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A Fashion Intern’s Dream Come True

Gabriel Charles Fashion Intern

Gabriel Tyler is one of four interns working with FIJI Water at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2012 (September 8-15, 2011).

I was born and bred in Chicago, so I am no foreigner to what can happen in a big city like New York. I’ve learned to be prepared for what every new moment may bring and, thus far, this trip to Fashion Week has proven that that notion is the only way to live.

Who would have thought that I would be in New York City attending and working behind the scenes at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week? I remember a little over a year ago, I sat in my apartment watching a few clips on YouTube from the season’s runway shows. It was at that time that I determined that I would be in New York City the following year for Fashion Week, no matter what I had to do. Well, a year later, I can finally say I made it. I’ve been very fortunate. God has really showed His face in my life. I know that God is real and all of this is not by chance. I cannot express how honored I am that FIJI Water has given me this opportunity.

Here are a few things I experienced and learned in the concrete jungle.

The FIJI Water fashion interns (l. to r.) Marco, Kristie, Teghan, and Gabriel.

1. Fairy Tales Do Come True
I love People’s Revolution. I fell in love with Kelly Cutrone when I watched her show on Bravo, Kell on Earth. She was everything I wanted to be, and I understood why she took herself and her business so seriously: Kelly loved what she did. It wasn’t a job for her, it was her life.

I submitted my resume to People’s Revolution two years in a row, but I never got a reply. I chalked it up to fate and moved on, hoping that one day the planets would align and I would get my chance with Kelly Cutrone.

On the first day of the internship, I took an early-morning flight to New York and just so happened to walk past the People’s Revolution office in SoHo while I roamed the city with Teghan, another FIJI Water Fashion Week Intern. We both felt like destiny had put us in the right place at the right time.

I called the office and asked could we come up for a visit. I was put on hold, then five seconds later the buzzer rang, letting Teghan and me into the building. We ran up the stairs and, as soon as we opened the door, Kelly was right there smiling at us. I’ve never had celebrity shock until that moment. She took pictures with both of us, chatted with us for a long time, allowed us to tour the entire office and even invited us to an exclusive fashion show! We couldn’t make the show because of prior obligations to our internship, but we were both shocked and grateful that we were even let past the door. To get invited to anything by Kelly Cutrone, the PR machine herself, was the highest of high honors. Like I said, dreams do come true. I hope I get to see Kelly again.

2. Fashion Is More Than Clothes, Style, and Good Taste — It’s Work
My advice to anyone who wants to get involved in the fashion industry is don’t be fooled into thinking the industry is all fun and games. When you’re in this life, it’s the only life you have. It’s fun, but you have to do it because you love it, not because you want perks.

All of us have received the perks, including a new wardrobe from TopShop/TopMan courtesy of FIJI Water, exclusive access to the BCBG runway show, the first show in the Theatre at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and a great lunch from Ed’s Chowder House at The Empire Hotel.

However, we have all put in a lot of work, including a long acceptance process, early-morning meetings, and long hours of standing, working, and sporting a FIJI Water style. It’s work, and work is work, but in the end it’s all worthwhile.

Everywhere I go, people ask to take my photo. I guess Noelle and Paul really knew what they were doing when they helped the TopShop/TopMan stylist choose my outfits. I’m beginning to feel like a celebrity. I’m meeting new people all the time, talking with people I would have never gotten a chance to meet outside of this opportunity, and getting skills and exposure to an industry I hope to one day dominate. I wouldn’t trade this chance for anything.

3. Dream Big and Take a Chance, or Go Home
People say that dreaming is for children and that dreams never come true. I guess they’ve never been to New York. If you want to make it, you have to take it. No one ever gets anywhere by fitting in and wishing they’d make it. Do like I did — say who, what, and where you want to be, and make it happen. It takes a lot of work and time, but if it’s truly what you want, those things won’t outweigh the fulfillment you’ll get.

Make sure you check out my Tumblr for a step-by-step play to my life in New York during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. You can also follow me on Twitter @MisterTyler. I’ll be updating consistently throughout the day for the entire week.

P.S. I’m addicted to FIJI Water! Have you picked up a bottle lately? If not, go to the store and buy a bottle now! It truly tastes great. It’s the best artesian water in a bottle that I’ve ever had. I think it may be the minerals in it. Either way, you should drink it.

Thanks for the love, Gabriel!

– FIJI