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Diya Liu: Front Row College Challenge Winner

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Diya Liu: Front Row College Challenge Winner

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Hi, Marie Claire readers! I am excited to blog about my internship here at the magazine. First, a little bit about myself: I graduated with double majors in biochemistry and chemical engineering in December 2011. I also worked in a biotechnology research lab for most of my undergraduate years, and owned a fashion blog called In Her Stilettos (diyainherstilettos.com). This fall, I am headed to law school on a full ride scholarship with plans to go into the field of Fashion Intellectual Property Law.

Words cannot describe how excited I was to have learned that I won the Front Row Challenge back in December. Now, I have the opportunity to get a sample of the various jobs in the fashion industry. I hope to get the most out of these internships by listening carefully to all of the meetings I get to sit in on and asking as many questions as I can think of.

Day 1: I arrived at Hearst Tower at 10AM. Even though I'd already been here once before during the planning stages of the Front Row Challenge, I still couldn’t get over the sheer size of the building, nor could I navigate the elevators. I also freaked out about my outfit since the dorm I'm staying in doesn't have a full-length mirror. I tried to casually check out my outfit in the mirrored walls of the elevator. I'm sure I looked like the epitome of grace (not.) Kaitlin greets me at the 34th floor, gave me a brief tour of the building, and introduced me to everyone at the magazine. We passed by the labs at Good Housekeeping and we both remarked how cool it would be to test products in the lab all day. They seemed to be testing paper towels today — there was a mountain of the product from different brands stacked in the lab. After the tour, I sat in on a meeting about coming up with a collaboration opportunity with a makeup brand. I sat there fascinated with the considerations that go behind each seemingly straightforward ad page.

Then, it was lunchtime with some of the Marie Claire marketing gals. I was asked about the Front Row Challenge experience: How I put together the show and what obstacles I had to overcome. Full from sweet potato fries and a salmon salad after lunch, I was given a project: to do blogger outreach in certain cities for upcoming collaborations. Thankfully, due to my two years of blogging experience, I knew exactly what bloggers to reach out to and what to write to them. I quickly typed up the emails and before I knew it, it was 5PM and I’m dismissed. My first day was intimidating, but I survived!

Day 2: My day at Hearst started with a presentation on the basics of marketing. All of this information was new and vastly interesting to me, as I never took a single marketing course in college. I am beginning to appreciate the little details that I never thought about before my time at Marie Claire. I feel like I'm starting to understand the business side of the fashion business. After the meeting, I was told to write down some goals of what I wanted to accomplish while at my internships with Marie Claire, LOFT, and Rimmel London. This was a very complex question and it took me a while to come up with cohesive and concrete goals. Even though my passion is in fashion editorials, every department's job seemed so fascinating to me. I wanted to learn about everything! Could I just write that?

I am dismissed early due to the Independence Day holiday. Time to figure out the subway system and explore Soho! I can't believe it is only day two; I’ve learned so much already.

Day 3: After a day off for July 4th, I started developing a script for a trend video. While I love to write, I hadn't done a creative writing project since high school. It took me forever to achieve the right tone and goals and before I knew it, it was lunchtime. After lunch, I got to location scout for another upcoming campaign collaboration in one of my favorite cities — Austin, Texas! After living in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the world, I easily picked out a few shoot locations for the campaign. Location scouting made me a bit homesick and hungry for barbecue, though.

Day 4: It's Friday! I first walked around downtown to take streetstyle snaps on my DLSR for the Marie Claire inspiration board and then finished up a beauty contest project. The city was unbearably hot today — am I back in Texas? I finished early and went home to enjoy my weekend exploring the city.

Day 5: Today is the first day that the entire editorial team is back in the office after being in Europe all of last week. I see Zanna Roberts Rassi breeze by in an impeccable outfit; it's so strange to see faces that are frequently featured on top street style blogs and hailed as fashion icons working in the same space as I am. I completed a social media project after my requisite cup of coffee.

Day 6: Today was one of my favorite days at work thus far. I got to style the outfits for an upcoming shoot. I decided to bring the outfits to life by sketching them out and had great fun dusting off my rusty fashion illustration skills. Afterwards, I got to visit the Beauty Closet and see where the magic happens. The beauty department was getting ready for a charity clearance sale on all the makeup items from past shoots and I was a tiny bit sad that I wouldn’t be here for the sale…until the editors told me I could take a few items from the sale boxes now! As someone who is not a makeup junkie (I use the same makeup items over and over) I am excited to try out some exciting new products. I can't wait to learn more about the beauty business when I go intern for Rimmel London later this month!

Day 5: I got to pick the brains of the MarieClaire.com team and learned so much about everything from what "popular evergreens" are to how MC's editorial calendars are run. After the meeting, I spent the rest of the day watching the filming of a Project Runway episode. I had so much fun watching how everyone on set does it all — after I got over being star-struck.

Day 8: Today is my last day as the Hearst Tower is closed Friday. I don't want to leave! Tonight I will be attending the Project Runway All Stars Finale Runway Show. I had no idea what to wear, so I wore a military-style studded shirt as a jacket over a beaded dress. If the event's more formal, I can always lose the shirt and wear the cocktail dress around. I'm so nervous!

I'm also really excited in anticipation of my internships at LOFT and Rimmel London, and I'm sure I will learn as much there as I did here. Thanks, Marie Claire, for the amazing experience and opportunity!

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One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

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