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An Internship of a Lifetime

Written by Jennifer Segal
2/13/2014

Jen Segal '14 and Chelsea Russo '14 backstage

I was immediately in awe. I stepped onto the red carpet illuminated by photographer flashes and bright stadium lights. After preparing for this for three months, it was more thrilling and nerve-racking to be on the red carpet during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards than I had imagined. Working at the VMAs was the culmination of my summer internship in the communications department at MTV Networks in New York City, and what a way to close the show.

My Road to the VMAs

My journey to the 2013 Video Music Awards began on the other side of the country while I was attending the IC Los Angeles program and interning at the Academy Awards. An alumna, Ashley Moulton ’10, had reached out to a Park School of Communications professor to refer students for Viacom’s Summer Internship Program. (One of the main reasons I chose Ithaca College was because of the incredible alumni community and high-caliber internships students held.) I immediately reached out to Ashley to let her know I was interested in interning at MTV, which is one of Viacom’s major brands.

Ashley got back to me right away and we ended up having a one-on-one resume consultation over the phone before she submitted it to Viacom’s human resources department. The MTV communications department reached out to me directly and offered me a position as a summer intern. I was so excited to make the move to the “City That Never Sleeps” for what was sure to be an incredible opportunity.

Internship in the Big Apple

NYC was very different from L.A., but I quickly adapted to the reliable public transportation and bustling energy of the Big Apple. At MTV, I assisted in press coverage for artists nominated for the 2013 VMAs, and collected and reported on the media coverage of announcements of performances by Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Bruno Mars, and Miley Cyrus. I also organized a project with other interns at MTV to create a program for all 300+ Viacom interns to assist in promoting the VMAS through a guerilla marketing campaign that we created. At the end of the summer, after an exciting 10 weeks, I was invited to Brooklyn to assist at the 2013 VMAs, held at the new Barclays Center.

No Sleep 'Til  Brooklyn

After moving into my apartment in Ithaca before the start of the fall semester, I headed back to Brooklyn via bus to work at the long-anticipated VMAs. The day before the show, I did walk-throughs of backstage and the red carpet. On the afternoon of the show, I was first stationed at credential check-in. In this role, I helped check in and give show credentials to every member of the press who was taking photos, videos, or writing a story on the show. After that, I was sent to the red carpet to assist with talent announcement and running for photographers (making sure their full memory cards got to their editors in the press room). My final role was as a press escort with talent and staff during the show. I got to walk Kaws, the designer of the VMA Moonman statue, and his wife down the red carpet and be the liaison between him and the press outlets in attendance. During the actual show, I was stationed in the theater to run for photographers again. In between my sprints to the photo room, I got to catch glimpses of Miley Cyrus’s buzz-worthy “Blurred Lines” performance with Robin Thicke, and the much anticipated reunion of N’Sync.

After working almost nine hours straight, I was beyond exhausted, but realized what an incredible ride it had been. Instead of going home to sleep after the show ended, some interns were invited to an industry after-party. I could barely keep my eyes open, but realized what an incredible networking opportunity it would be and headed to the event. I had the chance to meet some influential people in the entertainment industry and got to celebrate all the work we had done over the summer.

Afterward, I finally went back to the hotel, packed my bag, and boarded a bus back to Ithaca the next morning to start my senior year at Ithaca College. Although I didn’t have a Moonman award to put on display, the experience was worth more than any statue. And I even got to help announce that Lady Gaga would be performing. You can see me (in the purple scarf) just behind Sway as he announced that Lady Gaga would be performing at the 2013 VMAs.

Watch a video below of the announcement that Lady Gaga would be performing at the 2013 VMAs.




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