Earlier this month, I went to an extra-special Quilt event…a Q&A between Quilt co-founder Ashley Sumner and Aliza Licht (find out all about Aliza here). The mastermind behind the DKNY PR Girl Twitter handle and a powerhouse in the fashion industry, Aliza welcomed a small group into her world for the evening. She was so gracious and such an engaging speaker (and was also obviously wearing the most incredible ensemble). It was an inspiring evening all around.
Unlike most of the other ladies at the event, I had only relatively recently begun following Aliza (huge mistake on my part). So after the event, I immediately purchased her book Leave Your Mark. I chose the audiobook version, so that I could hear Aliza read her own words, and it was the absolute right decision. Listening to the book was like an extended Quilt session, or as Aliza intended, like a coffee session with a cherished mentor. My only complaint is that I didn’t have this book 20 years ago.
Something that really stuck with me from both the event conversations and the book was Aliza saying that she didn’t initially pursue a career in fashion despite her love for it, because she didn’t even realize that was an option. While her childhood room had been lined with the covers of fashion magazines, she had gone to college with the intention of being a doctor. I connect with this on the deepest level.
I feel like if I’d had any idea just how big the career spectrum was when I was in high school or college trying to make these decisions, I could have ended up on a completely different path. I mean, I didn’t even know that public relations existed as a career option until I was already a couple years into college. Much less careers in fashion or entertainment, that was a revelation that didn’t happen for me until I was pushing 30.
Hearing Aliza talk about changing career paths and interning at fashion magazines in Manhattan, starting in the fashion closet, was so fascinating to me. It made me think about how different growing up in the metropolis of NYC would have been. The thought of being able to intern at a fashion magazine that you’ve read forever – or in my case, my favorite theater company or television show, literally would never have crossed my mind but would’ve totally blown it.
It’s like a different world here, and I can’t even imagine having it all at my disposal for my entire life. So even though I wasn’t raised in NYC, I finally made it out here and am working to make up for lost time. Some days I feel like I may have missed my chance – but then I come across people like Aliza, and her story and book give me hope. Better late than never.