Lauren Saxe is a senior at Indiana University and is Ed2010’s Trust Fund winner of 2017. (The Trust Fund is a scholarship Ed gives to a deserving unpaid intern each semester. See what our other Trust Fund winners have gone on to do.) Since high school, she has been obsessed with magazines and has been racking up internships in places like Indianapolis Monthly and Hamptons & Gotham. Here, she tells us all about what makes a great intern, her dream publication, and the best career advice she’s gotten so far.
What made you want to get into magazines?
For as long as I can remember, my last stop in the grocery store has been the magazine aisle. My mom was always big into magazines, so I have her to thank for passing that love down to me. Growing up, I was a strong reader and writer and loved the arts. So by the time I graduated from high school, I realized I wanted to write for magazines and tell peoples’ stories. As awesome as it is that we can access everything instantly online now, there is something so exciting about holding an actual magazine in your hands and flipping through the pages. I love that they combine great writing with stunning visuals.
What are your must-read publications (online or in print)?
I get daily updates from big names like the New York Times. I have a weekly subscription to the New Yorker. I’ve always loved reading about fashion and the arts and pick up women’s and fashion titles most often (think: InStyle, Vogue, Cosmo, ELLE, etc.). I think Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone always have interesting profiles. I also follow newspapers across the country and the world because I think it’s important to read about a range of topics to stay informed and make yourself a more versatile writer and media consumer.
What is your dream publication?
Teen Vogue. I’ve always loved the idea of writing for a younger demographic because I think adolescence is a really influential point in someone’s life. As a writer or editor at a teen magazine, you have the power to instill confidence in young people, shine light on issues that they may not get to talk about or hear about anywhere else, and, with the presence of online content, actually have a conversation with readers.
I see you interned at Indianapolis Monthly. What makes interning outside of NYC different from interning in NYC?
Most of my experience has been at city and regional magazines. That being said, interning in New York, Indianapolis and Denver, I learned that each city brings it’s own vibe, which is reflected in its publications. I would say the biggest thing that sets New York apart is the competitiveness and extremely fast-paced rate at which everything moves. Because there are so many magazines concentrated into one area and there are so many people competing for those coveted positions, you have to hustle to make your voice heard amongst everyone else.
Any tips on how to be a great intern?
Come in early. Always ask for more work. Pitch your own ideas as often as you can. That’s something that took me a while to learn. People want to hear your ideas, and interns are valued more than you think. Odds are, you’ll be drowning in fact-checking and other things during the work day, so take some quiet time at night when you go home to brainstorm and start writing your own pitches. Also talk to people! Ask them to get coffee. People might seem intimidating because they are senior editors or have been in the business forever, but nine times out of 10, they are more than happy to sit down with you for 30 minutes and answer your questions about the industry. They’re people too! They started out just like us.
What’s your dream job?
I want to be the editor-in-chief of a major women’s or fashion magazine. As long as I’m in a place where I’m helping tell stories, collaborating with creative people, and making the best possible product, I’ll be happy.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten so far?
Never say “no” to an opportunity. If it’s a story that doesn’t sound interesting to you, write it anyway. If you think you won’t have time to cover a pitch, pick it up anyway. You’ll find a way to get it all done. Elaine Welteroth once said in an interview that the best advice she got (can you tell I have a Teen Vogue crush yet?) was, “Bite off more than you can chew. And then chew as fast as you can.” While doing your best work at the same time, of course!
What advice do your have for college students to snag internships?
Start looking early! I usually start looking in the fall, although applications for a lot of summer internships don’t open until February or March. I know a lot of times younger students aren’t sure where to start looking. I check Ed2010’s internship listings at least five times a day (not an exaggeration!). I look on other sites like Mediabistro, research the websites of publications I’d like to work at for internship opportunities and reach out to friends and contacts I’ve made in the industry. Look for internships during the semester as well! I go to school in the Midwest, so I wasn’t able to intern in New York, but I looked to local magazines for experience.
Are there any editors/writers you look up to?
I loved Amy Astley growing up. Basically if you are/were a Teen Vogue editor, I probably stalk you on social media. I love what Elaine Welteroth, Phillip Picardi and Marie Suter have done with the print and digital version. Joanna Coles is always doing something cool. I follow her Instagram religiously. I loved Ariel Foxman during his time at InStyle. He was always classy and well spoken. Vanessa Friedman’s fashion stories for the New York Times always have an interesting, fresh take. Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair is great, too. The list goes on and on!
Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram?
Instagram. I’m on there far more than I like to admit. My go-to filter is Crema, because as a millennial, of course I have a favorite filter.
Are you interning this summer for free? Apply for Ed’s Trust Fund; the deadline is May 30.