Thursday, August 13, 2009

Would you Pay to intern at Vogue? Or W?


So, I was trolling (Vogue and W's web affiliate), like I do, in search of inspiration, drinking in all the delicious fashion, when I spotted a new blog post: win an internship at Vogue.  Now, I may be gainfully employed and love my job and all, but, win an internship at I'd live in my Chanel shoebox, with my Marchesa garment bag for a tent, if I had to, to live in NYC - the backstage access, designer meet-and-greets, and sheer closeness to all that hand-stitched beauty would be enough to sustain me.  They could pay me in glances into their accessories closet, probably. I'd be one happy lady.

So I click on the link thinking it's going to be some kind of contest, you know, essay contest, photo / video essay contest, create a look-book, that sort of thing.  


Uh, no. Only at Vogue and W are they having people bid to work for free.  

Well, the auction is run through, which boasts auctions like, appear on screen with Johnny Depp (final bid $91,000 and totally worth it, i'm sure), or play tennis with Andre Agassi ($100,000).  I'm not entirely sure what non-profit this particular auction benefits, however - I'll post it once I find out.

But, anyways, this begs the question: how many of us out there would be so willing to work for a top fashion site that we'd be willing to pay, in order to be a lowly intern? 

Right now, there have been two bids since the auction opened August 6, with the bidding up to $600.  Bidding goes in $100 increments with an estimated value of $2,500 and the auction officially closes August 25.  So, apparently, so far, not too many. 

The number of contacts and experiences one could obtain with an internship of this kind would be priceless. Especially for students, who are the only people this auction is open to, undergrad or grad.  But, I have to ask - what's the value in the eyes of future contacts and employers of an internship you paid to get, rather than earned?

Now, I say this, and feel I have to come clean about my internship at an arts magazine in Dublin i had a few summers back.  I paid to be part of a program which helped set me up with my internship over there.  But (as I try to make myself feel better) I had to apply and interview for the program and even then, I wasn't guaranteed my internship - it was up to my employer, not the program.  

So, I want to hear the verdict.  Is this just a ridiculous ploy by Wintour and company to maintain the elitism of Vogue? Is it a worthless job, seeing how it's bought and paid for? Or is the chance to participate in Fashion Week, meet designers, assist photoshoots, and possibly contribute to web stories totally worth it?

I'm on the fence, personally.  It's worth it to get a chance to see and do all these amazing things and such an elite level, but, I'm not sure the worth would translate to my resume, or to others, and definitely, to myself.  

Check out the option for yourself, at

  • Wintour can take her stiletto and shove it, 'cause I won't pay to work for free. (3 votes)
  • It'd be worth it to breathe the air of the fashion closet. (1 vote)
  • It'd be worth it, but I'd lose all pride and self-worth the same way I would if I wore Uggs to the Met. (5 votes)

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