Since graduating from college a couple years ago, I’ve loved watching my sorority sisters achieve amazing things! I am so inspired by Jessica Heinmiller who moved to New York City just hours after graduating from the University of Washington to begin her career at Teen Vogue. As cliché as it sounds, she proves that dreams can come true with a lot of hard work and perseverance. She has had numerous once-in-a-lifetime experiences while living in the Big Apple and it just goes to show that if you want something, go for it!
What is your role at Teen Vogue?
I am the assistant to the Associate Publisher of Teen Vogue and I support four Fashion & Retail Marketing Managers. Working in both sales and marketing has allowed for me to explore all aspects of the business side of a magazine, which has been such a tremendous opportunity!
What helped you land this amazing job?
I always knew that I wanted to work for a magazine, so in college I focused on internships and jobs that would provide me with the experience and skills necessary to make it into the publishing world one day. While interning for a local magazine in Seattle during my senior year of college, I flew out to NYC for an interview at Condé Nast for their Summer Internship Program. I was ecstatic and so nervous — this was my one shot! For the internship program, they don’t have candidates interview for a specific magazine, you interview for the program and then if you are offered the role they place you where they best see fit. Luckily for me, Teen Vogue was my top choice — and I got it! I hopped on a plane just hours after graduating from the University of Washington to move to NYC and begin my internship at Teen Vogue. When the internship was over in August I was lucky enough to be offered a freelance Public Relations position where I supported our Senior PR Director and eventually went on to be recommended for my current role now!
How did you feel about moving from Seattle to New York?
New York City was somewhere I had always dreamed of being one day. It was definitely scary moving to the other side of the country to a city as big and intimidating as NYC not knowing a single person and really having no idea what was in store for me. As soon as I got there, I immediately focused my energy and attention on kicking butt at Teen Vogue instead of thinking about everything I had left behind. I have always been a city girl so transitioning from Seattle to NYC was a piece of cake! I did, however, struggle with the subway system in the beginning. I never knew if I was getting on an uptown or downtown train, so I would just get on whatever train came next and hope it was the right one haha.
Have you experienced any celebrity encounters that left you star struck?
On my very first day in NYC, I saw Brad Pitt and this set my expectations pretty high for hopeful celebrity sightings! The first celebrity encounter that left me actually star struck was riding in an elevator with Miley Cyrus (!!) while I was interning at Teen Vogue. Since then I have lost track of how many celebrities I have seen because they are all over the city, all the time. One of my more memorable encounters recently was walking into the bathroom at work and seeing Hilary Duff just standing there fixing her hair. This totally caught me off guard, I had no idea what to do haha!
What are your top five NYC experiences?
- Being in Times Square for New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop.
- Attending the VMAs last summer in Brooklyn.
- Getting to be a part of the live studio audience when Justin Timberlake & Jimmy Fallon hosted SNL.
- Walking into Teen Vogue for the first time and the first time seeing my name printed in a national magazine.
- Seeing the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in real life – it’s magical!
What have been some of the most memorable events you’ve worked at?
Last fall I was a production assistant for New York Fashion Week, which was such an exciting experience. I was able to be a part of the entire process for a fashion show starting from the model castings/fittings to the actual day-of prep backstage and the final show. I also worked the press check-in booth for some of the shows, which was crazy and chaotic, but so much fun! New York Fashion Week definitely lives up to its hype!
Another memorable event that I was a part of was last February when NYC was hosting the Super Bowl! I was a member of the Host Committee which meant I was to attend the larger sponsored events throughout the week leading up to the game and help welcome those who were in the area visiting! This would’ve been a really cool experience regardless, but it made it THAT much better that half of these people were from Seattle and that the Seahawks had made it to the Super Bowl! These events took place for an entire week leading up to the game, all over the city.
How has your personal style changed since you began working at Teen Vogue?
Being in NYC constantly surrounded by all aspects of the fashion industry definitely starts to impact people’s personal style. I don’t think that mine has changed too drastically since I began working at Teen Vogue, but I have become more open to trying different looks and going for pieces that I probably wouldn’t have in the past. It’s kind of fun!
What do you love most about living in NYC?
The energy of this city is unlike any other. There is a buzz throughout all of Manhattan that makes this city so exciting and inspiring — it’s such an adrenaline rush! I also love that there is always something to go do or see at pretty much any hour of the day.
Which NYC tourist attraction is your number one must-see?
I am a really big fan of the Statue of Liberty! I think this would have to be my number one pick for tourist attractions, followed closely by Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge. The Statue of Liberty is so iconic and is breathtaking from any view. Central Park is amazing, but it is also massive and can be very tricky to navigate without getting lost inside.
What local hot spots do you suggest that visitors check out?
I would recommend Chelsea Market and the Highline. Both are in/near the Meatpacking area which is also really fun. Chelsea Market has a fun Pike Place Market feel to it! I would also recommend South Street Seaport. It’s a cute little area on the water with shops, restaurants, things to do and a really amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the city — the perfect place to spend a warm summer evening! Finally, the Staten Island Ferry is a must, as well. You pass by the Statue of Liberty with an amazing view of both the statue and the city from the water! It’s about a 30 minute trip and it’s free, which is basically unheard of in NYC. A fun stop I would suggest for those visiting in spring or summer is the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar, where they serve popsicles in glasses of wine and champagne! It’s pricey and a pretty small rooftop bar but it’s a really cool experience and you get to enjoy these fun drinks on top of the Conrad Hotel with a great view of the water and Statue of Liberty!
What advice do you have for people who want to work for a popular magazine or move to NYC to pursue their dreams?
Get as much relevant experience as you possibly can, as early as you can. If an opportunity doesn’t seem to be there, go out and create one for yourself. In terms of moving to NYC to pursue your dreams, my biggest piece of advice is to never accept no as an answer and to never let anyone talk you out of your dreams. This city is tough and you are going to have to work really really hard to make it, but it can be done and it is so worth it!