The magazine life can take a toll on your bank account (looking at you, unpaid interns). To help out whippersnappers trying to make it in the biz, Ed gives $1,200 to a super-intern every semester to help cover expenses via his Trust Fund. Meet our spring 2016 winner: Taylor Nulk, a senior at Fordham University from New Jersey who is a features intern at Cosmopolitan this semester. Taylor made the switch from radio to magazines just a few months ago, and she plans to stay. Learn more about her here and then go and apply for your own Trust Fund!
What made you want to intern at Cosmo?
I always tell people that Cosmo was my dream job. I’ve written about it in papers. I would even steal the magazine from nail salons when I was younger because I wasn’t allowed to read it at home! Women’s magazines seemed so glamorous to me. It’s funny now that I’m finally here. It’s glamorous on the page, but it’s a lot of work behind-the-scenes. It’s hard! It’s not flowing champagne every day like the pages have you expect, but it’s a really cool work environment.
What are some of your daily tasks at Cosmopolitan?
For the features team, it’s a lot of transcribing. We’re also pitching a lot of article ideas, so I make sure to read the news every morning. You can take a news article, gather research to back it up and find Cosmopolitan‘s angle. I think that’s one of the biggest things they want us to take away from this internship: finding the voice of the magazine. But it’s also so important to add your own style into the writing! If we get an article idea approved, the editors are open to us writing it, too!
Did you past experiences prepare you for your work at Cosmopolitan?
Definitely not! I was in radio my entire college career. I was deciding between producing and hosting. But I always loved writing so much, and I loved writing for women, in particular. I took a social media class where I had to blog, and that’s when I decided I needed to go into magazines. That was last fall, which is really late in the game to be making a switch. Although radio and magazines are different mediums, a lot of the skills I learned in communications are transferrable. Being able to talk on the phone and reach out to people is something I did for radio and now do for Cosmopolitan, too. Producing in radio also helped me find my voice.
What are some of your must-read magazines?
Cosmopolitan, of course. I also love Nylon. Vanity Fair is a great resource for cultural news. I’ve gotten really into Wired, too. I don’t subscribe, but I’m always interested when I see it. All the tech news is great, especially now that I’m older and a lot of it applies to me.
What do you think helped your Trust Fund application stand out?
I honestly couldn’t believe that I won! I applied super last minute. I saw it on Twitter, and I was like: “I need this.” I wrote the application in the voice my blog is in. It was brash and candid. I used my sense of humor to tell my story about being broke and un-fabulous in the big city. But I want to stay here. I’m happy to have validation that it’s okay not to have such buttoned-up language. I’m not writing to an academic scholarship. I’m writing because I have something to say.
What do you think made your Cosmo app stand out?
We didn’t have interviews, so it was strictly based on the edit test. I slaved away at that thing. I was so nervous. I researched so much. They had us pitch different articles and write blurbs for various sections of the magazine. I think the key is knowing what’s current. And because magazines work three to six months ahead of the rest of the world, what’s current for them is really what’s up-and-coming. One of the people I talked about was Hailee Steinfeld. She broke singing ground with “Pitch Perfect 2.” Now she’s rising the ranks as her own pop star, and editors at Cosmo are keeping their eyes on her. Looking to the future definitely helped me stand out.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Cosmo?
I work on an intern team, so I’m not the only one reporting to our editors. The four of us are only there together on one day. We’ve gotten talked to about our communication skills. The most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to make sure you’re all on the same page. You need to all look your best. Even if someone drops the ball, you’re not going to throw that person under the bus. That makes you all look collectively bad. Make sure your editors see you can work well with others and come up with good work. You can still stand out as an individual. When you turn your own writing in, your talent will come through. Group skills are just as important as solo work.
What advice would you give fellow whippersnappers about making it in the business?
I’m trying to figure it out myself. There are so many resources at your disposal. You need to find sites like Ed2010 and take advantage of the network they have. Making connections is so important. Get your name out there. Give a good first impression and then continue to work hard.
Are you going to be an unpaid intern this summer? Apply for Ed’s Trust Fund!