Model talent scout
Not long ago, Danyelle Donnavone was an intern for Diamond Productions Modeling and Talent agency in Atlanta. Now she works there full time, searching for talent and booking models for jobs.
Donnavone scopes malls, college campuses and clubs for potential models. Got a look she thinks will work? She'll approach you, tell you, "You could be a model," then waits for your inevitable response: "Yeah, right."
"I get that a lot," she says.
But if she convinces you to give it a try (there's more to the perfect look than a pretty face), she'll give you her business card and a contact sheet with more info. You'll give her a call, go in for an interview, and if everything works out, you'll get head shots done and be matched to a job.
That "job" could mean being a spokesperson for a company working on a commercial, being on a billboard or magazine ad or on TV. Donnavone's agency recently provided models to present awards for the Hip Hop BET awards.
"It's all about booking models for as many jobs as possible," she says. "The more models you find, the bigger your paycheck is."
Clothing label public relations rep
Oscar Montes de Oca got his start in the fashion industry as a stylist and fashion editor.
"A cousin suggested that I work as a stylist since everyone I knew and their friends were asking me for help with their looks," he says. "A few weeks later, I left my job in an investment banking firm and have not looked back."
Now, Montes de Oca is an account executive/PR rep for Squeeze Jeans (sqz.com).
He helps stores buy the right products at the right prices, and makes sure the orders go through smoothly. As a PR rep, he shops the market for media buys and product placements.
"A lot of people think it's all parties, but it's more work than party," he says. "Read, read, read up on the field. Just because you can dress yourself nicely, that does not make you a fashion designer or stylist."
To break into the modeling world, you have to be outgoing and able to persuade people.
Donnavone herself was a pre-law major. But if fashion's your calling, Donnavone says not to let your major stand in your way.
"If you know you want to do something, do it," she says.
Clothing line designer
Megan Lucier is a junior technical designer for a clothing label in Boston.
"My job is overseeing all garment samples to make sure they are measured, processed, and fit on either dress forms or our fit model," she says.
Lucier majored in the two-year fashion design program at Bay State College in Boston. There, she took classes in pattern making, tailoring, computer-aided design, textiles, fashion show production, draping, art courses and history of fashion.
Lucier wasn't some prodigy sewer for whom the fashion industry was made; before going to college, she'd never even used a sewing machine.
But ever since she was young and watching pageants on TV, she was interested in how to put together gorgeous outfits for less money.
And then, at 17, she got a job at Kmart.
"I was responsible for the entire women's department," she says. "I got to see all the new fashions—and who ever really thinks of Kmart as a fashionable store? But there actually were newer, updated clothing lines being added, and I got to play with the clothes all day long."
A full-time job in the fashion design industry, though, isn't all about playing with clothes.
"The industry is tough," she says. "I work behind the scenes—it's not all fashion shows and store displays. I put in very long days, but the payoff is the gratification I feel when I know what I'm doing is making a difference."