10 Successful Women Share Their First Job Ever
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we look back at a few of our most inspiring Women of Style and how they got their start. These fierce ladies are living proof that even odd first jobs and intense internships can lead to a life of success.
How They Got Their Start
Photo: Getty Images
"My light bulb moment was when I took an internship between my junior and senior year of college at Harper’s Bazaar. I took that internship because I wanted to do something totally different, something wild and crazy that was a break from pre-med. Pre-med was so intense I wanted a fluffy kind of summer internship. When I landed at Bazaar I realized working at a magazine was absolutely not fluff, first of all. Second of all, it was everything I ever wanted."
— Eva Chen, Lucky's Editor-in-Chief
“I graduated with a degree in Art History and then studied fashion in Milan. After that I started working for Vogue Italia, which is the best school in the world. I spent 18 years with [Editor-in-Chief] Franca [Sozzani]. I remember she told me fashion can be a very tough job, and I told her I was ready and that I would start tomorrow. To work in fashion you have to be very passionate about it and have a fanatic attitude that keeps you going.”
— Anna Dello Russo, Vogue Japan's Editor-at-Large
Photo: Getty Images
“I was a barista at a tea store in Idaho, and I was obsessed with inventing different kinds of coffee and hot chocolate drinks even though I’m allergic to chocolate. It was kind of odd. People get so happy when you give them coffee—it’s great. I feel like that job taught me how to deal with people and how to communicate with all different types.”
— Dree Hemingway, Model and Actress
Photo: Getty Images
“My first real job was as an assistant to a photographer and filmmaker’s agent in Paris. I was 20, and it felt like life had finally begun. I learned about the power of image.”
— Diane von Furstenberg, Designer
Photo: BFA NYC
"My first job was babysitting for our family friend’s daughter. I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, so babysitting was a very attractive and lucrative job."
— Lauren Santo Domingo, Cofounder of Moda Operandi
"My first job was working at a record label. I was responsible for putting CDs into envelopes! It makes me smile, looking back at it."
— Lily Aldridge, Top Model
"When I was 14 years old I got a job modeling for Sisley. I got sent off to the Island of Capri with a bunch of supermodels. When I got there, they did a fitting and put me in a swimsuit and then promptly sent me back to my room. Then they came and said, 'You can go home now.' I was really upset and I asked them why. They said 'Well, because you're too fat. You don’t fit in the swimsuit.' And so I thought, I’ll stay in Capri and eat some pasta and profiteroles for a few days because you paid for this room, which is what I did. After that I left and went home. That was my first job. My second job was when I was 15 and I started hosting TV. It was kind of back-to-back. Thank god I got a job hosting TV, because I was not very successful as a model and I really needed to earn some money."
— Amanda de Cadenet, Photographer
"Like most small town girls, the first time I made my own money was by babysitting the kids in my neighborhood. The first time taxes were implemented was from my paycheck in The Horse Whisperer. I was 14 years old."
— Kate Bosworth, Actress and Entrepreneur
"My first job was the summer between high school and UCLA at the Beverly Center in a men’s clothing store called GHQ. I used to work there with an aspiring singer Romeo Blue – who I drove to work in my yellow Honda Civic. He later assumed his real name; Lenny Kravitz."
— Natalie Massenet, Founder of Net-a-Porter
"I interned at a modeling agency when I was 15. I wanted to work in fashion, maybe as a designer or stylist, and this was my first foot in the door to the industry. They asked me if I’d ever consider modeling and I thought they were joking. I didn’t believe I’d ever be able to have a career as a model! I decided to give it a go during my school holidays. 'At least I’d get to go on a photo shoot', I thought. Twelve years later I’m still here!"
— Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Top Model and Actress