We all want to land that dream internship — and, even more importantly, turn it into a job. While in college, Sydney Cooper made that dream a reality. While at Florida University, she interned for luxury “red bottoms” designer Christian Louboutin.
She now works full-time in fashion PR as a Junior Account Executive at Cindy Riccio Communications. Sydney talks about surviving an ultra-competitive industry, becoming a strong woman, and what it’s really like wearing those famous red-bottomed stilettos.
What was your biggest dream when you were in high school?
I saw myself working in fashion or sports, and was fairly certain I would work in public relations because I thought it would have the least amount of math. Of course, it turns out I actually use math every day now!
You were still in college when you landed a PR internship at Christian Louboutin. Going into that job, what were you most nervous about?
I was most nervous of the potential Devil Wears Prada incidents. I worried my personality would be viewed as too playful for the fashion industry. But it was an opposite experience! The hard work you put in is respected and rewarded with positive energy and encouragement.
What are some unexpected things you learned during the internship?
I had a great mentor during my internship who often gave me words of wisdom. The most important: in the the fashion industry, there are “workhorses” and there are “show ponies.” Looking the part isn’t nearly as valuable as truly being the part. People will always respect and recognize the hard work it takes behind-the-scenes.
Can you describe some of the responsibilities of being in fashion PR?
One of the biggest responsibilities is making sure you represent your brand 24-7. The relationships you form within the industry are extremely important. Working in-house for a fashion brand means you live and breathe that brand, so you must feel connected to and passionate about it and take ownership even outside of the office.
What were some of the perks? Is it true that Louboutins become more comfortable the more you wear them?
The greatest perk was being around extremely smart and successful women all day. I think I became a stronger feminist during my time there because I was constantly seeing what amazing work could come from a team of strong women.
What about the shoes?
I think you mentally accept that they’re not comfortable. In turn, you convince yourself that they become more comfortable the more you wear them!
What kinds of goals do you set for yourself and how do you stay motivated through stressful days?
I always try to look a year in advance to where I want to be and then set mini goals every day to get me there. So right now, I have a goal of having more relationships with people in this industry, so I try to reach out to editors and PR professionals whenever I can to help work toward that goal.
I stay motivated by doing just that, setting goals. Kanye West and Beyonce are my go-to artists for musical motivation. The Office, South Park, and Parks and Recreation are definitely my pick-me-up shows!
Sydney Cooper is living her dreams!
Interview conducted by Jennifer Kline, 1,000 Dreams Fund contributor