A little more fodder for the brewing internship debate: Vogue heroine Grace Coddington has weighed in.
“They’re there to learn and observe,” Coddington told The Cut last night. “I think there are a lot of interns that feel very entitled. They think we owe them something. Good ones come through though. You really notice them.”
We’ve been covering fashion internships quite a bit lately–from the landmark suit being brought against Hearst by a former Harper’s Bazaar intern, to intern horror stories, to Conde Nast’s overhaul of its internship program, it’s certainly a hot topic. Our readers tend to be split on the issue–some agree that interns are treated horribly and deserve better while others tend to side with Coddington:
“I’m so tired of hearing people complaining about internships,” commenter Elizabeth Jaime (and a former Fashionista intern!) wrote. “An internship is what you make of it. If you expect to be trying on shoes all day then you’re just not paying attention..to life in general. This is technically a LEARNING experience where you won’t only learn the ins and outs of working in your department/magazine but will also learn what you do and do not like to do.”
“I still think the 25 and under generation has more entitlement issues than I’ve ever witnessed before,” Kristen May Lee wrote. “Part of surviving in fashion is learning what to and not to tolerate with elegance and ethics.”
“Boo-FUCKING-Hoo. I mean, come on. This is nothing. I had things thrown at me, I was yelled at, I cleaned mugs and ashtrays and toilets, picked up laundry, dog shit, delivered gifts with a fever, got fired for my smart mouth and you know what? I loved it. Because I was in it. And I’m still here 25 years later.”
Still there are thoughtful arguments for interns being treated less like messengers and getting paid, even just a little:
“I get that internships are a way to ‘pay your dues’ but I don’t really understand what the difference is between getting someone to do shitty work for free, and getting someone to do shitty work for minimum wage,” Tyler McCall (our current intern!) wrote. “It’s not like the work itself needs to change (though, you know, maybe it does), it’s just that living in NYC or LA is outrageously expensive and you’re really limiting your field of workers to students. Who, duh, are mostly entitled since they’ve probably never worked a day in their spoiled lives and they have parents who can afford to foot the bill for their unpaid job. Pay minimum wage, open up the applicant field, you’ll see people who WANT to work in those jobs really quickly.”
Where do you stand? Are interns too entitled, like Grace and so many others tend to think, or are they taken advantage of?