of what I actually wanted to do, and I felt more than ready to start working full-time.

For me, graduating from college meant pursuing full-time something I had been working part-time at already for years.

I unplugged to refocus.

Six months before I was set to graduate, I was done with all my classes and had no reason to stick around at school. Instead of graduating early, though, I decided to embark on a backpacking trip to live that postgrad “I don’t know what I want to do yet” life. Except I actually knew exactly what I wanted to do… For the past three and a half years, I had bitten off way more than I could chew between work and school, so this was my way of letting go and hitting reset before getting back on my laser-focused career path. Two months of unplugging in Southeast Asia was just as much fun as you’d expect. I came back with more clarity than ever, and I basically hit the ground running as far as my job search went.

Here I am manifesting my dream job right here in L.A.

At Who What Wear, I’m more creative with my outfits, and getting to discover up-and-coming brands is one of my favorite aspects of what I do now.

I wasn’t quite ready to leave L.A., despite the fact that most fashion publications are based out of New York. I knew there had to be a way to pursue editorial right here; I just didn’t know what that opportunity looked like—yet. I’d been a longtime reader of Who What Wear and Clique’s former brand Obsessee, and continued to be close with the CollegeFashionista family, so I stalked Clique’s career page on the daily, sent out a ton of cold emails, and followed a number of Clique editors on Instagram. Finally a Who What Wear editor role opened up in L.A., and my former CollegeFashionista bosses connected me. (Amy and Melissa, you’re both superstars.) After a series of phone calls and interviews, I accepted a role as Who What Wear’s assistant editor.

My fellow Who What Wear editors constantly keep me inspired.

After a year at Who What Wear, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve “made it” in fashion. I’m only at the beginning of a (hopefully) long career in editing, but I’m grateful to be where I’m at. My amazing fellow editors constantly inspire me to grow as a writer, and I’m grateful to have each of them to bounce ideas off of and learn from.

A final takeaway: Even if you have no idea what you want to do, following what you’re passionate about will never lead you wrong. I knew writing and editing were my first loves, but testing out so many different roles helped me discover where my strengths lie. It’s so important to try everything at least once. Search for every opportunity you can, and above all, make connections with the people you meet along the way. (I couldn’t have landed by job without those people!)

Shop my current buys:

I never leave the house without this bag.

I’m looking to layer anything and everything with this mesh top for fall.

I can never say no to classic straight-leg jeans.

This cult-favorite shoe brand low-key makes the best ankle boots.

This art-inspired necklace garners so many compliments.

Aiming to wear this every day of winter.

Available in sizes XS to M.

I’m already building outfits with this skirt and those By Far boots.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

This delicate pouch is too cute to pass up.

I’m convinced my life will be improved with the addition of these cool-as-hell zip-through jeans.

My new favorite going-out dress.

Available in sizes XS to L.

These sandals bring out the minimalist in me.

Here’s how I’m approaching the croc-effect trend for fall.

I’m building up my ring stack and adding this sculptural piece into the mix.

Next up: how editors Lauren and Kristen landed their jobs at Who What Wear.