My alarm blazes, reassuring me that it really is the day I get to assist a Vogue photo shoot. I quickly get dressed, a silk black button down, cropped black skinny jeans, a black blazer, and furry black slip-ons- my usual. Will I be too casual? I fix my hair, having been straightened the previous day, and run out the door.
I sit alone in a dark, silent hotel lobby, awaiting a women that I have only emailed- what follows is just like a scene in a movie. A tall, blonde, gorgeous woman with an enchanting accent storms from the elevator, demanding a supposedly delivered envelope stamped with the Vogue logo from the half asleep receptionist. The woman's fur coat and gold-rimmed boots make it obvious that she is to be my mentor that day. The way she casually shrugs "didn't even see you there" reminds me of Emily, the glamorously awful assistant of Miranda Priestly in my favorite movie, The Devil Wears Prada.
I carry a duffel bag filled with clothes hangers and accessories, and drag an insanely full green suitcase, which looks like it will burst open at any second. We jump into a black service car, and drive from Hollywood all the way across town to Malibu. Luckily, the early departure ensures a traffic-free trip. The woman falls asleep- leaving an awkward me and a confused driver, begging for directions up the windy hills ahead. The jolt of the car wakes her up, and she is freaking out about how lost we are and how the driver is spending too much time checking the map ands not enough time looking at the actual road ahead.
We finally arrive at a quaint ranch, with a breathtaking view of the ocean. She ecstatically rushes from the backseat, and I follow slowly, duffel and suitcase in tow. We make camp in an adorable cabin, an industrial vanity already set up in the corner. The woman directs me to a bench and orders me to unpack the shoes. I carefully set out- in color coordination of course- heel after heel. Manolos,
Louboutins, Pradas, you name it. I marvel at them all, then I start to steam the garments hanging near the vanity.
In comes Sara Moonves, an inspiring Vogue style editor who is running this whole event. Her vintage ripped boyfriend jeans, white t-shirt, leather jacket, and white converse tell me that I'm not casual enough! She explains to me so much of the crazy process, often referring to "Anna"- as in Wintour- like they are best friends. This is finally becoming real. I steam more.
A very pregnant Emily Blunt arrives while I'm de-wrinkling an amazing black, lace, and floral Marchesa gown. I am stunned and totally starstruck. A keep a fair distance as she is groomed by her team of a hairstylist, manicurist, and makeup artist.
She tries everything on until something jumps out to her and Sara. Once this happens, we all travel outside, meeting a photographer and his impressive posse of assistants. No one scan stand in his view of vision, so we are all way behind the action, sinking in the mud of the new grass. I make friends with the elderly tailor and smiley set manager. Emily doesn't even wear any pairs of the shoes I laid out the whole shoot!
I was so extremely lucky to be able to join Sara and her team as they shot Emily Blunt for this April's Vogue- the shape issue. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to see what really goes on behind the scenes, and I will always remember the lessons I learned that long December day. It is truly amazing to see an image in my favorite magazine and know how it all came together.
xo amanda jane