Throwback Thursday: My Week At Seventeen

Throwback Thursday: My Week At Seventeen

Like most people my age, I had to do job shadowing for a school project, because I’m reaching that age when every adult keeps asking you what you want to do with the rest of your life and how you wish to get there. So, having previously worked with Seventeen Magazine on the Style Counsel, I thought about how great it would be to take a look behind the scenes and job shadow the editor, Janine Jellars, seeing as I’ve always shown interest in magazines and other forms of media for a career. Here’s my summary – that is not particularly short (taken from my actual project, which I got 100% for *claps twice*) – on my three days of job shadowing at Seventeen from the 2-4th April 2013.

Day 1:
I arrived suspiciously early on the chilly Tuesday morning (and having accidentally stayed on the wrong floor of the Absa Building – as it so turns, Seventeen is on floor 19, not 14), having heavily overestimated the traffic that day. I sat down on the now famous Seventeen lips couch and waited for people to arrive. As soon as the editors filed their way into the office, they all went through the motions: ask how each other’s Easter weekend was, and then proceed to turn on their desktops and instinctively open their emails and web browsers to catch up on all they missed that weekend in the world of entertainment and pop culture. 
Interestingly that morning, Taugheedah Abdulla-Jacobs, the fashion editor, was casting girls from the D&A Modeling Agency for an upcoming fashion shoot. They approached her, she looked at their face, then their side profile, took a photo of each, and that was it. This is where I began to learn that TV series such as The Carrie Diaries and movies such as The Devil Wears Prada really dramatized the magazine industry.
The Seventeam also genuinely love Mr Price. Within two hours of being here, I’d seen deliveries of parcels bought online and the ordering of more clothes. They’re ying and yang. New York and hot dogs. Girls and tanning. 

When Janine arrived, best believe she put me to work soon after, with a review/critique or the last three months magazines while she and the other editors did the final sign off on the May issue (I was privileged enough to even see the cover – shock horror!). When that was completed, I paid my internship dues and fetched my boss a coffee (single latte – two sugars) and returned to another assignment: ideas for upcoming articles. As I sat down at my desk to tackle this, I knew, in that moment, that I loved this. The people were kind, the atmosphere was friendly, the bathrooms were beautiful and the hand cream smelt so good that I wanted to eat it – I loved this place. 
Today I also learnt what a copy editor is and how tedious sign off was. Reading through every single word on every single page – checking for the slightest discrepancy… I respect anyone who does this. Truly. 
Praise to the Almighty, the sigh of relief that went around when the May issue was officially signed off was insane. Coincidentally, it was a coworker’s birthday and there was a delicious ice cream cake (containing both ice cream, and cake) that went down all too well. This was something I could get used to.

A flexible lunch hour is also something I could get used to – no strict restraints; no “you can only leave at xx time and have to be back at xx time!” Absolutely lovely. 
Next up was beauty brainstorming for the July/August 2013 issue with GenevieveGoncalves (the beauty editor), Janine and my fellow intern. It was interesting to see how the 12 pages became conceptualized,  featuring ********, ********, ******** and other things I am not at liberty to discuss. 
Thinking of future issues, we had to think of future cover stars. Who’s going to have a big year? Thoughts circled back to Selena Gomez; with Spring Breakers and two other movies, as well as her Wizards Of Waverly Place movie return and her new album, she’s all over.

Day one came to a close and at 5pm, I made my way home.

Day 2:

I was super early. Again. Ah.
When other people arrived, I found that the one thing I really appreciate about this office is the music. Someone, somewhere was always listening to some music, be it Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake or Jessie Ware. Their taste is great.
I got the opportunity to potentially get a magazine credit for the October issue: I had the anxiety-installing task of creating a piece for them. After Janine retreated for a meeting and breakfast, I chatted some more with my fellow intern. Then, as Janine returned for another meeting (this one in her office), I retreated for a late breakfast break while reading a Grazia that is only to be released on the 10th of April (woohoo!). 

I returned from my break to sit in on a production meeting and Woodwind (the new system they have to use for magazine production) discussion. I learnt a lot about something I still have no clue about. 
Now it was time for the school mandated interview, discussing the job, benefits, remuneration, opportunities and so forth. After which, I was gifted with the task of creating piece the magazine.

At the stroke of five o’clock, though, I headed out of the office and straight to Woolworths to buy my lovely mentors a cake. 

Day 3:
I arrived later (but still early) and made myself some tea. I had already sent through the piece but I had to go back and edit it.
I went to buy some milk with Deidre, the production/editorial assistant, and I came back to greet a new fashion intern who would be assisting Taugheedah (fashion editor) in her shoot for the day. Moments after her arrival and departure, a new-new intern was arriving to shadow Jessica Manim (the deputy editor). 

While Janine was whisked away to a very official meeting with her bosses, I got put to work by Jess to come up with ideas for her sections in the magazine – Health, Love and Life. After pitching my ideas, she chose the one I could do for the day and I got to work on it. The article required research, writing, and a lot of concentration.
After the researching and the compressing, I got to take my lunch break (how did I only just realize there was a McDonalds so close to work?). I returned just as Janine left to take hers, and I continued with my article.

I finished my article and when Janine came back, I sat in on a fashion meeting with Taugheedah. We looked at the new Woolworths online campaigns, online stores as well as pictorials for the upcoming issues. I got to see some of the photos before the rest of the country – excitement much? While looking, I brought out the cake I had bought for the ladies and officially earned my spot in their good graces – who doesn’t love cake?

And after being asked to write one final piece, I headed out with Janine and Genevieve to a meeting with Mac Cosmetics. In short, we were asked out to the beautiful 15 On Orange hotel to discuss not only the fFall Lookbook, but a more aggressive partnership between Seventeen and Mac. It was a wonderful meeting, with some beautiful ladies (I got to meet the Mac Senior Make Up Artist, Michelle-Lee Collins!) and some lovely make up samples (and free food? How could I forget the free food!!) The job may not always be glamorous, it does have its glamour moments.

I went back to the office for the last time (for now) to fetch my bags and I wished the Seventeen HQ adieu. The next morning, by the crack of dawn, I was on a plane back to Joburg. 

So in that incredibly long nutshell, that was my incredibly informative and amazing job shadowing experience at Seventeen Magazine! Much love to that team, they truly are amazing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. July 11, 2013 / 8:42 pm

    You had such an amzing experience! I wish I could do something like that. So exciting

    • July 11, 2013 / 8:54 pm

      It truly is! I hope to intern at a magazine again 🙂 x

  2. July 19, 2013 / 2:19 pm

    Haven’t been to your blog in a while; imagine my surprise upon reading that you were in Cape Town and I didn’t get to say hi! Sounds like you had a great time though; great job getting 2 writing pieces submitted in 3 days! *virtual hi-5*

    • July 20, 2013 / 3:56 pm

      I know! I was there pretty much strictly for this, so I didn’t manage to see anyone! 🙁 Thank you so much! *virtual hi-5s back*