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Natalie Perez

Real Simple, Time Inc.
Boerne, TX | Trinity University

    I was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country, in a town so small it calls for an explanation: “I’m from San Antonio…well, not actually San Antonio. I’m from Boerne, it’s a small town about 45 minutes outside the city.” I spent most of my life itching to leave though, never adopting the strong sense of Texas pride that the rest of the state proudly owns. I always dreamt of replacing the bright stars in the country sky with the flashing lights of a bustling metropolis.

   So when I was offered an internship at Real Simple Magazine in the city of all cities this summer, I accepted enthusiastically within seconds of receiving the bid, ready to leave my life as a country girl behind. I remember sitting in the terminal of the airport on the day of my departure, calculating the hours until I would step foot in the concrete jungle as I bit into a Rosario’s breakfast taco—the usual, potato, egg, and cheese. Little did I know, this would be the last of the breakfast tacos for me for the next 10 weeks.

   From the get-go, I was determined to blend in as a city slicker, and I learned quickly that I could easily walk the walk of a New Yorker—never looking up at the buildings, referring to locations by their cross streets, plugging into my headphones on the train. As for talking the talk? That’s where I lost my entire front as a local: How did I end up in Queens, I swear I was heading to Brooklyn? Margarita Thursdays aren’t a thing here? Can I actually get pizza at 4am? Am I going uptown or downtown? So y’all are telling me you’ve never heard of breakfast tacos?

    Turns out I am a Texas girl, after all, who had one hot and steamy (literally, 100 degrees on the subway platforms) summer fling with The City.          

   When the newness and awe of living in a new place wore off, I’ll admit that I often felt drained by the non-stop noise and fast paced way of life. But whenever the stress of living in the city felt overwhelming, I was comforted again and again by my love for work. I was welcomed into the Real Simple office at Time Inc. with such kindness and inclusion—a wonderful sentiment reminiscent of home and the southern hospitality I once took for granted. I’m convinced that this magazine is the kindest in the industry, and with many senior staffers having been here for 15+ years, it’s evident that they feel the same.

Natalie is an incoming senior at Trinity University in San Antonio studying communication and new media. She has a passion for artistic expression through writing, fashion and design.

    I worked closely with the Home department this summer, assisting them with their Holiday gift guide for 2016. Each day I pulled and organized product, coordinated with PR contacts, and called in samples while also writing for Real Simple’s website, attending Holiday previews, and assisting with photo-shoots on the side (this really was a full time job!).

    Real Simple functions as a practical “guide to life” for its readers, and this is so evidently reflected in the work culture of the magazine--it operates with a grace and simplicity often unseen in the magazine business. I never once witnessed the hurried chaos associated with the world of media—the office steadfastly remained a calm and quiet sanctuary where creative ideas were born and had time to grow into beautifully curated content.

    I’m returning to good ol’ San Antone with a newfound appreciation for my home state—at the same time, I’m leaving a piece of my heart in a new place I’ve grown to call home, too. New York is fast. It’s messy. It’s overwhelming at times. But the opportunities it harbors, the dreams it can transform into realities, the industry that I’ve fallen in love with...well, Texas ain’t got nothin’ on that.