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.”