From the Red Cedar to the Runway

Communication senior Grace Kinerk spent her summer among designers, celebrities and all the latest fashions in New York City. Kinerk held a production assistant (PA) position for Project Runway, a reality TV show in which contestants compete in challenges to become the next high-end fashion designer. Kinerk interned for the 16th season of Project Runway which premiered in August 2017.

Finding Your Passion

Kinerk had no previous experience in the film or television industry prior to her internship. She was enrolled in a film elective last spring, and realized how interested she was in the production process. Kinerk had contacts within the industry through her family friends. She reached out via email with her resume and received an interview the following week. Family and friends are a great resource for gaining contacts within a given industry.  

“This internship taught me all the behind the scenes work involved in a television show,” Kinerk said. “[When] you watch TV, you only see the final product. I had no idea all the people that it takes to make that final product. My work was different everyday, which I loved because I got to experience different departments. This internship gave me an opportunity to see different job roles, what they entail and the hours behind it.”

Kinerk was responsible for making the show’s production run smoothly. She was the go-to for producers and worked with the show’s talent. Kinerk had the opportunity to work with celebrity judges like Demi Lovato and Heidi Klum.

“Project Runway has permanent judges and guest judges every week.” Kinerk said. “Every judge has influence in the fashion industry. Heidi Klum is a permanent judge, and has had an amazing career as a fashion model. Working with known celebrities was overwhelming and intimidating at first, but all of them were amazing to work with.”

First Day Expectations

Kinerk.jpgStarting an internship or job position can be nerve wracking and the first day might not always unfold like you hope it will. Kinerk’s internship did not start on the greatest note, but she found her way eventually.

“The day before I started my internship, I found out my start-time and the set location,” Kinerk said. “I did not live near NYC or Long Island (location of Project Runway) and my commute was a little over an hour. To find out where I was working 24 hours before was definitely a high stress situation, but I just had to roll with it.”

Kinerk received her internship after a phone interview, so her first day of work was the first time she met her boss and other employees of Project Runway.  

“I felt very lost and overwhelmed my first day on the set,” said Kinerk. “It was an extremely busy day at the office, so I had to find my place. I think my first day experience is what most interns feel. It’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle, when everyone already knows their role.”

Gaining Advice on the Job

Kinerk overcame her first day nerves thanks to advice from her peers. As a new intern, you must learn your role within the company. Kinerk learned the ins and the outs of being a PA from her friends at work.

“I asked experienced interns and PAs as many questions that I could,” Kinerk stated. “ As the new intern, you can be shy and hesitant, but you have to put yourself out there. It is the only way I succeeded in the internship.”  

Kinerk’s hard word and dedication was all worth it when she saw her name roll through the credits at the end of the show.

“I will never get used to seeing my name on TV,” Kinerk said. “I would do all the early call times and sleepless nights again to see my name on another season’s credits.”

By Brooke Segal