When trying to break into a competitive industry, they say it’s not what you know, but who you know
Sure, connections count. But as we learn in the launch issue of Miss FQ, where we ask six fashion industry insiders how they got their big breaks, a whole lot of hard work goes into scoring your dream job. And as the Miss FQ and Fashion Quarterly teams can attest, a little hustling goes a long way.
Skye Ross, digital editor at MissFQ.co.nz and associate editor at Miss FQ
“Three years ago I decided to chase my Devil Wears Prada-inspired magazine dream by emailing the HR manager at Bauer Media (Miss FQ’s parent company) asking for an internship. I began working one day per week for Home and Your Home & Garden magazines and soon after, I was successful in applying for the editorial assistant role at CLEO. When the CLEO door closed (RIP!), the Miss FQ door opened, and the rest is history. My advice? Good things come to those who hustle – and ask for an internship!
Phoebe Watt, associate editor at Miss FQ, features writer at Fashion Quarterly
“I’d always wanted to be a fashion journalist and Fashion Quarterly was the only New Zealand fashion publication I’d ever wanted to work for, so when it occurred to me a few weeks before handing in my Honours dissertation that I needed to find a job, I didn’t reach out to anyone else. What can I say? Sometimes you’ve got to trust your instincts.* Suspecting that the generic FQ inbox might be a bit of an abyss** I wrote a quick note on my phone requesting editor Sally-Ann Mullin’s contact details, screen-grabbed it, and slid into her Instagram DMs. Sally-Ann shot back her email address, I sent through my CV, and six minutes later she replied with an offer of an internship. It wasn’t a paid position which wasn’t ideal, but two months and one cover story later, it became one. If/when tramp stamps are a thing again, mine will read ‘fortune favours the brave’. In French, obvs.”
*This is terrible advice, you should apply for lots of jobs
**It’s not! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally-Ann Mullin, managing editor at Miss FQ, editor at Fashion Quarterly
“I had been working in the costume department in the film and TV industry for over a decade and although I enjoyed it immensely I was ready for a new challenge. One night I was attending a film premier at a boutique cinema hosted by a cosmetics company. As the guests were in line to enter the theatre, something short circuited and the lights went out delaying the film. The woman in front of me turned behind her and commented on the power cut and then said she liked my Karen Walker trench and lipstick combination. As we waited to see if the power issue could be resolved the woman and I chatted away and after ten or so minutes, when it was clear it would not be resolved, she very kindly asked if I would like to join her and a few others for an impromptu dinner at a Spanish restaurant just up the road. I jumped at the chance to talk to this interesting woman some more and we spent the evening talking and getting to know other. During the course of the night she asked if I would like to bring my print styling portfolio into her office to discuss the possibility of freelancing for her. Did I mention that the woman was Fiona Hawtin, New Zealand fashion media legend and then-editor of Fashion Quarterly?
We met the next week and after showing her my portfolio I did in fact begin to freelance for Fashion Quarterly. Being fashion obsessed, this was a dream opportunity for me and when the opportunity arose a year later, I joined the FQ team as fashion editor. Flash forward four years and I have gone on to become the editor of Fashion Quarterly and the managing editor of Miss FQ. I will always be thankful to Fiona Hawtin for asking a stylish stranger to dinner.”
Kelly McAuliffe, digital editor at FQ.co.nz
“As soon as I landed in London, I made it my mission to nab a job at my dream company, Net-a-Porter. Easier said than done. They get sent thousands upon thousands of CVs – and after applying for six different roles over four years with nary an interview in sight, I almost gave up. Almost. Thankfully, the seventh time was a charm. I knew as soon as I saw the job ad that it was the perfect fit and lucky for me, they must have felt so too as the job became mine! Rejection can be pretty hard to take at times. But being able to pick yourself up and figure out how you can do it differently next time will only serve to give you a tougher skin and better prepare you for the dream role that is coming your way!”
Jess Thomson, editorial and fashion assistant at at Miss FQ and Fashion Quarterly
“Upon leaving three very stressful years of a fashion design degree, I applied for a receptionist position at Bauer Media, Fashion Quarterly’s parent company. I couldn’t think of a better place to start my career in publishing than at such a prestigious company such a Bauer, and reception seemed like a great stepping stone into the business. I got the job but before I even started, the head of HR called me about an editorial assistant role that had just become available at Fashion Quarterly magazine. They thought the position was much better suited to my skill set, I interviewed, got the job and started at FQ less than a week later. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to be working in my dream role!”
Bronwyn Williams, features and beauty editor at Fashion Quarterly
“I had always wanted to write, so at 20 years old I door-knocked at the office of the Dominion Post’s fashion department and managed to score an internship. That swiftly turned into a part time role as a fashion assistant thanks to my incredible boss and mentor Carolyn Enting, and though the salary was tiny it was a total dream to be paid to do what I loved. It was once I was under the hallowed roof of Fairfax that it was relatively easy to prove my worth and begin writing for the newspaper, and then soon afterwards Stuff.co.nz, where I became fashion and beauty editor.”