I would have told the truth and said, “To do PR for Glamour Magazine.”
But I would have only told you that if you were my closest friend. I didn’t want people to know this fact about me. I kept it a secret.
Because at the time I thought it was cliché.
Well of courrrrrse every girl wants to do PR for a fashion magazine. Duhhhh. I thought people would think I was cliché, I thought people would think it was dumb, I thought people wouldn’t take me as seriously. I thought maybe people would think I didn’t have the skills that Anne Hathaway obtained in The Devil Wears Prada. I can’t compete with Anne…
SO – I lied.
The first day of the semester would roll around and my PR Professors would tell everyone to stand up and regurgitate the following information:
Year in College
Future Career Goal
As I kept me secret deep down, I’d give the following lie:
Name: Kylie Oakes
Year in College: I’m a junior
Major: Studying Advertising & Public Relations
Future Career Goal: And my future career goal is to do Political PR.
That’s the lie I came up with. That’s basically as far from Fashion PR as you can get. That’s like trading in your leopard print Valentino heels for some black payless flats. It’s suicidal, I know but I kept the lie going because I started to genuinely believe it. I was completely fooling myself. And then the end of junior year came around and I desperately wanted an internship. You can imagine it didn’t go well for a girl who wasn’t pursuing what she deeply and truly wanted, and instead pursuing something she was lying to herself about.
I was off to a bad start because I was looking for internships in all the wrong places. I pursued an internship for Governor Snyder, I googled “political jobs in west Michigan”, I made phone calls to the City of Grand Rapids, I looked up pictures of Hillary Clinton, and I started buying flats.
It was one of the darkest times in my college career because I had no luck and I was deeply discouraged because I was ultimately pulling the biggest prank on myself. Political PR…
And then, one wintery Michigan night…I was lying under my leopard print heating blanket and scrolling through LakerJobs at 11 pm. I was just about to fall asleep when I saw a post for a social media internship at a new bridal shop in Grand Rapids called BIANKA Bridal. I jumped up so high I almost snapped my HP laptop in half.
I was so excited that I wrote up a cover letter and sent it with my resume in an email that same night. I figured they’d think I was the crazy girl applying for jobs at midnight, but I didn’t even care because my heart was racing and I was so genuinely excited.
I could barely fall asleep. I started dreaming of wedding dresses & Randy Fenoli. When I woke up the next morning I checked my email quick as I habitually do in the morning. I had an interview for the next day from BIANKA Bridal! I died from excitement; legit died, and came back to life to reply to the email.
After hours of deciding what to wear, doing research on their company, and shopping for a pair of “don’t you want to give me this internship” pair of shoes? (Watch season 6 episode 13 of Friends.) I was ready for my interview!
I walked in their shop and melted onto the floor in sight of all the wedding dresses. It was magical, and she hired me on the spot.
THIS is where my college career turned for the better and where I let go of lying to myself and to others. Since I started being honest with myself, the Fashion PR career path has fallen into place. It’s been great and it’s because I followed my heart. It sounds cheesier than the Melting Pot, but it’s true.
The benefits that came from being honest with myself:
1. Received an internship at BIANKA Bridal in Spring 2014
2. Received a job at a boutique in the Amway Plaza (the manager knew the owner of BIANKA Bridal) in Fall 2014.
3. Met the Editor-in-Chief of a la MODE magazine.
4. Helped out at bridal fashion shows in GR.
5. Got nvited to attend Bridal Market in New York.
6. Became the PR Director of the Grand Valley Fashion Club.
7. I threw away the Hillary-Clinton-Inspired-Flats.
Disclaimer (I’m about to sound jussst like your mother):
I encourage everyone to be honest with themselves and do what they truly feel is best for them. Pick something you truly love. I don’t have everything figured out, but that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ll take away from college – learning to pursue what I whole heartedly desire.