I love the weekends. They are full of endless possibilities and relaxation and, most importantly, sleep. Saturdays are wonderfully unplanned: It usually involves checking Complex.com’s list of 10 free things to do in NYC on the weekend, then getting on out there. Sundays are wonderfully structured: I start out at Hillsong NYC in Union Square, then go to Argo Tea for a couple of hours to write for this lovely blog, then go back to Hillsong in the evening because I really can’t get enough of that place.
No matter what you do on the weekend, it’s generally understood that those two days are a time to unwind from the other five days. However, because I am a “go-getter” and slightly sadistic, I stalked a couple of internship sites and found a company that was looking for volunteers to help produce a fashion show this past Saturday. It was definitely a well, why not? moment when I emailed them to see if I could help out.
They emailed back within three days and, lo and behold, I found myself on a fashion show production crew yesterday. My official title was “Backstage Dresser.”
I’ve never heard of the company before and only vaguely heard of the designer, so it’s not worth repeating here. Let’s just say it was a good introduction to that side of the industry. I’ve never attended a fashion show before, let alone volunteered on one, so I had no expectations going in.
That was a good thing, because for 12 hours yesterday, I felt like I was in a movie that I couldn’t turn off. The manager of the company was a character straight out of Devil Wears Prada, but at least Meryl Streep could command respect. Every time she entered the area we were working in, everyone held their breath and prayed she wouldn’t pick them out to yell at them, because it could happen to anyone at any time for no reason at all.
She told volunteers (including me) to open doors for her when she was in front of them. She commanded a fellow worker at one point to get her a cup of water (WITHOUT ICE, PLEASE!), but little did she know that this girl had a whole lot of sass and backwashed into it before she gave it to her. At one point, the manager started randomly picking out girls to send home because there were “just too many volunteers” and the marketing director of the company up and quit about four hours into the day.
Remember what I said about feeling like I was in a movie?
It was a miracle that the show even happened at all. Once things got underway and I was stationed backstage with the models (and out of the manager’s line of fire), I actually started to enjoy myself a little. The designer was incredibly nice and gracious, and all the models were the absolute opposite of pretentious.
It was definitely a high stress day, but it didn’t bother me a whole lot because I knew I would walk away from it at the end of the day and go back to normal life. It did, however, cure me of ever wanting to pursue fashion show production as a career. I was vaguely interested because there’s a lot of glitz and glamour involved, but now I know that that sort of career is reserved for a special kind of person. That person isn’t me, and probably shouldn’t be that manager either.
Who knew that in one weekend gig, I’d find out so much about myself? I highly recommend checking out weekend volunteer opportunities before we all have to say goodbye to NYC and head back to school in a couple of weeks.
Have you ever had a similar volunteer experience? How about a similar Devil Wears Prada experience?
Until next week,
Ed’s Entertainment Intern