Thursday, 11 July 2013

Lifestyle Work Experience at Closer Magazine!

On Monday June 10th, after a busy bus and tube journey, I arrived at Endeavour House, the hub of Bauer Media (the company behind Grazia, Heat, Kerrang, Q and the like!) The offices have a fab location- literally a two minute walk from Covent Garden tube station with hot shopping opportunities like Zara, Mango and American Apparel right on your doorstep! Café Nero is just round the corner, and I definitely made the most of it on my lunch breaks- I'm a newly converted fan now (previously defining myself as a dedicated Starbucks girl)!


Hot shopping spot!
    After admiring the glossiness of Endeavour's reception hall, I took the lift up to Bauer's reception to check in at my start time of 10am. I nervously waited on a leather sofa by a pile of magazines to be collected by Matilda Stanley, Closer's Style Assistant. On her arrival, I and India, who was also interning, greeted her and we were taken up to the third floor where Closer is based. The office wasn't as big as I expected, but kind of cosy really, with a very relaxed, friendly feel. It's your typical rows of desks set-up- everyone has their own MAC computer, magazine rack, glass water bottle and stash of teabags and other provisions at their desk- and then of course there's the fashion and beauty cupboards- which more or less became my home for the two weeks!
 

A peek into the fashion cupboard!
    The first day consisted of filling up the lifestyle desk ladies' water bottles and taking their hot drink orders, then we moved on to booking our first pieces of clothing into the fashion cupboard! The style and beauty team are constantly delivered samples of clothing and products- I was totally envious, naturally- which we collected from the courier room up to four times each day. Everything is wrapped or bagged beautifully and comes with cute little gifts, such as a stamp sets, notelets, cake pops or even a fortune cookie! Once a clothing, shoe or accessory sample arrives, it must be booked in on a docket, filed in an A-Z brand/PR company folder and hung up on the 'New In' rail. Likewise, when a sample has been shot for the magazine, it must be booked out, but it also has to be securely packaged and addressed for the van man who comes to collect every return! We picked up the admin side of the cupboard pretty quickly and were told we were very speedy at returns in general! Booking samples in and out is an all-day job- which makes your back ache at times as you do just sit on the floor of the cupboard- but I got the opportunity to do lots in between. Frequently tidying the beauty cupboard is a must to maximise manoeuvring space as it is tiny in there! Products are categorized into boxes labelled as 'Face', 'Body', 'Eyes, 'Lips', 'Tanning', 'Hair', so it is easy to grab what you need when it is required for a feature or shoot! Matilda asked me to track down a list of products on my first afternoon for three different features; some of these were then sent up to the digital studio to be shot by the photographers. I found it so interesting to see how the magazine comes together. For example with Closer's 'Wishlist' feature, items such as plates and cookbooks are shot flat or standing upright for them to be placed onto a white  page background. The digital studio itself was super-cool and had an energetic but funky vibe. On the way up to it, I was also able to peek in at the other Bauer offices- Grazia and Q to name a few. After my first day lunch, I was asked very politely to pop to a healthy fast food restaurant called Pod- think sushi wraps and super grain salad- where I picked up some coffees and lunch for the lifestyle girls. The rest of the afternoon was spent covering Matilda's lunch break at her desk, answering the phones and taking messages and researching celebrity beauty quotes for the mag!


My lunchtime treats
    Job number one on day two was to search for anything American Apparel in the fashion cupboard as it had met its deadline day for returns! After that I took a chic white shift dress and a palm-tree print blazer up to the digital studio to be shot for a feature on Tropical prints! On my way back down to the third floor, I was surprised and excited to see Dominic Cooper being interviewed in Heat magazine's radio station- my first A-list spot!
   I remember booking in some really cute retro bikinis on this day and feeling all summery- despite the grey skies outside- and a big chunk of my day was taken up with research into Taylor Swift's style and beauty tips! After this second day, the time in the office seemed to fly! I juggled masses of returns with calling PR companies to request samples- having a slight phobia of phoning strangers, I felt terrified but I found myself getting more and more confident as I successfully liaised for products. Everyone on the phones- that's representatives from the like of Nars, Benefit, Boots, NYX and Zara- was so friendly and patient if I needed to double-check a detail. Other jobs for my placement included browsing the archive of monthly publications and photocopying interesting pages, filing magazines by their date, tidying the shoe shelves and ringing brands to request high resolution images of their products. I was psyched and then disappointed when Deputy Style Editor, Daniela asked me to transcribe an interview with Millie Mackintosh, but the Dictaphone hadn't recorded properly! I did get to transcribe an interview in the end though- one with television & radio presenter and wife of Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, Beverley Turner. She came across as so warm and bubbly that I really enjoyed typing up the interview, though it took me about two hours being extra precise!


My first cake-pop, courtesy of Elemis PR! Scrummy!
     My second week was busier than my first, in a different way- hordes of returns were replaced with large lists of samples and high resolution images to call in and three hours worth of photocopying and filing every fashion feature from March to June. I actually enjoyed this task as I got to re-read Closer's style pages and make trend notes in the style diary I always carry! Kat, the Style Editor asked me to track down the prices of several pieces for a Designer Vs. High Street'-esque double page spread. These were harder to find than I thought and I even had to contact a press office in New York- for a pair of Ohne Titel heels- but I got there in the end and she was pleased! I was even asked to test a Topshop waterproof eyeliner mid second-week for the 'Tried and Tested' column on the beauty pages. I rarely wear eyeliner so having to apply it properly was an experience! The liner had a gorgeous shimmer running through it, and it only smudged a bit in the bath!
   One of my favourite jobs of the week was working with India to research gifts for new-born babies- we guessed this was to coincide with the arrival of a mini Royal! We found the most precious things- from baby hampers and nappies and clothing shaped into cakes (google them!), baby passports to birth clocks. I also had a go at writing the credits for these and discovered it was not as challenging as I thought but in fact very simple! The ultimate highlight of my time at Closer was seeing my own name on their credits page- this is something I will genuinely always keep and be proud of!
   I have gained an amazing insight to the magazine industry over these two weeks, and I am so grateful for the whole of the Lifestyle desk for making me feel welcome and for trusting me with all these responsibilities above! It was lovely to feel like I was genuinely contributing to the production of such a high-quality magazine. The experience has taught me that I am definitely interested in branching out to cover lifestyle based, interiors and beauty features so watch this space for my first attempts! I can't wait to apply for my next internship!
 
My name in the actual magazine! (First week- it appeared twice!) Happy!
What I wore:

Day One: Navy jacquard cropped trousers, cream beaded camisole, pink blazer, nude pumps and a navy and white polka dot satchel.

Day Two: Powder blue knit, blue-hued paisley skirt, statement jewelled bib necklace and flat metallic sandals. 

My go-with-everything statement jewelled bib necklace

Day Three: Royal blue, perfume bottle print, silk playsuit with teeny black polka dots, grey silky blazer, black suede flatforms and a scallop detail, pink satchel.
A close-up of my perfume bottle playsuit from ASOS!
My Primark tee- worn tucked into a lilac lace skirt, with tights and biker boots
Day Four: 'New York City Chic.' black slogan tee, lilac lace skirt, black studded ankle boots and grey jersey boyfriend blazer.

Day Five: Paisley printed dress with crochet waistband, nude flower detail sandals, black tote and a silver Mango cuff.

My Mango cuff adds sophistication to any outfit
Day Six: Panther print dress, nude leather jacket, jewelled black flats.

Day Seven: Nude pink, strappy dress with cream lace detail, studded boots and charcoal boyfriend blazer.
Day Eight: Sky blue chiffon tea dress with tan skinny belt, tan pumps and a cropped cream lace jacket.
Day Nine: Pink and cream peter pan collar blouse, indigo skinny jeans, black flatforms and a LFW SS'13 tote with kooky Mulberry gnomes on!
 
Day Ten: Cream and china blue chiffon dress with skinny tan belt (this dress reminds me of Venice- with the tiny canal boats and houses printed on it!), tan pumps and a cropped peach cardi.



Adorable pom poms on a Topshop Boutique dress
I swooned over: A Topshop Boutique dress with multi-coloured pom poms, Burberry eye shadows, a Zara fabric, tribal beaded belt, a Crown + Glory mint and lilac floral headpiece, Jeepers Peepers cat-eye pearl embellished sunglasses, a gorgeous gift bag of Vera Wang perfume and cake-pops!


Crown and Glory Headpiece
I sipped: Café Nero chocolate milkshakes (they taste of digestive biscuits!) and the occasional hot choccy with cream!
I read: Stylist, a lot of Metro's and Evening Standards (tube journeys), "Gatecrasher" by Madeleine Wickham (commonly known as Sophie Kinsella!) and "The Beach Hut" by Veronica Henry (both recommended!). Plus the contents of Closer's magazine rack- every current weekly and monthly under the sun really!
Celeb Spots: Dominic Cooper, Dynamo (rumoured to be outside the office!), Sally Phillips (Shazza in Bridget Jones! Stood next to her on the tube!)


The 'Gatecrasher'! Looks bleak but I recommend!
One of my fave Stylist covers! Naturally, being a cat lover!! 

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