The Intern Wears Prada

Senior Lands Graphic Design Internship with Teen Vogue

Published: Aug 12, 2011
Teen Vogue intern Alexa Speyer said that “to know how a magazine works, you really need to be there. I can’t imagine walking straight into a job without having this internship.”
Teen Vogue intern Alexa Speyer said that “to know how a magazine works, you really need to be there. I can’t imagine walking straight into a job without having this internship.”
Alexa Speyer ’12 can’t remember not having a subscription to Teen Vogue. More than once she has ripped out a page and stuck it to her wall – to remember the advice or newest fashion trend.

Instead of ripping out pages, Speyer spent this summer filling them. As an intern with Teen Vogue in New York City, she worked in the art department helping design layouts of the magazine. Much like in the movie The Devil Wears Prada, there is a sacred design book that editors take home every night to critique, returning it the next day filled with sticky-note suggestions for the team to rework.

“The book would be empty at the beginning of the issue and as the design layouts were created, the interns would crop them and post them in the book,” said Speyer, noting they were responsible for creating three of these design books – two for the Teen Vogue editor and creative director and one for the Vogue editor.

“It’d get crazy at the end of the month but everyone was very nice and welcoming,” Speyer said. “They treated us very well.”

By the end of the summer, Speyer caught on to the in-house lingo and memorized where the placements of certain elements would appear monthly. Speyer worked on a collection of unique fonts for the design team to use and did some photo retouching, including the cover of one issue as an example for the professional re-toucher. Speyer was a part of the production of the August and September issues as well as portions of the October through January issues.

“This is exactly what I want to do with my life,” said Speyer, who studied graphic design and digital art at a school in New York before transferring to UT. “I am so excited that I was in the perfect place at the perfect time.”

Speyer is talking about her meeting with Vogue editors in the fall of 2010. Driven to find an internship that would put her on this career path of magazine publishing, Speyer had subscribed to the Intern Queen’s blog. Last summer she noticed a posting for the Teen Vogue Fashion University, a weekend workshop on working in the fashion industry.

Speyer applied and to her amazement, was accepted. In October she flew to New York where she took classes with a fashion photographer, toured the offices, including the Vogue fashion closet, and attended a seminar with Vogue editors. Taking the initiative and having a gut feeling she would be back at Vogue some day, Speyer introduced herself and handed her resume to one of the editors.

By the time she had returned to Tampa, she had an email waiting from the art assistant. Speyer shared samples of her work and over the December break, interviewed in New York, where she was given the internship on the spot.

“Alexa's internship with Teen Vogue is a highly prized and competitive internship opportunity in the heart of the publication industry in America,” said Tim Kennedy, a communication professor. “Opportunities like this are essential for our students as they give the students an experience you really can’t get in the classroom.”

Speyer said the one-and-a-half-hour commute from her Long Island home was more than worth it for this opportunity.

“The formal training you get at school is necessary. It’s really important to know the programs like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator,” she said. “But to know how a magazine works, you really need to be there. I can’t imagine walking straight into a job without having this internship.”


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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