Confessions of a Crazed Fashion Fan: Stalking Joe Zee (But Not In a Creepy Way, Swear)

Meet our summer intern Morgan. She is only 16 but she's probably more die-hard about fashion than you are. Let her prove it to you with her new series, "Confessions of a Crazed Fashion Fan." In Morgan's own words, "Stuck in public school in a small town, every time I read an article or looked at a blog (400 a day to be exact) I felt closer to the world I so desperately craved to be in. My motto quickly became "One day..." I would repeat it to myself every time I read about an amazing event on Style.com or watched a Prabal Gurung fashion show. "One day that will be me." So what happened when my far-off fantasies started to become a reality? Read on. My first exposure to the high fashion world beyond the glossy pages of magazines came on a trip to New York City with my Girl Scout troop. My fellow scouts may having dreaming about spotting a celebrity--but I was crossing my fingers for an editor sighting. And then it happened. On the subway. There he was, through the smudged window of a train: Joe Zee, the Creative Director of ELLE magazine. I recognized him from my late nights studying his "A to Zee" column, and after shoving my group of girls--who thought it was Jay-Z--onto that car, I sat down to stare (literally, stare...he definitely noticed). Though I never worked up the courage to talk him that day, my obsession adoration for the magazine editor only grew over the years.
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Meet our summer intern Morgan. She is only 16 but she's probably more die-hard about fashion than you are. Let her prove it to you with her new series, "Confessions of a Crazed Fashion Fan." In Morgan's own words, "Stuck in public school in a small town, every time I read an article or looked at a blog (400 a day to be exact) I felt closer to the world I so desperately craved to be in. My motto quickly became "One day..." I would repeat it to myself every time I read about an amazing event on Style.com or watched a Prabal Gurung fashion show. "One day that will be me." So what happened when my far-off fantasies started to become a reality? Read on. My first exposure to the high fashion world beyond the glossy pages of magazines came on a trip to New York City with my Girl Scout troop. My fellow scouts may having dreaming about spotting a celebrity--but I was crossing my fingers for an editor sighting. And then it happened. On the subway. There he was, through the smudged window of a train: Joe Zee, the Creative Director of ELLE magazine. I recognized him from my late nights studying his "A to Zee" column, and after shoving my group of girls--who thought it was Jay-Z--onto that car, I sat down to stare (literally, stare...he definitely noticed). Though I never worked up the courage to talk him that day, my obsession adoration for the magazine editor only grew over the years.
That's me on the right in the fashion closet!

That's me on the right in the fashion closet!

Meet our summer intern Morgan. She is only 16 but she's probably more die-hard about fashion than you are. Let her prove it to you with her new series, "Confessions of a Crazed Fashion Fan." In Morgan's own words, "Stuck in public school in a small town, every time I read an article or looked at a blog (400 a day to be exact) I felt closer to the world I so desperately craved to be in. My motto quickly became "One day..." I would repeat it to myself every time I read about an amazing event on Style.com or watched a Prabal Gurung fashion show. "One day that will be me." So what happened when my far-off fantasies started to become a reality? Read on.

My first exposure to the high fashion world beyond the glossy pages of magazines came on a trip to New York City with my Girl Scout troop.

My fellow scouts may having dreaming about spotting a celebrity--but I was crossing my fingers for an editor sighting. And then it happened. On the subway. There he was, through the smudged window of a train: Joe Zee, the Creative Director of ELLE magazine. I recognized him from my late nights studying his "A to Zee" column, and after shoving my group of girls--who thought it was Jay-Z--onto that car, I sat down to stare (literally, stare...he definitely noticed). Though I never worked up the courage to talk him that day, my obsession adoration for the magazine editor only grew over the years.

Fast forward almost two years later, when I was driving to Savannah, Georgia with my friend Maddy, and her father to see the Savannah College of Art and Design senior fashion show at 4:00. I knew Andre Leon Talley was going to be there (that's a story for another day) and I mentioned to Maddy that if I ever got the chance meet him, I would make an impression because I regretted not talking to Joe so immensely.

After catching the show and vintage shopping for a little while, I was scrolling through Twitter. Suddenly, I stumbled upon this:

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That tweet caused my heart to beat faster than a text message from a cute boy ever could. A flurry of thoughts ran through my head: "Joe Zee is in Savannah! He is at the theatre! He is two blocks from here!"...but most of all..."I can't believe this is happening to ME!" I finally had the chance to redeem myself!

Within the span of about five minutes, I was sprinting (and I do not run) back to the theatre while searching for a well-dressed Asian man. I spotted him, and in my mind, I strolled up to him and introduced myself. Casually. In reality, I burst into tears. Yes, actual puffy-eyed red-faced tears like the kind that come uncontrollably while watching a Nicholas Sparks movie. (This is where the name Confessions of a "Crazed" Fan comes from.) Thankfully, he was not completely creeped out, but charmed (I hope). He tweeted me this that night:

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Fast forward again two months later, I was planning on visiting New York City to see my friend, Caroline, and I couldn't get Joe's tweet out of my head. Finally, two days before my trip, I came up with the idea to write a rap about Joe and send it to him via Twitter. Yes, rapping...my little brother beat boxed. Watch it here.

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About 20 minutes after I tweeted the video, I was putting on my Cold Stone Creamery uniform before my shift when my phone lit up. In the moment I saw his reply, I was so consumed with a feeling that I could only compare to being proposed to by Andrew Garfield himself. I was going to see ELLE magazine. Me!

Me and Joe Zee. No biggie.

Me and Joe Zee. No biggie.

This kind of thing doesn't happen to me! Receiving Amazon.com packages in the mail is the most exciting thing that happens in my life. All night, between well-practiced queries of "Would you like that in a waffle bowl or cone?" and "What would you like mixed in your ice cream?" I was planning every detail of my trip.

Finally I got to New York, and Caroline and I were riding the elevator to the 41st floor of the Time & Life building. We pushed our way through the glass doors, and then we were just standing there in the middle of the office. "What do we do?" Caroline whispered to me. I treated it exactly like my first day freshman year of high school. "Just keep walking, and look like you know where you are going," I said.

After a few minutes of feeling out-of-place, I quickly slid over to someone who looked nice and intern-like. "Hi, umm, we are looking for Sarah Schussheim," I said. She quickly retrieved Sarah, who is Joe's assistant, and then explained to me that the lobby I needed was in the other direction. Awkward.

Sarah then told me that we just missed Joe and that he was on a flight to Canada. Though I wasn't getting to see Joe, I was still in ELLE freaking magazine, and I was NOT going to let his absence get me down and was treated to a tour.

First we went to the accessories closet. There were rows and rows of Prada shoes. Prada, guys. I wanted to twirl around and fall into a pile of them, but I'm assuming I would have looked really stupid in front of the editors and that a pair of Louboutins would stab me in the back. So I decided against that. The fashion assistants started asking what exactly we were doing there, so I explained the whole situation, which then led to me watching my rap with them and ten interns. I turned about as bright red as the J.Crew-via-Goodwill skirt I was wearing.

The tour ended but I didn't want to leave. Then lo! Two days later, at 8 am, I got an email from Sarah. Joe was going to be in the office around noon, and he would love to talk to me for real this time. This also happened to be the day I was leaving... like on a scheduled flight that I couldn't miss at 2 pm. Frantically, I packed all of my things, threw on the cutest outfit I could find and hopped into a taxi back to the the 6th Avenue offices. Going from ELLE to the airport was about as close as I have ever been to jet-setting.

Finally, there I found myself again, sitting in Joe Zee's office. We talked for a bit; Caroline and I told him about our passion for the industry. He offered advice, general wisdom, and most importantly--support. I got to hear my idol give his validation for a career that most of my peers didn't understand. It was amazing.

After our talk, he gave us his business card (it's now hung on my wall), and a hug goodbye. The tears again started to well up in my eyes. "Don't cry," he said. "It's only fashion."