By Nicole Veenstra
Combining the fast-paced lifestyle of New York with a limited sleep schedule may sound like a recipe for disaster to some; add a full class schedule to the mix and Danyelle Johnson’s routine during Mercedes-Benz’s New York Fashion Week is complete.
Johnson, a junior, is double majoring in graphic design and fine arts and interning at Showroom Seven in New York City. According to the website,“Showroom Seven has a 20-year history of providing sales, public relations, showroom and business services to fashion and lifestyle clients around the globe.”
During Fashion Week, waking up at 5 a.m. in order to get ready and make the train by 7:12 a.m. became normal for Johnson. She began as a regular intern but was soon promoted to owner’s assistant.
“There were times when I didn’t know when I’d get sleep the next day,” she said.
Although her days were long and she found herself frequently juggling multiple projects, Johnson was also able to enjoy some of the perks of working during “New York’s most fashionable week,” as stylist and designer Rachel Zoe refers to it.
She attended a runway show by Charlotte Ronson, an English designer who also creates an affordable line for JCPenney, where she was able to meet both Charlotte Ronson and Twilight actress Nicki Reed.
However, Johnson says that though she has always been interested in drawing — she credits her talent to her grandmother — fashion is a more recent interest.
A self-described tomboy because of the wide range of sports she played growing up, Johnson discovered her “girly side” after competing as a finalist in the Miss New Jersey Teen pageant.
“I know it’s a cliché, but clothes are a way of expressing myself,” she said.
Since starting her internship at the end of January, Johnson says confidence and self-expression have become necessary character traits.
She says tough skin is a requirement for those who work in the fashion industry because “even when you feel like you’re doing a good job, there’s always room for criticism.”
Professor Deborah Rosenthal, professor of fine arts at Rider and Johnson’s adviser since freshman year, feels Johnson has what it takes, describing her as “somebody that has the capacity and is willing to go the distance.”
The relationship between the professor and student has been positive since the beginning.
“She’s the one who convinced me to become an art major,” Johnson said about Rosenthal. “She’s guided me in the right direction.”
Rosenthal says she takes her role as a professor and adviser very seriously.
“My role as professor is to stand behind [my students], pushing them up the hill as much as I can,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal is also proud of the way Johnson has taken her future into her own hands.
“The experience of college is an experiment of expansion, a deepening of things you were interested in early on,” she said. “[Johnson] has had the initiative to be able to go out and find this internship.”
Although Johnson is unsure of her future with Showroom Seven, she says it has been an experience that endowed her with life skills and will help her in the future.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “Even though it’s an unpaid internship, it’s still rewarding.”
Johnson says that the opportunities she has encountered would have been vastly different if she had attended a different college, which is why she credits Rider for much of her success.
“I’m really grateful to be here at Rider,” she said. “It’s really opened doors for me while being here.”