Last night, the YMA Scholarship Association held a panel discussion at FIT featuring industry vets like Michael Bastian, Alexis Bittar, Lori Goldstein, Cynthia Rowley and Terron Schaefer. The lively conversation was moderated by one of our favorite people, Mickey Boardman, so of course, hilarity ensued–but so did tons of inspiring and insightful first-hand stories and advice.
Both Bittar and Bastian, for instance, spoke of their humble beginnings–and how important it is to work your way up in the industry. Bittar told the audience how, in 1982, he got his start selling vintage jewelry on St Marks when he was just 13. “You all probably don’t know what the Village was like in the ’80s because you were all probably born in 1982,” he said jokingly. “More like ’92,” Mickey countered.
Bastian, on the other hand, said his first job working at Abraham & Strauss was nothing like he had hoped for. “I didn’t do so well there,” he said. “It was so awful. At that time, budget handbags were a knock-off of the Gap. That’s how low budget handbags got.” Yikes.
Of course the lesson here is that most careers don’t start at the top: In fact, even the most glamorous and successful people in the industry began at-not-so-glamorous (or cool, or enjoyable) jobs. So keep trucking–with hard work, you’ll definitely make it.
Speaking of which, here’s the moment that Mickey Boardman realized he had ‘made it’:
“I was in Romania and I went to this palace and it was closed! There were people there, but for some reason it was closed and the woman who was the tour guide had seen me talking about Britney Spears’s hot-tub on VH1. She said, ‘Haven’t I seen you on VH1?’ I said yes, and she said, ‘Come on, I’ll give you a private tour.’ Bad TV changes lives around the world.”
And, just for fun, here’s another story–or, a how-to guide on getting fired–from the inimitable Mr. Mickey.
“One bad intern experience I had [was when] I got an email from someone at V magazine saying that Nicki Minaj was on the new cover, and we had been trying to have Nicki Minaj on our cover and she was going to perform at this party.” he began. “I said to my friend across the room, ‘Ugh, Nicki Minaj is on the cover of V. Now she doesn’t care; now she won’t want to do our party.’ This intern tweeted, ‘Mr. Mickey is freaking out that Nicki Minaj is on the cover of V.’ I said, ‘I need this kid’s phone number, and I’m going call him and make him rue the day he was born.’ The next day I went over to him and said, ‘I’m here to show you what Mr. Mickey freaking out really looks like.’”
Well, there you go. What did you learn?