This Tuesday, I coerced one of the PR coordinators at LGC into sitting down for an interview with me, Ariana Voyer. She allowed me to slightly interrogate her about the road she took in order to get to the LGC office, and shared some insight for college students and recent grads.
College: University of Central Florida
Major: Advertising and PR
Position: PR Coordinator. I was brought in for beauty, but I also do Silhouette, which is eyewear. Silhouette owns Adidas.
Describe your job in a sentence (or two!).
For both a beauty brand and eyewear brand, I’m the middle man between the client and press, magazines and editors. I assist in the communication process for everything, from product requests to fact checking, since both of my supervisors are freelance.
What was your first internship?
It was Her Campus!
Yeah! I did shadowing in the field when I was in high school, in Bloomingdales in their PR department. In college, I didn’t do anything freshman year, I just gave myself time to adjust to college. Sophomore year I started with Her Campus, as an ambassador of my sorority to basically tell everybody about Her Campus and their events and promote it, because they were targeting Greek life. I also did The Odyssey, a national Greek life magazine that is published weekly. I started out doing social media for The Odyssey, created the Facebook page, got fans, posted every day, which developed into Twitter and Instagram later on. (Read her blog from last summer that she updated with other interns from Florida that were in NYC!)
What did you learn from your first internships, Her Campus and The Odyssey?
Primarily, networking. You aren’t going to get anything done if you don’t meet people and follow up with people. Especially since Her Campus at my school was pretty new at the time and still growing, still raising awareness, it was a lot of using my own personal social media networks to promote it, telling my friends about it and telling my sorority about it. A lot of networking. It also involved the Orlando area like local businesses and talking to people, a lot of cold calling.
How many internships have you done?
Technically, I had eight! I did The Odyssey from the beginning of my sophomore year to the end of my senior year. Her Campus I didn’t do quite as long, for about a year. For how long some of them lasted, it seems like more.
What would you say the best internship was for learning new skills and / or connecting with people?
My internship last summer in New York City with MRY, which used to be called Mr. Youth. It was a ten-week, summer internship program with 17 interns. We learned about every department and agency, because it was a full service, it wasn’t just advertising or PR, it was a full service media marketing service. I was in the accounts department, there was production, there was strategy, there was analytics, and also brand development. So even though I was in accounts, people in different departments would come and talk to the interns and give a presentation on what they do, how they got to where they are. Also, in accounts, I got to work with on a huge campaign that lasted the entire summer, so was able to see it from beginning to end. I gained experience reaching out to influencers- athletes, artists, musicians just to name a few. We had weekly calls with the client, creative would come in and say, “Accounts wants this, to do this typography and this imagery,” and strategy would come and say, “We want to do this on this day,” every department would come in to give their input to make it all come together.
Another was for an Olympics sponsor, and I loved it! Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to go to the summer Olympics and to London – what better than the two combined?! I had to choose between studying abroad or doing an internship in New York, so it was funny that I got to intern in New York but also work on the summer Olympics. I learned so much at this internship, especially compared to the other internships I did, which were at college and more so ambassador programs, but this was a growing company with smart and creative people all over the place. We went to networking events and summer socials, so by the time I left, I knew the name and title of nearly every single person in the 200 person agency.
Did you move to a new city to pursue your PR career?
Yes, I moved from Florida. I’m from South Florida area, which is about an hour and a half north of Miami, and then I went to school in Orlando, so moving up here was not easy.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I’ve always had an interest in beauty, and thought of it as something I could do for my career. Preparing for job application season, I knew I didn’t have direct beauty experience. I was lucky enough to land a L’Oreal internship through a college ambassador program that I did during the last semester of my senior year. Your last semester of college, people really want to relax and I took on this huge internship! I’m crazy like that. But even though I ended up working with a specific L’Oreal hair product, it was still beauty and it was still a recognizable name for my resume. So my favorite part now is really just working in beauty, “playing with make up all day” and learning the industry from the opposite perspective. I also love working in beauty because it’s something that applies to me both personally and professionally. The makeup brand I work on is a brand I wear nearly every day, sometimes my whole face! It’s been fun. I’ve realized that this has been an incredible first job out of college because by the time I move on, I will know every beauty editor in NYC, which is just crazy, after years of reading their articles in my favorite magazines, following them on Twitter, etc. All the responsibility and exposure I have gotten is something that you are only able to do at a small agency, rather than being at a huge company when you’re a small fish in a big pond.
What is your least favorite part of your job?
There’s a lot of administrative work, like tedious formatting, and you have to be really careful because even the tiniest things can be blown out of proportion. Like, if an editor emails you and you’re in a rush, if you spell something incorrectly or put the wrong price or something like that and they publish it, then that’s on you, and it can be really stressful.
What are your favorite brands?
For beauty, I definitely like to try everything. Some people are loyal to a brand and they use everything from that brand; I like to mix it up every day- I’ll be wearing Benefit, Tarte, Stila, MAC, Urban Decay, all in one day. I’m never really loyal to one brand. I like the young, trendy, cheerful brands, so I think that Stila, Tarte, Benefit for example all fall under that. I like a little shimmer, a little pizzazz! Fashion wise, I really like Kate Spade… I like the mix of preppy from growing up near Palm Beach, but I also like the black and gold, the glam, a little more flashy. Basic things that have a little bit of flair to them.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Just in general to get a job in New York, even though it’s a lot more common now. Even the internship last summer, they told us the first orientation that we had that the 17 of us were chosen out of 500 applicants, which amazed me because my interviews were terrible. I don’t know what I did right! However, I did send a handwritten note after the interview, and they told me after, “We really loved your handwritten note, it was one of the reasons we hired you.” As crazy as that seems, people always say you should write a handwritten note, but if that’s what made me stand out as one of the 17 in 500, then that’s crazy.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
It sounds so cliche, but everything happens for a reason. When I was applying for jobs, I thought my first job was going to be my dream job – a corporation that for years and years I had thought about working for. While that’s not where I ended up, I think now that maybe it’s not where I belong, and this job has opened my eyes to that. As for lessons in applying for jobs, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there a little bit. I think especially with social media, people feel that there are limits. If anything, people LOVE to talk about themselves. Reach out through a LinkedIn message and briefly state that you are graduating, interested in their company/position/industry and hope to ask a few questions to gain insight. You’ll be amazed by the outcome, and voila- connections!
Biggest piece of advice?
For people in college, or people looking for a job, don’t be shy on social media. But be professional.
Ultimate goal for career?
I took this job to experience beauty. Some people say, “I really want to work at a magazine,” but some people only look at the perks, when in fact there’s a lot of time and hard work that goes into planning and publishing articles. Same with working in beauty, it sounds really fun, playing with make up all day, but there is a lot more to it than you realize, and that’s why this is sort of a trial run to see how much I like it. So far, I really do, however, I don’t think that I could do it forever. It’s funny because although my major in school was PR, I always saw myself doing more campaigns/promotion work, as well as social media! I have a lot more to learn in the digital sphere, but it definitely appeals to me and is something I hope to incorporate into my future career. I will say that I hope to stay in beauty – I just don’t think fashion is for me.
Thanks for sitting down with me, my Florida friend!
Internship hours completed: 334.5