By Ana Rosal ’19
Los Angeles. It’s considered a mecca for anyone wanting to work in the film or TV industry. Each semester, a new class of eager Emerson College students heads west in hopes of pursuing exciting careers in development, production, casting, and other facets of the entertainment industry.
But what many people don’t realize: There’s so much more you can do.
When I was applying to internships in LA, I knew that whatever company I ended up at, I wanted to be part of its marketing department. Sure, I applied to places like NBC and Viacom, but I also applied to some companies that weren’t related to entertainment, including beauty and fashion firms.
I ended up at a startup hair company called INH Hair, or Insert Name Here Hair. I learned about the company from its two co-founders, Sharon Pak and Jordynn Wynn, whom I had already been following on Instagram. During the summer, Wynn posted on her Instagram story that INH was looking for interns. It felt serendipitous, and I knew in my gut that it was the perfect place to do my internship while enrolled in the Fall 2019 semester at Emerson LA.
Emerson LA is open to all majors. Students this semester interned at a jewelry company, a digital marketing agency, an advertising firm, a local magazine, and a nonprofit arts institution, among other places.
“As we see more and more students in different majors each semester, we find and develop more and more internship opportunities for them,” said Dr. Mikhail Gershovich, Emerson LA’s academic director. “We are actually now at a point where we have more diverse internships across industries available than we have students to fill them, so there is a wealth of great options for Emerson students in Los Angeles.”
One of the coolest internship experiences this semester was in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office. Sabrina Jacobs ’19 has had an interest in politics for a long time. As part of her internship, her daily responsibilities included answering the phone for the press office, keeping a log of daily media clips, transcribing interviews, and updating weekly reports.
“I also did research briefs for the marketing team and worked as a video assistant for the mayor’s videographer,” said Jacobs. “I’ve had the chance to edit videos and work as a production assistant on set.”
Although Jacobs is a Visual and Media Arts major, she chose an internship track related to her Political Science minor, and it ended up being a really great learning experience.
“The responsibilities I was tasked with have definitely prepared me for the next phase of my career,” said Jacobs. “Even though I’ve worked in political offices before, this is my first time working for the communications team. Everyone in the office has also been incredibly great about showing me the ropes, so I will definitely take all of their advice with me going forward.”
I also had a great experience at my internship. My responsibilities at INH revolved around all things copywriting. I wrote content for our website, as well as SMS and digital Facebook ads. I helped out with Instagram captions, and I eventually started working on email marketing.
Despite the focus on beauty, there was a huge emphasis on celebrities, since much of our hair pieces were inspired by famous celebrity looks, like our popular Ariana Grande clip-in ponytail. As part of the marketing team, I really kept in touch with the pop culture landscape in order to stay in-the-know with modern trends and help the brand stay relevant. Everything I learned will help prepare me for the next phase of my career.
For students in the entertainment realm, there is no shortage of options in the entertainment capital of the world. Emersonians hoping for a career in the entertainment industry interned at production companies, entertainment firms, comedy shows, and talent agencies, among other places. Olivia Cseh ’20 interned at Group Public Relations, a well-known entertainment PR firm.
“Day to day, I did a lot of pitching clients, which is like sending out emails to journalists trying to get them to write about whoever the client may be,” said Cseh. “Depending on the week, I would help cover events and interviews, so it could be anything from just walking them on the carpet to preparing them for an [in-person] interview or making sure the day just goes smoothly for them.”
The internship helped Cseh get some valuable real-world experience when it comes to developing campaigns for celebrities.
“[My first big takeaway was] learning how to interact with different clients, and seeing how some can be more difficult and how to work with that,” said Cseh. “The second biggest takeaway would probably be seeing all the components of a successful campaign and how long it can take to build someone’s image — from the stylists to interviews to social media to just getting them seen out.”
Above all, Jacobs recommends staying open-minded when looking at internship opportunities.
“My advice is to keep an open mind and think outside the box when looking for internships,” Jacobs said. “There are a lot of interesting opportunities in LA that you might not think of or consider right away, so taking some time to [see] what types of internships are actually out there can be really helpful.”
Whether you choose to intern at a hair company, the mayor’s office, or a PR firm, just remember that the experience is what you make it. There are so many opportunities in Los Angeles, and I’m glad to have learned so much during my internship and semester at Emerson LA.
Ana Rosal is a senior Marketing Communication major.