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WHAT I KNOW NOW—Ariana Marsh, Teen Vogue

Going to college in The Big Apple definitely has it’s advantages. For this former NYU Style Guru, Ariana Marsh, it allowed her the chance to intern, intern, intern (did we mention intern?). From Ralph Lauren to Lucky, WWD to W, Ariana racked up not only an impressive resume, but a wealth of knowledge and experience.

She converted all this experience post-grad into an amazing position as the Fashion News Assistant at Teen Vogue. We caught up with Ariana as she dispensed five pearls of wisdom to making it happen in the “real world.”

1. Make the most of your time as an assistant. Don’t be complacent with sitting at a desk and scrolling through Instagram if your direct manager doesn’t have anything for you to do. Approach other departments and see if you can help them out in some way. You’ll be gaining a wider spectrum of work experience and making more contacts!

2. Stay culturally informed. Reading fashion magazines, blogs and websites on a daily basis is imperative for anyone who wants to work in the industry, but keeping up with the art, film, music, décor and general news scenes are incredibly important as well. A bigger knowledge base = more creative, diverse and unique ideas.

3. Reach out to lower-level editors or brand employees. Don’t feel weird or nervous to email assistant-level editors to ask if they’ll meet you for coffee—most of them will say yes without a second thought. This is an excellent way to learn more about the companies or magazines you’re interested in working at, and is also a great way to make connections.

4. Be flexible when it comes to your first job. Getting your foot in the door is the hardest part about working in fashion, so don’t be too picky when it comes to your first job. I’ve always wanted to write but accepted a freelance fashion assistant position at W Magazine—which requires no writing whatsoever—as my first job. I knew it would allow me to  make great connections and work for my dream company, Condé Nast, in some capacity.

5. Be nice, helpful, humble, proactive and positive.