A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to go behind-the-scenes at a Chatelaine photo shoot. While I was there, I met Megan Thomas; home intern at the time. Now let me tell you, I've heard some crazy intern stories but Megan and I got to chatting and I became so intrigued. Ever since I was young, I've always wondered what it would be like to work for a magazine. So I thought, why not hear an intern's perspective on working for Canada's top women's magazine? If you've ever wondered what that would be like, keep reading.
1. Please tell us more about yourself. My name is Megan Thomas – I’m 24 years old, currently living in Oakville, Ontario. I studied Interior Decorating at Sheridan College and had a blast doing so! My hobbies include, DIY’s, photography and antiquing…I love music and anything vintage with a story and some history. Get me saddled with a DIY and I’m one happy camper. Antique shows and searching for treasures at the Salvation Army and local thrift shops are some of my favourite pastimes.
2. What made you decide to study interior design? and where do you think your love for design originated from? After completing only one year at McMaster University and one semester at Mohawk College, I took some time to re-evaluate what it was that I truly loved to do – what was I good at? After digging up some old house drawings I'd done as a child, I began to think…perhaps I’ve known all along – even as a child, I always took pride in what my room looked like. This has since turned into a bit of OCD! However, my love for interior design really began when our family moved to Minnesota – I was in awe of our brand new, entirely decorated home. It had been staged to sell and I had never seen anything like it. My room was painted powder blue with fluffy white clouds sponged on the walls. I was in love. From there – I began to visit open houses with my parents – a tradition we continue to this day. I can also thank my dad for instilling in me a deep love and appreciation for art and design. Back in the day he painted, made furniture and did all sorts of DIYs (my favourite).
3. Where do you get your inspiration from? The internet has become a great source for inspiration...images on Pinterest, design blogs and magazine sites. I also adore receiving the newest issue of almost every design magazine! However, I’m a firm believer in staying true to who you are, and decorating with what you love. What's on trend may in fact not be what’s going to work for you. I like to take a few minutes in my head and let the “feeling” that I want the room to have, inspire me.
4. If you had to choose one or 2 styles that best describe your taste, what would they be? I'm a lover of all things vintage and old. I have a real appreciation for the past (so much so, that during this past summer I purchased a vintage lounge chair from Paris at a local auction. For $350…whoops!) Having said that, I love to mix styles. Transitional decorating really appeals to me – a mix of modern and traditional elements.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what would be your dream job? In 5 years, I hope to be a happy and successful interior decorator. I would love to have my own business working in residential design. I appreciate the creative flexibility and unique touch you can put on each home. My goal is also to be living on my own in a space that I can put my mark on. It has long been a dream of mine to buy an old house with tons of character and renovate (this may be a 10 year goal...).
6. You were an intern at Chatelaine. Can you tell us what the interview process was like? How long have you been an intern? I was so excited when I came across the Home Intern position on Chatelaine.com! To be honest – I had never really considered anything like this before, but thought I’d give it a try. As I was just coming out of school after graduation, I was looking for some real practical experience. So, I sent off my resume and shortly after received a kind email from the Home Editor, Emma Reddington. As they already had a summer intern, I was to contact her again just before Labour day to set up an interview. I came extra prepared with a folder full of reference letters and work I had done. Emma was kind beyond words as we discussed my background in design and my hopes for the future. She asked me to write a blog post on "10 Ways to Decorate for Christmas" to demonstrate my skills. (This was in September – soon would I learn you're always working a season or two ahead!) I left not knowing whether or not I had the job, but felt inspired and determined. I heard back from Emma a few days later. I got the job! I was beyond thrilled and surprised to have been chosen. My internship ran until the end of December.
7. What would a typical day be like for you at Chatelaine?
9:00 – Arrive at the office 9:05 – Find out what the day has in store! Photo shoot, web post, etc. 9 to 12 – Answer email, organize prop closet, send out mail, etc. 12:30 – Break for lunch in the building’s cafeteria (coffee is a must!) 1:00 – Back to work 2 to 4 – Work work work! (Could be packing up a photo shoot, finding items in the prop closet, working on web stories, etc.) 5:00 – Time to head home!
8. Has your experience been anything like you expected? What are the most valuable things you have learned during your internship at Chatelaine? I honestly had no idea what to expect…which really made it all the more exciting and new. I learned so much during my time at Chatelaine and am truly grateful that. This experience has taught me to work hard, think on my feet and to welcome each challenge as it comes. I believe these are all important lessons to becoming successful and thriving in life and in business.
9. How has the internship prepared you for working in the field of design? During this internship, I was exposed to so many new and different things. It taught me to think on my feet, problem solve and to simply learn as I go. I gained confidence and learned to conduct myself in a more professional manner. Aside from the practical experience, I was introduced to many resources and contacts within the design world. Designers, trades, retailers, bloggers and more. This internship really solidified that I am indeed, right where I’m supposed to be – in the wonderful world of interior design!
10. Can you tell us one thing about working at Chatelaine that might surprise us? It’s not like the Devil Wears Prada…at all…haha
I was sort of expecting it to be high pressure, fast pace and nutty. And sure, there were some days like this, but most days were cool and calm. Everyone working there was kind and helpful and made me feel so welcome. There is a great sort of “family dynamic” there.
11. What advice would you give to anyone considering an internship at Chatelaine? Go for it! Working at Chatelaine as an intern was truly one of the best experiences of my life. It opened my eyes to so much and offered me a foot into a door I never knew would open for me. If you want to get all that you can out of this experience, be prepared to work hard and be flexible. Each day was different and you have to role with it. For me, not knowing what to expect turned out to be a blessing. I had no expectations and therefore accepted each challenge as it came.
12. My top 10 favourite moments at Chatelaine (in no specific order -they were all great!) 1. Hudson’s Bay Christmas preview (Brian Gluckstein was there!) 2. Meeting Interior Designer Samantha Pynn 3. Meeting Michael Penney and visiting his beautiful design store “Penney & Company” 4. On set at Cityline for the Chatelaine edition (with Sarah Richardson and Kimberley Seldon!) 5. Jamie Oliver in the Chatelaine kitchen ;) 6. Photoshoot at Home Editor, Emma Reddington’s amazing house 7. Writing web post’s for Chatelaine.com 8. Chatelaine hosts West Elm shopping event 9. Sears home preview 10. And last but not least - working along side wonderfully creative minds and meeting amazingly talented individuals!! Editors, photographers, contributors, etc.
Thanks so much Megan, for sharing your experience with us! You can check out more of Megan's work here:
And speaking of Chatelaine, I'm over at Emma's blog today so go check it out!