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Jenna Milliner-Waddell

Essence, Time Inc.
Hainesport, NJ | University of Maryland

The time is 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday May 31, 2016 as I strut into the Time Inc. building located at 225 Liberty Street. Early is on time. “I’m a new intern at ESSENCE magazine,” I tell the front desk personnel who are uninterested in what I believed was my first career defining moment. As I’m directed to the fourth floor for intern orientation the butterflies in my stomach can not retain their excitement, and neither can I. This quickly turns to panic as my smooth morning turns into a series of unfortunate events:

   9:50 a.m. - Trapped in the elevator cell

   10: 00 a.m. - Sweaty from running around looking for orientation which isn’t a thing

   10:10 a.m. - Officially late. 

   I’m happy to report that not everyday of my ASME internship at ESSENCE has been this stressful. Working in the fashion and beauty department has opened my eyes to a world I had only ever dreamed about. I have access to and help manage both the beauty and fashion closets. In a world where you can easily drown, literally, in a pile of lipsticks or be crushed under the weight of a Dennis Basso fur coat, it is important to remain on your a-game and organized.

   My tasks include general maintenance of both closets, checking in and returning samples, attending meetings with PR firms and showrooms about the what is hot for next season, assisting on photoshoots and constantly updating our contact list.

   On some days it is easy to feel like a glorified cleaning lady. However, I used the same resilience and positive spirit that made me an ASME intern to make the most of my experience. I attended several events on behalf of the magazine, pitched and wrote stories for digital, interviewed an Olympic athlete and even ended up as a model in the September 2016 issue.

   Apart from becoming more familiar with a specific section of the magazine, and making connections across all departments within ESSENCE and Time Inc. as a whole, I have learned a skill that will carry me through my career and the rest of my life: advocating for myself. 

Jenna is a rising senior in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland with two minors in Spanish and art history. After studying abroad, she discovered a love for traveling to add to her list of interests that include fashion, food and feminism. 

This has been crucial for me this summer. Being in the fashion and beauty department often meant steaming clothes came before any editorial tasks. However, asking for the opportunities you want and making your objective clear are key to making the most of your time at any job. I started this a little late, but I am happy I did. It has made my ASME and ESSENCE experience rewarding, and one I hope will open many doors for me in the future.