STYLIST. LIFESTYLE EDITOR, BET. FORMERLY, ELLE MAGAZINE
Internships are vital. They raise your experience level significantly in a short time, help you pinpoint your expertise and may even land you a job if you're lucky. (and by lucky, I mean hardworking) Considering that being a top notch intern helped her score a job as a market assistant at Teen Vogue, fashion editor Danielle Prescod understands that notion all too well.
I first discovered Danielle a few years ago on one of my usual internet binge sessions. Specifically, I was on Tumblr reblogging, posting and aimlessly perusing. The exact explanation as to how how I came across her blog has left me, however, what I do know is that I'm glad I did. (hey, spending hours on Tumblr can turn out to be quite productive!) 'Okay Whatever Cupid' documented Prescod's OK Cupid online dating episodes. Her commentary on each encounter was humorous, witty, blunt and honest, which are also a few words you can use to describe Prescod's memorable personality. When reading her posts, I constantly laughed until I was in stitches. I asked myself 'who is this woman? an actress? a comedian? I just had to know. After some research, it turned out that she worked—and kicked butt—in fashion.
Her professional track record reeks of excellence as it includes interning at NYLON Magazine, Peter Som, W Magazine, Refinery 29 and Marie Claire. All of which have lead to positions at Interview Magazine, Teen Vogue, Moda Operandi and most recently, ELLE, inStyle and now BET. Many deem her an internship to employee expert, and for good reason—she knew what she wanted from early on and went for it. While attending New York University, she even—impressively—developed her own major.
Danielle and I spoke about standing out as an intern, if passion and success go hand in hand and more noteworthy treasures.
Krav: Remember that two-page spread you had in Teen Vogue sometime ago? They quoted you saying "I take fashion cues from the editors here, since I want to be in their shoes one day." Is it surreal looking back and seeing that you've accomplished and surpassed that goal?
Danielle: Truthfully, I wouldn't say that I have surpassed that goal. I am an editor, now, yes, but I am always inspired by women more successful than me. I'm never really satisfied. I always think there is something I can be doing better and more.
Being a New York native myself, I know that if you can make it there, you can make anywhere. When has being from New York helped you tough out a situation?
Well, I certainly think it gave me an advantage in terms of opportunity. My family is here so I have a lot of support. But also when I was interning, I was able to work over holidays and summer vacations because I always had a reason to be here.
Some of your interviews touch on how interning has strengthened your professional foundation. Is it safe to say that interning is crucial?
Yes, definitely. Interning is invaluable experience and if you do it right, someone will give you a job after. That shouldn’t always be the goal though. You really need to learn the stuff that you do while interning. I know a lot about Foucault and Walter Benjamin, but that did not help me when I needed to get shoot trunks out of customs as an assistant.
One often hears the myth that bigger companies = less hands on experience. Can you debunk that myth?
I think any experience is what you make of it. It is important to think about what you are contributing rather than what you can get out of something.
When you applied for the accessories market assistant job at Teen Vogue, they remembered you from interning! Give us some tips on how to stand out at the workplace.
Well, I think being around as much as possible helps. I never left the office unless I was dismissed and I always made sure that my internships were my sole priority. It was never easy. My mother might be a better person to talk to about this as she remembers most of the things I have blacked out over the years. I think another really important way to stand out is to make sure that you have a great attitude no matter what. I am not a bubbly person by nature, but I still think anyone who has worked with me in the past would call me entertaining at the very least. And finally, I would say it is always important to be a “yes" person. Always say yes and do whatever you can.
Internships provide a great deal of ways to gain experience but they aren't the only way to get it. What did you solely do on your own to get better at your craft?
I am always looking for new inspiration, sourcing ideas from my friends and trying to come up with creative story topics. It is really important to stay in-tune to your world, whatever that might be. If you have another passion, you should also explore that. For me, its tennis and ballet and I often find that doing something physical keeps my mind sharp. It’s good to step away from fashion and do something different.
Would you agree that you need passion to be successful? What are your thoughts on that?
Yes definitely! Success doesn’t come easy and if to want to go after something, you need to be passionate about it.
What's does a work day consist of for you as Fashion editor at Elle.com?
Every day is different, so thankfully I am never bored. I spend a lot of time on market appointments and then on the days that I am not shooting, I am writing and editing fashion content for the site. At night I cover events, so I usually attend various dinners and parties.
Putting aside the work stuff, when you're not doing all of the amazing things an editor does, is there anything you do to relax?
Well I just signed up to be a foster puppy mom so hopefully I get to do that! I also dance whenever I can and wine helps.
Though I tried, I couldn't go without asking you at least one style question. Your style is sort of like mixed media art personified. What compels you to piece together things the way you do?
I am really not married to things forever and I think that is an important thing to remember about fashion. I wear what I like in the moment and rely on good taste to make sure I don’t go too astray. For example, this summer I just thought that having blue eyebrows was something I should do, so I did that until it was time to do something new.