Almost halfway through my college and pre-med career, I decided that I needed a change. After three semesters of cramming my brain full of organic and inorganic chemistry, human physiology, calculus and the like, I realized that becoming a doctor just wasn’t in the cards for me. The more I thought about making the switch from the sciences to art and design—my true passions—the more overwhelmed I got. I had a clear-cut path: complete Pre-Med at Wake Forest University, do well, take the MCAT, do even better, get into Med School, graduate and voila, become a doctor. Easy, right? Wrong—but not for the reasons that you would think. Yes, Pre-Med classes were difficult and yes, the competition was fierce, but that’s not what I found challenging. What I found most difficult was maintaining interest in medicine in the face of the seemingly irrelevant and arduous Pre-Med courses. Lacking the passion I needed to move forward, I retrained my focus on a significantly less straightforward career path. Moving away from the sciences and declaring a major in Studio Art and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise was my first, and only step on this new, crazy journey. What was I going to do with a degree in art? I had and still have no idea.
At this point, you are probably wondering how this backstory is at all relevant to an internship with Hanky Panky. Well, three weeks ago, it wasn’t. But after spending the last 15-days working at the Panty Palace, I can confidently say that I have added one more stepping stone to my path. Although this step hasn’t gotten me any closer to solidifying a professional focus, I can assure you that it has allowed me to retrospectively gaze upon my recent academic decisions with confidence.
Without this concentration shift I would have never found my way to 373 Park Avenue South. It was the ambiguity of my future that led me to interview at Hanky Panky. I had known Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s President & Creative Director, since I could walk, or more accurately, play the harp. Both taking lessons at a small studio in the Hudson Valley, Gale and I saw each other at annual recitals and always managed to catch up regarding our mutual love for horses and the harp. My eight year-old self was completely oblivious to the world of lingerie, but as I grew older I came to admire and appreciate the Hanky Panky vision. The entrepreneurial mindset of Gale and Lida Orzeck, Hanky Panky’s co-founder and CEO, laid the foundation of their now thriving company and was a constant inspiration to me. It was these qualities, paired with the essence of creativity and aesthetics found in Fashion that encouraged me to seek out this internship.
Several months after accepting the position of Roving Creative Intern, I arrived wide-eyed and nervous to my first day of work. With only two semesters of college art under my belt and absolutely no formal design or fashion experience, I was horrified at the prospect of being asked to do something that I didn’t know how to do. Although foreign tasks were frequent at first, they were never assigned without thorough guidance. Everyone that I have worked under thus far has instructed each task with clear detail and has never hesitated to answer my endless stream of questions. In my three weeks with Hanky Panky, I have not once felt like “just an intern.” My opinion is regularly asked, heard and valued—I am part of the team.