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Alumna lands dream job at NY fashion house

By Jenni Wiener
On September 15, 2011

Miami University may not be Princeton, Harvard or Yale, but it produces students who are just as ready and eager for success. Christina Kazanjian, who graduated in May 2011, has already proven herself in the real world.

Kazanjian now works in New York City as the assistant to Paula Sutter, president of Diane von Furstenberg's fashion design house.

"I am literally like Anne Hathaway from The Devil Wears Prada," Kazanjian said. "It is the coolest, craziest job, but the difference is that my boss is awesome."

Life in the fashion world is more complicated than it seems. Kazanjian does everything from running errands for Sutter to taking her kids to soccer practice to assisting personnel for New York's Fashion Week.

"It's challenging and there is always something to do," Kazanjian said. "I'm responsible for making sure Paula's day goes smoothly, which can be pressuring at times."

Although Kazanjian has the job "a million girls would kill for," getting a job in the New York fashion world is not an easy task. Kazanjian graduated from Miami with a degree in broadcast journalism and was accepted into NBC's prestigious Page program right out of college.

"The Page program is a glorified, paid internship that is 12 months long," Kazanjian said. "About 97 percent of the people accepted get a job from it. It's a very hard program to get into and very competitive, but worth it in the end."

As an NBC page, Kazanjian rotated through different departments of the network. She said she had no idea which department she was interested in, but wanted to try production and marketing. Her internship started July 4, 2011 and she was hired at her current position by mid-August.

"The Page program is awesome for networking and finding jobs," Kazanjian said. "They send job opportunities over a listserv, which is how I found the application for this job."

Kazanjian said she has always loved fashion, but never had any experience in the field, so when this opportunity arose, she immediately went after it.

"I emailed the contact with my resume, and when I didn't hear back, I followed up with them," Kazanjian said. "Turns out they had already hired someone who wasn't very good and I sent my follow-up e-mail right on time. It's one of those things that must have been meant to be. I have always dreamed of this opportunity, but never thought it was a reality."

An education from Miami helped Kazanjian get to where she is today, she said.

"Miami professors were so accepting and always took time out of their busy schedules to meet with me," Kazanjian said. "They always supported my crazy ideas and allowed me to grow so much. I couldn't have done it without their support."

To students with high aspirations, Kazanjian says, "be eager and don't think any job is too big or too small." She advises students to get their names out there and be determined. "Have confidence and people will believe in you," she said. "Believe in yourself and others will too."

Senior Nicole Campbell said she is inspired by Kazanjian's story.

"She is living the life that everyone wants to live," Campbell said. "I wish her the best and I only hope that my life can be just as exciting."

Kazanjian said she could not be happier with where she is today.

"I'm not a mold for someone who wants to get into the fashion industry," Kazanjian said. "It came to me. So I suggest people go to the city they want to be in and experience what it has to offer."

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