As a loud gong sounded, colorful smoke emitted from a small machine on the catwalk floor, and the room darkened, I had a revelation. I was standing in the back row of the Diesel Black/Gold show at an event I had waited an entire life (well, 22 years) to be present at. I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the fashion industry’s elite at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Talk about a dream come true. I never thought I would be invited to or reporting at Fashion Week, especially as a senior in college. But, there I was, in all my Liberette glory, photographing and conversing with senior editors at W, US Weekly writers, and journalists from Essence and Ebony.
As the week progressed and I rushed from the bebeBLACK collection presentation to the Emerson show in Lincoln Center, I didn’t have time to reflect on what I was experiencing. It wasn’t until I returned to school and thought about what this meant that the lessons became clear.
Here are the five life lessons that I learned in the pandemonium of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Consistency Pays Off
I was offered the chance to report Fashion Week festivities for BettyConfidential.com because of an awesome summer internship with the website. I had consistent work, followed directions, was resourceful, and able to accept criticism when it was warranted. Being consistent in how and what I produced proved to the supervisors that I could handle the pressures of Fashion Week.
This also translated into networking at the different Fashion Week events. I left with over 20 business cards because regardless of what show or event I was in, I had the same positive and upbeat attitude.
Never Turn Off Professionalism
You are the greatest spokesperson available to market the brand of YOU! Remaining professional, even when it seems like no one is watching, is essential to success. I was leaving the Emerson show in Lincoln Center at 9:30 p.m. in the middle of a rain storm. I couldn’t find the right Subway entrance, so I kept ending up on the wrong side of the platform. Oh, and I had been traveling from borough to borough since 11:00 a.m., so I had aching feet and burning calves.
Regardless of how I felt or what I was thinking, I kept smiling, which paid off. Realizing that I was lost, a kind gentleman offered to assist me. It wasn’t until he handed me his business card and complimented me for remaining so calm and collected that I realized he was a senior editor for GQ. Professionalism speaks volumes about character. Keep on the poker face, even when the circumstances aren’t ideal.
Sacrifice is Dedication
Before I am a journalist or a fashionista, I am a student. So, it goes without saying that missing class to attend Fashion Week was quite the sacrifice. There was also an important event that I was supposed to attend that I had to miss in order to pursue my dreams in the Big Apple.
Be willing to sacrifice sleep to chase dreams. I did. Since returning from Fashion Week, I have been sleeping a maximum of four to five hours as I attempt to complete the work that I neglected while I was in New York. Was meeting Snooki and Angela Simmons worth missing class? No, but being backstage at a Levi’s show definitely was!
Admit it. We are all stubborn to some degree. But, one of the most imperative lessons I learned from Fashion Week was the need to be flexible, especially when it comes to our careers. At the last minute, new shows were added to the schedule and I needed to cover them; much time wasn’t allotted for travel between shows which meant I had to catch two trains and a cab to travel from SoHo to Times Square in an hour.
Life is never predictable, so be prepared for shifts in plans.
Vision Boards Work
When I created a vision board last October and included a huge ELLE ad for New York Fashion Week, I never thought that I would be reporting from the front row of the Carmelita Couture show less than six months later. Now, I doubt that I’ll be the editor-in-chief of ELLE in 2012, but seeing this on my colorful board each morning reaffirms my commitment to success and self-improvement.
Vision boards work! Create one and make moves towards turning those dreams into realities.