A lot of models and actresses are gorgeous -- "drop dead" gorgeous even -- but people like Amy Astley and Jane Keltner are beautiful in a different way. They shine and illuminate the room with their confidence and presence -- they're soft-spoken but firm. You see them as leaders and role models not for their perfect abs or paparazzi sightings -- but because they have an aura that draws you to them and brilliance that actually illuminates outward. Amy Astley did not attend an Ivy League school -- she attended Michigan State University. Nor is she British. Anna Wintour handpicked her to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue's little sister publication -- which is a reminder to all of us that when it comes down to achieving our dreams, it's about our character -- and Amy Astley is definitely an amazing person.
I must say, all the ladies I saw at Condé Nast are much more glamorous and poised than I could ever fathom in my imagination. The woman I shared the elevator with works at Cookie -- and she was extremely elegant looking even in a pair of casual corduroys.
The security guards at Hearst are so friendly and always up for a chat with tourists -- "It's mandatory to take photos once you're here," they joked. As I walked up the steep escalator, one of them said, "Have a ball, darling!" They are so adorable.
I did visit New York University, Columbia University and Barnard College -- all three left very different impressions on me.
This summer, I had originally planned to spend most of my weekends (when I'm not helping out on photoshoots) at the Met or shopping. I'm sure I will do some of that -- but I'm also going to pack a pair of sneakers and walk around the five boroughs of New York City with my copy of Lonely Planet.New York University: New York City, NYThe truth is, New York University didn't impress me as much as I thought it would. My college counselor expected this school to be one of my top choices -- but I'm a cheerleader, and I love traditional rah-rah schools. Don't get me wrong -- I love the city so much and I feel like I belong there, but NYU just doesn't seem to provide me the academic experience I am looking for. There is no campus -- which means there is a disjointed fragmentation around the school. It's still an interesting school with lots of opportunities to offer me (because of the city) -- and I will definitely apply, but it does lack the school unity that I seek. That said, I met with my friend who is at NYU Stern (an extremely prestigious business school) and she said, "The great thing about students from our high-school is that we learn to adapt and make the best of what we have. So if you come here, you'll learn to make it your own."
Barnard College: New York City, NYBarnard College is very interesting -- it's a liberal arts college for women, affiliated with Columbia University. There is a separate administration and admissions process, but the two schools are free to use each other's facilities and take each other's classes. I'm not too keen on women-only colleges, but Barnard is definitely an interesting alternative. The advising program is absolutely fabulous and much more personal than that of Columbia -- someone like me who loves her classes so much would enjoy this. My daddy however, is still obsessed with Wellesley College.Columbia University: New York City, NYI love Columbia University -- it is the closest to a close-knit college town environment that I can get in New York City. The resources are endless and the students are incredibly driven with New York City attitudes and brilliant minds. The Core Curriculum is very appealing -- when you are officially enrolled as a freshman, the school sends you a copy of The Iliad to read before you start class. A lot of the focus is on Western civilization, but luckily New York City offers a wide plethora of cultures and opportunities. The campus is much larger than I expected because some rooms are six floors under the ground.
I spoke to a friend at Columbia who majors in Economics, and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard: "When you get to New York City and you're living by yourself, pick up a copy of Lonely Planet. Roam around the five boroughs by yourself -- see the city. It doesn't end at West Village."
Behind the vacant gazes in the subway station, there must be lots of stories in uncover -- and I'm inclined to find them.