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MH backstage production ZV show

How I went from working retail at a local mall to producing fashion shows at New York Fashion Week...

Breaking into the fashion industry can seem impossible, especially because it is still unfortunately a world where nepotism largely rules. However, it is very much possible to make your way in even if your parents don’t own a major fashion house or have personal connections at Vogue.

I’m living proof.

MH backstage production ZV show

How I went from working retail at a local mall to producing fashion shows at New York Fashion Week...

Breaking into the fashion industry can seem impossible, especially because it is still unfortunately a world where nepotism largely rules. However, it is very much possible to make your way in even if your parents don’t own a major fashion house or have personal connections at Vogue.

I’m living proof.

How I went from working retail at a local mall to producing fashion shows at New York Fashion Week...

Breaking into the fashion industry can seem impossible, especially because it is still unfortunately a world where nepotism largely rules. However, it is very much possible to make your way in even if your parents don’t own a major fashion house or have personal connections at Vogue.

I’m living proof.

THE BEGINNING

MALL JOBS, MANNEQUINS AND
THE CHANGE OF A DREAM

I never thought I would be part of the fashion industry...

As a kid, I grew up with the dream of being a performer.
Voice lessons, dance recitals, acting classes, that was the entirety of my childhood.

I also loved making things beautiful. As a kid that
meant making clothes for my Barbies and playing for hours at a time.
As an adult, it would mean creating visual displays and styling models for photo shoots.

Slowly, fashion took over over my childhood dreams of being a famous
Broadway star. So, it was no surprise that at 16 I got my first job
working retail at a clothing store in the mall.

As a kid, I grew up with the dream of being a performer. Voice lessons, dance recitals, acting classes – that was the entirety of my childhood.

I also loved making things beautiful. As a kid that meant making clothes for my Barbies and playing for hours at a time. As an adult, it would mean creating visual displays and styling models for photo shoots.

Slowly, fashion took over over my childhood dreams of being a famous Broadway star. So, it was no surprise that at 16 I got my first job working retail at a clothing store in the mall.

Retail gave me the opportunity to work while going to school
and would continue to do so my entire college career.
Retail gave me the opportunity to work while going to school and would continue to do so my entire college career.

In the end, I spent a total of six years in retail as a sales associate, personal shopper, store manager,
visual sales manager and finally, as a visual merchandising stylist.

What started as a way to make money to buy cute clothes became the means and the
hands-on experience I would need in order to attend FIT and later LIM (my proud alma maters).

In the end, I spent a total of six years in retail as a sales associate, personal shopper, store manager, visual sales manager and finally, as a visual merchandising stylist.

What started as a way to make money to buy cute clothes became the means and the hands-on experience I would need in order to attend FIT and later, LIM (my proud alma maters).

Working and going to school full time meant that my time management skills had to be razor sharp,
otherwise the carefully constructed schedule I had built would come crashing down.
Working and going to school full time meant that my time management skills had to be razor sharp, otherwise the carefully constructed schedule I had built would come crashing down.

Mornings and nights were spent at work. Afternoons were spent rushing to the train,
commuting 1.5 hours to get to class, then racing back to relieve my boss and close the store.
Homework was done on the train and every single weekend was spent at work.

This was the only way I could achieve my full time 40-hour a week status
and still graduate.

Mornings and nights were spent at work. Afternoons were spent rushing to the train, commuting 1.5 hours to get to class, then racing back to relieve my boss and close the store. Homework was done on the train and every single weekend was spent at work.

This was the only way I could achieve my full time
40-hour a week status and still graduate.

IT WAS SHEER MADNESS AND I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW I MANAGED TO PULL IT OFF.

INSIDE MY WORLD OF
NYFW FASHION SHOWS
I STARTED WORKING BACKSTAGE AS A VOLUNTEER MODEL DRESSER.

Over the next 10 years, I would learn
every single aspect of a fashion show.

Over the next 10 years, I would learn every single aspect of a fashion show.

During my time at FIT, one of my professors introduced me to the world of fashion shows and it changed the course of my life. I was HOOKED. The crazy energy and adrenaline backstage, the absolute precision – every second mattered and my head just spun.

Over the years, no matter what full-time job I had, I continued to volunteer for as many shows and events as I could in order to get as much hands-on experience as possible. In addition to fashion shows, I worked on all kinds of live events including, award shows, film premieres and music festivals.

I STARTED WORKING BACKSTAGE AS A VOLUNTEER MODEL DRESSER.

Over the next 10 years, I would learn
every single aspect of a fashion show.

During my time at FIT, one of my professors introduced me to the world of fashion shows and it changed the course of my life. I was HOOKED. The crazy energy and adrenaline backstage, the absolute precision – every second mattered and my head just spun.

Over the years, no matter what full-time job I had, I continued to volunteer for as many shows and events as I could in order to get as much hands-on experience as possible. In addition to fashion shows, I worked on all kinds of live events including, award shows, film premieres and music festivals.

backstage models before show

This would prove to be invaluable for the next step in my career:

CORPORATE MARKETING & EVENTS AT RALPH LAUREN.

What started as an internship at RL ended up being my ‘home’ for the next seven years. My time with the company proved to be one of the most important steps in my career as I was able to work in public relations, marketing, styling, ecommerce, events and online marketing – broadening my skill sets and strengthening my experience as a professional in ways I never thought possible.

After my time at Ralph Lauren and armed with years of experience, I was finally ready for the next facet of my career as a freelancer.

backstage models before show

This would prove to be invaluable for the next step in my career:

CORPORATE MARKETING & EVENTS AT RALPH LAUREN.

backstage models before show

What started as an internship at RL ended up being my ‘home’ for the next seven years. My time with the company proved to be one of the most important steps in my career as I was able to work in public relations, marketing, styling, ecommerce, events and online marketing – broadening my skill sets and strengthening my experience as a professional in ways I never thought possible.

After my time at Ralph Lauren and armed with years of experience, I was finally ready for the next facet of my career as a freelancer.

full access pass fashion show

COMPANIES

EVENTIQUE.
EYESIGHT GROUP
SOFIA CROKOS EVENTS
JENNIFER ZABINSKI EVENTS
BB’S BACKSTAGE
RALPH LAUREN
ELLIE AWARDS FOUNDATION
HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE
NIKE
PRONOVIAS
FOUNDATION FOR AIDS
BOB WOODRUFF FOUNDATION
LVMH
MACYS
NEIMAN MARCUS
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
NEIMAN MARCUS
NINE WEST
SEVEN BAR FOUNDATION
TORY BURCH
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO
WISE & CO.
A CURRENT AFFAIR
VEUVE CLICQUOT
MAKE-A-WISH
TICKETMASTER
MERCEDES BENZ
GUCCI
EXPRESS
BACARDI

plaza hotel gala tables

EVENTS

HUMANE SOCIETY GALA
CCBF GALA
EMERY AWARDS
NY FASHION WEEK
AMFAR GALA
BERGDORF GOODMAN
WOMEN OF DISTINCTION
NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS
FASHION FOR RELIEF
WOMEN IN THE WORLD SUMMIT
NFL FASHION EVENT
TORTUGA MUSIC FESTIVAL
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
JEFFREY CARES EVENT SHOW
STAND UP FOR HEROES
POLO RALPH LAUREN SHOW
LED ZEPPELIN: CELEBRATION DAY
EXPRESS: ROCK THE SIDEWALK
AAFA AMERICAN IMAGE AWARDS
BENEFIT 7 BAR FOUNDATION
BARCELONA BEACH FESTIVAL
AMERICAN IMAGE AWARDS
GUCCI SUNGLASS EVENT – SPAIN
VEUVE CLICQUOT POLO MATCH
STARS FROM TOMORROW
MACY’S THANKSGIVING PARADE
BILL BLASS CHARITY GALA
DILLARDS KENTUCKY DERBY
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD EXHIBIT
UNICEF 70TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

black and white runway finale

SHOWS

KITH
N. HOOLYWOOD
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
GIORGIO ARMANI
ZADIG & VOLTAIRE
MISHA COLLECTION
CREATURES OF COMFORT
PRABAL GURUNG
VICTORIA’S SECRET 
NOON BY NOOR
PRONOVIAS
BROOKS BROTHERS
PETER PILOTTO
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
RACHEL ZOE
CELINE
MARCHESA
CHARLOTTE RONSON
THE BLONDS
ERIN FETHERSTON
STELLA MCCARTNEY
MONIQUE LHUILLIER
VERA WANG
MANGO X JCP LAUNCH SHOW
ZAC POSEN
RACHEL ZOE
MARA HOFFMAN
JEREMY SCOTT
RODARTE
THAKOON

FOLLOW ME
Around the World

Four years ago, I set out on my first ever 3-month solo trip around Europe. Armed with every possible outfit and accessory I could fit in a giant suitcase, I was ready to take on all the fashion capitals of the world. Two weeks in, everything I brought with me on this fabulous trip was STOLEN.

While the experience itself was traumatic the day it happened, it changed my life forever. Fast forward to today, thanks to that experience, I realized I could explore the world with next to nothing and be ok.  

I have since become a solo backpacker, with 32 countries and 142 cities proudly under my belt.

Follow my adventures around the world while I learn new cultures, try new foods and visit ALL the fashion museums I possibly can.

FOLLOW ME
Around the World

Four years ago, I set out on my first ever 3-month solo trip around Europe. Armed with every possible outfit and accessory I could fit in a giant suitcase, I was ready to take on all the fashion capitals of the world. Two weeks in, everything I brought with me on this fabulous trip was STOLEN.

While the experience itself was traumatic the day it happened, it changed my life forever. Fast forward to today, thanks to that experience, I realized I could explore the world with next to nothing and be ok.  

I have since become a solo backpacker, with 32 countries and 142 cities proudly under my belt.

Follow my adventures around the world while I learn new cultures, try new foods and visit ALL the fashion museums I possibly can.

GET TO KNOW ME

A LITTLE ABOUT

Maria

My mission is to help you achieve your career goals

faster and with less setbacks than I had.

runway fashion show models
Runway models on catwalk feet shoes legs
so tell me.

Are You Ready...

→ To take the first steps and start your dream career within the fashion industry?

→  To further your skill sets, making you a more marketable candidate?

→  To learn about different facets of the fashion industry at your own pace and without paying thousands of dollars?

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ITFI Insider

Weekly content and behind-the-scenes information to help further your career, VIP access to workshops and courses, exclusive promotions on career services, a FREE fashion career essentials guide  and SO MUCH MORE… 

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