On Feb. 1, the law firm Outten & Golden filed a class-action lawsuit against the Hearst Corporation, which owns Harper’s Bazaar, on behalf of Wang and any other unpaid and underpaid intern who worked at the company over the past six years. The lawsuit alleges that, among other things, Hearst violated federal and state labor laws byhaving Wang work as many as 55 hours a week without compensation.
I blame Sex and the City. Hear me out. That show was responsible for instilling in the minds of an entire generation of impressionable girls that you can live in the city, have a fabulous job in fashion, live in high society, have a huge apartment, for no money at all. Of course with such a warped perception of reality all of these people take *6 unpaid internships before giving the hell up.*
In August 2011, when Diana Wang began her seventh unpaid internship, this time at Harper’s Bazaar, the legendary high-end fashion magazine, she figured that her previous six internships – at a modeling agency, a PR firm, a jewelry designer, a magazine, an art gallery and a state governor’s office – had prepared her for the demands of New York’s fashion world.
This girl is deluded!
“I was so determined to make this one really worth my while,” says the 28-year-old Wang, who moved from Columbus, Ohio, to New York, where she was living with her boyfriend (also working as an unpaid intern at one point) and living off of her savings. “I knew I couldn’t do anymore internships after this.”
She’s living with her boyfriend, who also has no income, in an apartment where they pay rent by living of savings (that is code for maxing out credit cards). Wise life decision.
No, she has a dream. Take another unpaid internship. And drink a Cosmo. And buy a pair of shoes or an expensive handbag to fit in. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. If you can’t make it here, go live somewhere cheaper. And I don’t mean Jersey City or Astoria. Go to a place that doesn’t border a large body of water. Sorry, no sympathy here.