Fordham Student Goes from Internship Hell to Freebie Heaven


Published February 4, 2010

I’m what you’d call a “product junkie.”  I purchase hair, skincare and cosmetics products like my bank account is bottomless (it’s not).  Buying a new lip gloss or witnessing the launch of a new mascara feels like Christmas morning.  I’ve held part-time jobs with both Sephora and Chanel, and thrived on all the samples and testers that I could manage to fit into my purse at the end of the week. Every other part-time job I’ve held was for the sole purpose of fueling my cosmetic buying spree.

From getting as much free makeup as you want to creating a spreadsheet of your boss’s tweets, interning definitely has its highs and lows.(Lucy Sutton/The Observer)

So, when I was offered an internship last semester at a company that prides itself on providing women with “affordable luxury cosmetics” for just one, three, and five dollars, I thought I’d hit the jackpot.

How wrong I was.

I spent the first three weeks at this internship making a spread sheet of every Youtube video the company had ever been featured in. There were moments during these three weeks where I wanted to gouge my burning eyes out just to stop seeing images of 12-year-old girls attempting to apply our one dollar eye shadow to look just like Rihanna, or watching fifty-year-old “goth” moms create the ultimate satanic look using our three dollar liquid liner. I had to save this mega spreadsheet on my personal laptop that I lugged back and forth each day to work, which eventually caused its hard-drive failure during midterm week.

After these first three weeks of hell I tried to convince myself that these people had to have hired me to do something, anything, that was mildly important.

At this point I would have happily reorganized the product closet just so I could escape the woman in the cubicle next to me, whose frequent phone conversations about her three-year-old daughter with a schedule more jam-packed than mine were making me feel socially inadequate.

When the day came that my boss called me into his office with news that he had a new project for me, I was ecstatic. I was then told that I would be going through his business cards and friending people on his facebook account.  I was under strict orders to add a smiley face when friending women, but to leave that smiley face out for the men.

The next week, I found myself sitting right in the middle of a heated battlefield. I sat there trying to make myself invisible while the Scottish visual arts guy called my boss an “arse” and stormed out. I quietly pretended to not exist when the woman seated in front of me was asked by my boss to switch desks with me, and ducked several times as she hurled paperwork from one desk to the other.  I came in to “make-up” the day I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving when the office was closed, created a twenty page spreadsheet of everything my boss had ever “tweeted” on his Twitter account, and even babysat that three-year-old at the office one morning, who turned out to be even more obnoxious then I thought she’d be.

When I ended this internship and was offered a position as a beauty intern at a magazine, I didn’t have very high hopes. I had come to believe that the purpose of an internship was to be used and abused so that you could use fancy words to make it look like you had been incredibly important on your resume.

Wrong again.

On my first day I was given a tour of the product closet.  As I admired the new, not yet available in stores line of MAC blushes, my boss nonchalantly said, “Oh, by the way, you can take whatever you want.” Choking back tears of happiness, I smiled and thanked her, then started mentally noting what would be coming home with me.

As I sat at my desk with my very own computer and phone line courtesly provided by the company, I received e-mails from the public relations departments of my favorite cosmetic brands welcoming me to the team. I got to go through tons of press releases detailing all the new products that are launching this spring. Some of these releases came in on zip drives, which I even got to keep after I took the information off of them, insuring that my laptop would never have to suffer the wrath of hard drive failure ever again.

On day two my inbox was full of free events that I was asked to attend.  A free waxing by a celebrity waxing artist, a new salon offering me a free hair cut and color, an invitation to the launch of a new line at Henri Bendel,  including complimentary champagne and a gift bag filled with all the new product launches. I had hit the jackpot, and RSVPed faster than you can say Laura Mercier.

My calendar is now as full as that annoying three-year-old’s due to all the fabulous events I’ve been asked to attend. And, with endless free products at my fingertips, I won’t have to take on another job to support my compulsive cosmetic shopping habit. Well, at least not for the next five months.