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Vanity Internships Explained

Tue, Jul 17, 2012

Internship Information

The struggling job market doesn’t just affect us regular folk; it’s even starting to affect already established professionals and celebrities. Which is why such a thing as vanity internships exists. Many professionals are taking pay cuts and demotions to enter a vanity internship, making the interning field even more competitive for those just starting out.

A vanity internship means that someone who’s already well established in his or her field, whether a celebrity or not, decides to either enter a new industry or explore the possibilities of a new industry through an internship. As stated in the Huffington Post, they’re for professionals or celebrities who might think it’s fun to see what it’s like to work in an office building while not getting paid or getting paid very little.

There are several examples available of vanity internships, especially when it comes to celebrities. Maybe it’s their natural propensity to adapt to all kinds of roles, or the fact that they can do pretty much whatever they want, but they often like to dabble in different industries. For example, rapper Kanye West recently announced his intention to enter the fashion world last December. Apparently unhappy with his success in the music world he said he was going to relocate to London and intern with a famous fashion designer and within one month started designing shoes for Louis Vuitton. A celebrity bleeding into the fashion world is nothing new; West follows fellow musicians like Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, and Fergie.

Author James Frey, who got in trouble for fabricating details in a nonfiction book about his tenure in a rehab facility due to drug addiction, recently took an internship with Gawker.com. The main reason probably had to do with promoting his first fiction novel and to some image repair; Frey spent most of his one-day internship answering reader questions.

Blackbook magazine has had two vanity interns recently, actress Lydia Hearst and musician Ryan Adams. Adams wrote music reviews and Hearst didn’t do much apparently.

NHL player, Sean Avery, who’s gotten in trouble for his sailor’s mouth did an internship for Vogue. Like any old intern he was featured on the magazine’s website in a slideshow, worked as a model for a shoot, handed out a fashion award at an industry event, and dated Calvin Klein’s ex-wife.

You might think no industry is safe from these vanity internships. Before jumping ship out of your current industry thanks to the vanity interns, consider increasing your value in the job pool. Go and obtain a higher degree, like a masters in business with an MBA online program, get more certifications, or perform as much professional development as you can. A celebrity’s interest in your industry will probably vanish quickly and their interest will take a long time to equal your experience. When you are established, rich, or famous, just remember your desire to suddenly enter the fashion world could affect hardworking and unpaid people.

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