Where Have All the Interview Interns Gone?

Published October 14, 2019

Andy Warhol and friends photographed by Timothy Hursley at the Factory on 34th Street and Madison Avenue, New York City.

It’s safe to say this magazine wouldn’t have lasted for a half-century without the legions of starry-eyed dreamers who passed through our doors for a chance to be a part of our legacy. What these passionate youngsters didn’t get paid in dollars, they made up for in experiences that served them well in their careers. (That, or school credit.) Here, a few former interns share memories from their time at Interview.

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PAOLO NIEDDU

Emmy-nominated costume designer
September 2005-April 2006

“My internship meant so much to me. At 24, I was the oldest one there. Highlights included walking down halls adorned with original Keith Haring artwork, handling runway samples for the first time in the fashion closet, hearing things like, ‘Ingrid [Sischy] I have Elizabeth Taylor on the line,’ or, ‘Elton John is on for Ingrid,’ unpacking actual paper look books, and organizing the office of the late Annabel Tollman, a woman who inspired me and who I was lucky enough to accompany on many photo shoots, including one with Bette Midler, who warned me about the danger of getting bad credit.”

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MEGAN McCAFFERTY

Best-selling author
Summer 1994

“I interned for Interview the summer before my senior year of college. Honestly, I don’t remember much. I wish I could blame my amnesia on wild nights of bacchanalian excess, but the truth is far less glamorous: exhaustion. I commuted between Manhattan and the Jersey Shore, from my unpaid internship to double shifts as a token-exchange girl at Lucky Leo’s Arcade on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. When I wasn’t tossing and turning in my childhood twin bed, I crashed on friends’ leaky air mattresses and futons of dubious hygiene. The inclusion of Interview on my résumé created an illusion of downtown coolness that I never actually achieved.”

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DIANA OBERLANDER

Director, Media & Content Strategy at Clé de Peau at Shiseido Americas
1993-1995

“I hadn’t even turned 18, and yet I was in a loft in TriBeCa, with the legendary Ellen von Unwerth, shooting Elizabeth Hurley (fresh off the Hugh Grant scandal) in a bathtub, wearing 30-pound Versace mesh.”

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BOBBY FEINGOLD

Lead product designer at Live Nation Entertainment
January–June 2008

“One of my long-running and more menial tasks was to organize the archive of cassette tapes with interview recordings dating back decades. The tapes were scattered around the Broadway office, and I was tasked with collecting and alphabetizing them. I would blast the new Hot Chip and Cut Copy albums as I methodically made my way through the stacks of tapes and reviewed the interviewee names, some famous but most forgotten. In retrospect, I should have been tasked with digitizing them.”

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SYDNEY WASSERMAN

Digital special projects director at Architectural Digest
2006-ish

“Any fashion intern is familiar with days spent stuck in the closet, meticulously checking in and packing up samples for photo shoots. But at 575 Broadway, that meant camping out in a stately mahogany library overlooking Prince Street, surrounded by art and books dating back to Andy’s time. Those formative days—my first in New York—surrounded by the magnetic fashion team at Interview sent me on a career path aspiring to be just like them.”

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LISA EBERSOLE

Showrunner and comedian
July–December 1996

“I was 19 and new to New York when I started my internship in Interview’s publicity department. I loved walking through SoHo to an office with Warhols on the wall, kind bosses whose names I still remember—Hi, Leslie and Josh!—parties with Joan Jett and Iggy Pop, and these Miu Miu shoes everyone was wearing that I prayed Steve Madden would knock off.”

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SHANDI ALEXANDER

Stylist
1999-2000-ish

“I remember Ingrid Sischy’s assistant being very upset one day because they had to schedule her spa appointment, and feeling so jealous and downtrodden that I didn’t have such a position at Interview where I could have the honor of scheduling those appointments.”

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BRENDAN DUFFY

Author
Summer 2000

“That summer, I was tasked with reading every interview Andy Warhol conducted for the magazine. After some time with the archives, I learned he had a theory that you could lower the register of your voice if you put marbles in your mouth. I had questions: How many marbles? How long did they have to be in there for? Do you put them under your tongue, or is it a fill- your-cheeks-like-a-chipmunk kind of thing? It was truly astonishing how often he was able to work this into a conversation.”

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PAUL WONTOREK

Founding and current editor-in-chief of Broadway.com
January-May 1994

“As an intern in the design department, most of my time at Interview was at a desk, not living the high life in the downtown scene. But as a kid who was wildly inspired by the 1980s Richard Bernstein covers, I got to see the brilliant layouts as they were built. The nearby trash cans, filled with discarded mock-ups, were like gallery shows in themselves.”

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RYAN O’CONNELL

Emmy-nominated writer and actor
Summer 2010

“I interned at Interview the summer of 2010 and spent three months harassing my boss to get me an advanced copy of Best Coast’s Crazy for You (she did) and to accept my pitch about a fashion story inspired by the Manson girls (she didn’t). At the end of my internship, I asked for a job and my boss was like, ‘Um, no, but every intern gets to pick out a toy before they leave.’ I thought she was joking, but then she brought out a giant box of literal toys. I chose an Etch A Sketch.”

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MICHAEL O’CONNELL

Senior writer at The Hollywood Reporter
October 2004

“When I wasn’t transcribing conversations with one of the women posing as JT LeRoy, my time at Interview was otherwise spent running bizarre errands. The oddest one by far came in October 2004: Ingrid entrusted me with her VHS recording of the previous night’s debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush, which I couriered from SoHo to the Central Park West home of the designer Donna Karan. Donna did not answer the door, but her foyer was glorious and her housekeeper was very polite.”

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VANESSA STEVENS

Owner and director of VS+Company
August 1994

“I interned in the photo department the summer between my junior and senior years in college, and my time there changed the way I look at pictures. I was majoring in photography at RISD, which was a conceptual program that included introspective critiques of work, discussions of alternate processes, and photo history—all very traditional and weighty. At Interview, everyone legitimately loved celebrities, beautiful people, and beautiful pictures. The energy there was a brilliant contrast to school. Images were chosen because they looked good or because they made you feel good.”

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BLAKE GLOVER

Stylist and designer
Summer 2006

“It was the dead of summer when I found myself tasked with prepping for a furries-inspired shoot the following day. I had to source the costumes for the next morning. I scrambled through every resource I had in order to locate three costumes: a squirrel, a bear, and a rabbit. The next day, on set in Coney Island, the editor turned to me and said, ‘I totally forgot to cast someone to wear these costumes.’ Just like that, I made my magazine debut as a squirrel.”

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NICOLE KATZ

CEO of Paper Chase Press
Summer 1999

“I was a photo department intern right after my freshman year. Back then, photographers would send physical portfolios of their work. The walkways were piled with their books and promos. You could hardly get around without tipping a stack over. I’ll never forget when Ingrid Sischy called me into her office to ask my favorite images from a pile of contact sheets she was poring over. With my heart in my throat, I offered up a few suggestions. All of them were immediately shot down.”

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MITCHELL NUGENT

Associate Manager, Brand Marketing, and Partnerships at Interview
August 2014–January 2015

“In August 2014, I sweat  through my linen suit as I fumbled through my interview for an editorial internship with the magazine’s then-associate editors. Feeling defeated, I handed over an edit test I imagined up the night before—a conversation in which Donna Tartt interviews Lindsay Lohan about her prison stints that would be titled ‘Lindsay’s Not-So-Secret History.’ Five years later, I’m still here.”

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ALEX VADUKUL

Correspondent at The New York Times
2007-ish

“The magazine was situated at the time in a big beautiful office above the old Prada store in SoHo. Early on, I was told that transcribing interviews would be a big part of my job, but I was taken aback when an editor handed me a clunky, battered tape recorder and a pair of Walkman headphones. Apparently, the magazine’s famous celebrity interviews were still being conducted on increasingly ancient analog technology. Transcribing the interviews took painstaking hours and the audio quality was hissy and grainy. The celebrities were also usually gallivanting or hanging out as they spoke with each other, with little journalistic decorum, adding to the terrible audio quality. Looking back on it now, though, I see a charm in having had to listen to it all on the clunky machines that recorded them.”

This article appears in the fall 2019 50th anniversary issue of Interview magazine. Subscribe here.