The following articles are from campus publications that interviewed me for articles regarding my work with Kaleidoscope Fashion Magazine, my magazine internships, and the career path I am perusing.

Note: I have highlighted my name in PINK so you don’t have to go searching : )

Kaleidoscope rolls out a candy-coated red carpet

By Michelle Lewis

East End Oyster & Martini Bar will look as sweet as Candyland Wednesday as UNC’s fashion magazine Kaleidoscope puts on their fifth annual fashion show, this year called “College Dream.”

The fashion show was inspired by the style of Katy Perry, said fashion director Samantha Brody, who put on the show with the help of assistant Katie Wood.

“I just thought it’d be really fun because she’s so out there with her style, so we could do something different,” Brody said.

The event will have lollipop and pinwheel props, candy-colored mocktails, half-price martinis, cupcakes and trays of candy. Katy Perry will soundtrack the entire night.

“It’s more of a Candyland dream than a college dream,” said director of Public Relations Nicole Holmes.

The show will feature the fashions of designers such as Herve Leger, Diane von Furstenberg, tibi and Parker. Local boutiques fab’rik, Uniquities, Scout & Molly’s and Julian’s — among others — let the magazine borrow clothes for the show. The more well known designers’ clothes are rented through the website Rent the Runway.

Editor-in-chief Maria Ward said the show will feature “hot new prints and colors, candy colors, jewel tones, very bright, punchy patterns and shades.”

Fashionistas who like what they see will receive pamphlets detailing where to buy all of the looks presented in the show. Kaleidoscope will also be raffling off items from local boutiques, with raffle tickets costing $1 each.

Attendees will have the opportunity to get their picture taken by Kaleidoscope photographers on a red carpet with an East End backdrop. The pictures will be posted on Kaleidoscope’s Facebook page.

The event is largely a student effort. The models are all UNC students, and the makeup and hair will be done by students at the Aveda Institute.

Ward said this year’s fashion show is an improvement from the 2008 show she put on as a freshman, in which all of the clothes came from the staff’s closets.

“At that point…we were still a young publication,” Ward said. “One of the biggest achievements we’ve had these past couple years is this great relationship with the boutiques.”

Deputy editor Kelsey Isenberg said that Kaleidoscope puts on fashion shows to show UNC and the surrounding community what they have to offer as a fashion magazine.

“It’s really fun to kind of bring what we do to life,” Isenberg said. “We can show what we have to offer in person rather than just in print.”

Published March 22, 2011

The Big Apple of their eye

An article from a CAFME student on alumni, New York City and magazines.

From Tar Heel Town to Manhattan, UNC-CH journalism-communication alumni take the Big City

By Alyssa Bailey

They fell in love with New York City during the summer.

John Zhang, ’07, was an intern at MTV. It was May 2005. He was a college student, working and enjoying his first taste of freedom. The days were long. The internship was unpaid. His home in Gastonia, N.C., was a flight away.

But he felt the energy that pulled him in. “Everyone you meet has different ideas,” Zhang said. “There are so many ambitious people. At a certain point, you feel inspired by that, the energy and the talent.”

Three years later, Maria Ward, ’11, came to the city. She worked at Seventeen magazine as a rising sophomore. She has returned to New York every summer since.

“With New York, you either get swept up in everything or blown down,” Ward said. “You either love it or you hate it. I loved it from the start.”

Zhang and Ward are two Tar Heels gone north. Zhang, who now works as a marketing manager at MTV, is one School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate of hundreds in the Big Apple. Ward, who will graduate from the school in December 2011, is one student of hundreds who can’t wait to join him.

And for both, in just one summer, the city that serves as the unofficial capital of the media industry stole their hearts.

Heading north

Of the thousands of journalism school graduates, 800 work in New York City, according to the school’s Office of Development and Alumni Affairs’ spring 2010 count. They can be found in many major news networks and print publications, including Cosmopolitan magazine, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The lure of New York begins with its 500-mile distance from Chapel Hill.

“I grew up in Chapel Hill and loved it,” said Amie Ray, ’97, National Hockey League’s senior manager of direct marketing. “But you can’t miss it if you don’t leave.”

New York’s similarity to Chapel Hill solidified her choice. “It has a lot of things that Chapel Hill has: diversity, great food, entertainment.”

Sara White, ’04, national television executive at The Associated Press, saw it as a reach city when applying for jobs. “I actually thought New York was one of those high-in-the-sky, no way, kind of things. But I put it on the list nonetheless because everyone dreams of working in New York.”

When she got a job offer at then-startup media company The NewsMarket, she took it. Just weeks after her commencement ceremony, she landed in LaGuardia Airport with two suitcases. She began work the next day and has been in New York since.

Like Zhang and Ward, Justin Lyons, ’06, the National Basketball Association’s coordinator of community relations, also first experienced the city during an internship. He worked at the National Football League. “Living in NYC during the summer is such a tease,” Lyons wrote in an e-mail interview. “Part of me longed to live that lifestyle for more than three months.”

Tiffany Black, ’02, senior producer for, was less enthusiastic about returning to that lifestyle. A Hackensack, N.J., native who grew up 30 minutes from Manhattan, Black would only return to New York for one reason: a job offer at The New York Times. She got it.

“I’m not so wed to New York or any other city for that matter,” Black wrote in an e-mail interview. “In eight years, I have lived in Philadelphia, Atlanta and now here. So who knows … where is next?”

Getting the job

For alumni, internships made all the difference during the first job search.

“Internships are the number one reason I got a job,” Amie Ray said. “You learn on-the-job skills you can’t prepare for in school, and, more importantly, make the contacts that will likely lead to your employment.”

Ray came to New York after working in Raleigh with the Carolina Hurricanes. She interned with the hockey team for two seasons after her 1997 graduation before taking her first job there.

Robin Hilmantel, ’09, an associate editor at Cosmopolitan, received her job because of ties she made during her summer as a rising senior at the magazine.

“I knew it was really difficult to get a magazine job right out of college,” Hilmantel said. “But I thought, ‘I’ll move to New York, I’ll do a paid internship and I’ll search for jobs while I’m there.’

“Then at the same time, I got an e-mail about an opening at Cosmo from one of the editors I had been keeping in touch with. I applied for [it], but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.” Instead, Hilmantel had accepted work as an editorial intern at When Cosmo called to offer the editorial assistant position, she dropped the internship and took the job.

Sara White and Justin Lyons targeted cities other than New York when searching for jobs. “Once I decided on that list, I began to research companies and opportunities in those markets,” Lyons wrote.

“I applied for a job at the NBA in October, interviewed in November and January and received a job offer in February. While at UNC, I never thought I would have my dream job [in New York] by the age of 24.”

For White, landing her first job was a matter of being at the right place at the right time. She didn’t plan to work in marketing or at a startup company, but “one thing led to another, and I ended up in just that and really enjoyed it,” she said.

“Things have just evolved over the almost seven years in New York. It’s all about making connections and meeting the right people and not passing up an opportunity even if it was something you never thought about or weren’t initially interested in.” White now works at The Associated Press, where she’s been since April 2007, and travels between New York and Los Angeles, working with national broadcasters.

Settling in

The transition to New York City went beyond the office. “Being suddenly ripped from a world of SUVs and strip malls, while awesome, has some logistical kinks you have to work out,” Ray said. Taking big purchases, such as TVs, home proved difficult without a car.

“You have to work so much harder to get things to your apartment,” Hilmantel said. “I probably go to the grocery store three times a week now, and I never would’ve done that before.”

The cost of living in New York is 81 percent higher than that of the Triangle, according to An editorial assistant job, considered an entry-level position in the magazine industry, pays $35,000 to $40,000, editors reported to’s anonymous salary reports.

The jobs “do not pay well, and you will have to work your way up,” Tiffany Black said.

“I wish there was a class at Carolina, even if it was a 3-hour required seminar, just to explain the [financial] basics like the difference in gross pay and net pay and how much rent you can really afford,” she said. “I’m still paying off student loans and credit cards because I wasn’t taught those basic finance things at home [or] at school.”

“Things do add up really fast,” Hilmantel said. She recounts an incident when she and her boyfriend went to a restaurant and ended up paying $120 after tip for dinner — despite ordering from a $35-prix fixe menu. “If you get one extra drink or something like dessert, it can be really expensive here.”

Time, Inc., Senior Brand Manager Dennis Marcel, ’03, emphasized knowing the limits. “Everything’s always open,” he said. “It’s the city that never sleeps. It’s definitely very easy to go ahead and blow through a lot of cash. So especially starting out, it’s important to figure out, realistically, ‘What are my finances?’

“If you just move up here looking for a job, … have some set timelines of ‘All right, I can go ahead and wait tables for six months but after that, I need to go ahead and do something [different].’”

For White, born and raised in North Carolina, it took “a good year before feeling at home — settled and really understanding the city.”

Still, the ends justified the means. “Everything felt a little different for a while, but after all, I was living and working in New York City,” she said. “You couldn’t have a better experience as a new graduate in the media industry.”

Looking back

Despite the glitz and glamour of New York, the Tar Heel spirit and UNC-CH memories live on in graduates.

“[I] mostly miss just being a college student most,” said Annie Godwin Cauthren, ’04, account supervisor and vice president at Ketchum, a public relations agency. Cauthren moved to New York three weeks after her graduation. The college years were the “best years you’ll ever have. People say that all the time, but it couldn’t be more true.”

Pinehurst, N.C., native Sara White misses the charm of the South. “The way of life and quality of life in Chapel Hill and in the town I grew up in can’t be beat.”

Robin Hilmantel misses the pride and school spirit. “People are just so excited to have gone to UNC, and whenever I meet someone, we have that instant bond.

“Other people I know now will laugh at how into Carolina I am. You don’t realize it, but [the spirit is] not like that everywhere.”

Tar Heel pride led to Hilmantel’s first set of friends, UNC-CH graduates. When she moved to New York last year, “I had some of my friends from UNC tell me about other UNC grads they knew who had moved here,” she said. “We actually went to watch a lot of the [UNC-CH] games together at sports bars.”

This spirit also transfers to helping current students. “There is a strong Carolina contingent in Manhattan and folks eager to help with finding apartments and getting new alums involved in happenings in the area,” Cauthren said. New York Carolina Club, a branch of the General Alumni Association, for example, hosts alumni events such as cocktail and game-viewing parties.

The next generation

On campus, many journalism students aspire to follow the paths of alumni. The Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors is one organization that focuses on networking for the magazine industry. It is a branch of Ed2010, a national organization founded by magazine editors to help up-and-comers break into the industry.

The UNC-CH chapter was founded in 2006 by Cassandra Zink and LaToya Evans, said Sierra Piland, a junior and the club’s ’10-11 president. This year, of the 87 paid members, about 30 attend each meeting. The club is planning a New York City trip for the spring.

“I sincerely believe everyone that would consider working in the magazine industry join CAFME and attend meetings regularly,” Piland wrote in an e-mail interview. “We want students to get involved on campus with publications and meet other students that can become professional contacts. You really should get to know your competition while enjoying each other and having real friendships, too.”

Some of CAFME’s members have interned in New York. Vice President MaryAnn Barone, a senior, worked at Fitness and Cosmopolitan magazines. “I never had the same day twice at either internship, which I like,” Barone wrote. “Magazines aren’t as structured day to day, and I really enjoyed not knowing what I would be up to.”

For Barone, the Big Apple’s lure began at the skyline. “I used to love to look out my window … whenever we’d travel to New York. I’ve always wanted to live there.”

As she applies for jobs, she feels ready for the industry. “I’ve been preparing for my career for a long time, and I can’t wait to see what happens!”

Kelsey Isenberg, a junior who interned at Marie Claire, was charmed by the city’s diversity. “Whether it’s Elmo sitting next to you on the subway, a man jumping over four people, or 14-year-olds break-dancing on a moving train, there is always something exciting going on,” she wrote.

A fashion intern at Marie Claire, Isenberg checked in and out clothes that public relations or fashion houses sent over, picked up clothes from those places, organized the magazine’s fashion closet and pulled out clothes for photo shoots. “Every day at the magazine was intense, fast-paced and hectic,” she said. “It was sometimes stressful and frustrating, but I learned a lot about the industry and loved the experience.”

When she looks to her future, she knows one thing: “I definitely plan on being in New York.”

For senior Maria Ward, the road to Manhattan was not without detractors. When she announced her plans to apply to a New York magazine for her first internship,“so many people told me that I was setting the bar too high.

“But I just stayed home all of spring break, and … worked on my résumé and … my cover letters.” She applied for Seventeen and Self and received internship offers from both. She accepted the former’s.

“You just have to go for it because if you’re really good, you’d be surprised at what you can do,” Ward said.

She has since interned at Glamour and Vogue. As Ward prepares to graduate in December 2011, she feels certain she’ll find a job somewhere in New York.

“It is kind of scary going into a job field like [this],” she said. “But I feel like this is what I’m meant to do. I can’t see myself doing anything else, and I don’t feel like I’m as good at anything else …. I feel like it will work out.”

Alumni Advice

From making friends to landing the job, seven UNC-CH alumni share their tips for making it in New York City.

• Find someone to get advice from, Amie Ray says. “Ask friends about the best places to shop and eat. There are many good deals to be found. You just need to know where they are.” Her tip? Stay out of midtown.

• Don’t be afraid to take a risk, N.Y. native Annie Godwin Cauthren says. “I once thought I wanted to go into music publicity and randomly emailed someone at Interscope Records … who I discovered grew up near me. I expressed my passion for the field and interest in potentially working with them. One day later, I had an interview offer [for the] next time I was in New York City, which I later took them up on when I was home for a visit. I was eventually extended an opportunity to work there.”

• Figure out what you’re passionate about, Dennis Marcel says. “It’s pretty easy to go ahead and want to go for the job that has the highest salary. But more importantly, what are you really passionate about? Because if you find that, you are clearly going to earn a higher salary later …. You’re going to be really successful at what you do because it’s what you love.”

• Know what you want, says Jeff Eisenberg, ’05, an advertising programs manager for Google. “The amazing thing about New York City is that you can find anything you’re interested [in] — from every cuisine to every sports activity. You just have to know what you want and like because it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant activity and choices available here.”

• Move to New York if you want a job here, Robin Hilmantel says. “You can’t just sit in North Carolina or wherever you live. No one’s going to hire you when you live in another state no matter how awesome you are because they have so many qualified people who are already here and who can start tomorrow.

“If you want to do it, don’t let not having a job stop you because that can come later, or you can work at Starbucks if you need to for a while.”

• Find a roommate, Tiffany Black says. “It will make the transition easier if you have a roommate who is moving here like you or who already lived here and can serve as a guide and introduce you to the city.”

• Don’t count small companies out, Sara White says. “The important part is getting here, putting your foot in the door and having experience. I might not have ended up meeting the mentors I have, working for the companies I have if I had been dead set on my interview at at a large media company.”

• While adjusting, stay patient, Justin Lyons says. “It takes time to get used to the new situation. Once the dust settles, you will thoroughly enjoy it.”

Intern Tips

UNC-CH students Kelsey Isenberg, MaryAnn Barone, Maria Ward and Sierra Piland shared their tips for making the most of an internship in New York City.

• When applying for a job, be persistent, Isenberg says. “Follow up after your first e-mail, thank them for taking the time to interview with you, make sure you are prepared for your interviews. If you don’t get one job, keep trying.”

• Once in New York, keep your eyes open. “You never know what you’re going to see.” Isenberg cites when she met rap artist LL Cool J on an elevator. She didn’t realize it was him until after he got off the elevator. “I was too tired to pay attention to who I was talking to when he asked me how I was.”

• Eat at family-owned eateries to save money, Barone says. “I love Starbucks, but I would only buy the iced coffee option — it’s only $2.10 in the summertime — instead of a specialty drink. I also brought pecans and trail mix to eat in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to buy a lot at lunch.”

• When shopping, set limits. “I only bought things I knew no one else would have,” Barone says. “I love thrift shops, and I got a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans for $25! I saved more than $100, so that was so worth it. I’m not an impulse buyer, so I definitely reminded myself that what I got I would wear for years to come.”

• Read the books out there, Ward says. “I have a couple of books, like Next Day Interviews, that I read before every interview.

“I feel like most of the interviews, I’ve answered all the questions they wanted, but I came prepared knowing certain things I wanted to highlight and steered the conversation so I could mention [them].”

• Overdress. Ward would purposely dress like her editors in high heels and a dress or skirt every day. She caught the right pair of eyes. At Glamour, “my boss took notice of [my style] and said that she noticed it during my interview, too. She had me do a blog every week on dressing for the job you want, not the job you have.”

• Set up informational interviews, Piland says. “I have held many informational interviews with students, faculty and alumni. People will help you out because they have been there. I believe networking is so important.”

• Be proactive. “I really believe in being a hard worker and preparing yourself in any way possible for the future,” Piland says. She suggests leveraging personal networks and getting involved in school organizations such as CAFME. “The information you learn through these organizations and other students is priceless.”’

Published January 15, 2011

UNC’s Kaleidoscope Fashion Magazine unveils fall edition at red carpet party

By Ali Rockett

Red carpet. Paparazzi. Martinis and Models.

Wednesday night, Hollywood is coming to East End Oyster & Martini Bar for Kaleidoscope Fashion Magazine’s fall edition release party.

“It’s nice to feel like a celebrity for a night,” said Editor-in-Chief Maria Ward.

It will to be a night of glitz and glam — and of course, fashion. East End rolls out the red carpet — literally — and opens its doors at 10 p.m. The event is open to the public and will feature half-priced drinks — and mock tails for those under 21 — as well as free cupcakes. East End’s DJ will provide the music and the magazine’s models will hand out the newest edition.

“It’s a little bit more ‘Sex and the City’ and glamorous sipping a martini all dressed up,” said Kelsie Murdock, public relations director for the magazine.

Murdock said the semi-formal dress code won’t be enforced, but the staff is excited for the opportunity to wear their newest cocktail dresses.

“The fashion police will not be there,” Murdock said. “But there will be fashion observers.”

Jessi Tremayne and Chandler Leik, the models on the cover of fall issue, and three other models will be working the event. Kaleidoscope’s fashion director Samantha Brody said the models will be dressed classic Hollywood style, wearing black cocktail dresses, gloves and red lipstick.

“We want them to be easily identifiable and noticeable,” Brody said.

Along with handing out magazines, the models will pose for pictures with guests in front of East End’s paparazzi backdrop.

This is Kaleidoscope’s first event of the year. The magazine typically promotes its fall issue with a release party and its spring issue with a fashion show, but this year it hopes to incorporate more events to connect with readers.

Because the magazine is funded through the school, it — like most campus clubs — is feeling the effects of the University’s budget cuts, Murdock said.

The proceeds from ticket sales will go to the magazine. Kaleidoscope staff will be in the pit today before the event, selling tickets at a discounted price of $4. Entry can also be purchased at the door for $5.

Although, it is a fashion magazine, Kaleidoscope’s articles range from actual fashion to beauty style tips, nutrition and exercise. The fall edition features a cocktail calorie counter, tips for freshening up after a long night of studying, a self-defense article with a how-to on throwing a punch and an urban chic fashion spread, editor in chief Maria Ward said.

“We cater to the UNC female student, not the female student’s wardrobe,” Murdock said.

If you miss the Red Carpet affair Wednesday night, Kaleidoscope’s newest edition will available at all UNC Libraries and the Student Union on Thursday morning

Published October 26, 2010


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