I first met Samaris Pagán at a makeup brand launching party. Not at the bar or in the dance floor, but at the makeup display, admiring everything shiny and new. We quickly started talking about makeup and our fascination for Tati Westbrook. So once I learned she used to be an intern at Merodea, I knew I had to interview her for the Intern Diaries Series. Because let's be real here, If I were in college right now, I would've died for an internship at Merodea, so the fact that she's already writing for the website and is one of the publication's faces (similar to Lucie Fink for R29!) before graduating college, amazes me.
So get ready to get some serious advice from this girl!
What are you studying in college and why?
I currently study General Communications with a minor in Journalism at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan. I've always loved writing but I felt like I could definitely learn a lot from other areas so that's why I decided on a General Communications Bachelors. I've taken all types of classes from marketing, advertising and public relations to radio. It wasn’t until I took an Introduction to Journalism class that I knew this was the path that I needed to take.
I'll finally be done by December this year. I am so beyond ready to put on that cap and gown and scream freedom.
How did you learn about the internship at Merodea?
It's actually a really random story. I had met Andrea Devoto, Merodea's Social Media Manager, at an event before, but then I literally never saw her again. Fast forward to a Journalism class we took together, we got to talking on all things fashion, Glossier and tacos. She mentioned that Merodea was looking for interns and next thing you know, I was getting interviewed the next week. So it’s all thanks to Andrea for giving me the heads up and in a way, motivating me to go for it.
Before Merodea, I was an intern assistant to both Beatriz Rodriguez and Margarita Alvarez. I helped them with all kinds of miscellaneous tasks for around 4-5 months and it was an amazing experience. They are such strong and creative women who, to this day, still inspire me.
How did you imagine your first day at Merodea?
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I've followed Merodea almost since the beginning and I’ve always admired everything they do. The thought of going on coffee runs everyday never had crossed my mind but I did imagine doing really simple tasks. I feel like with internships, you can’t expect to do anything major or groundbreaking. It’s a slow process where little by little, you start showing your potential in some areas and where you shine best.
How did your first day go by?
My first day was very scary but it was all from my part. I always tend to psyche myself out and think of the worst scenarios possible. But overall, it was a super chill first day. Everyone from the Team was so nice and they made me feel very comfortable. I did some pretty easy things (exactly what I had expected) like looking for potential social media images, generating captions for them, potential posts ideas for the website, etc.
What type of tasks were you assigned at the beginning?
I pretty much did the same duties I mentioned before. I didn't do any writing at first. I usually helped Andrea with social media duties. After that, I felt a lot more comfortable and I was able to express my interest in writing. The Team was open to the idea, so I was given creative freedom and it helped me develop a lot more confidence in my work.
I remember my first article, which was 5 things to do in Guánica and I was beyond ecstatic because it performed really well on social media. I got good feedback and even a cookie from Double Cake so I was over the moon.
What was your biggest challenge as an intern?
It definitely came down to one thing: English is my first language so it became a bit of a challenge writing certain things because I would literally translate them. It’s something I struggle with every single day. So when I would send my posts for revision, I would see all of the mistakes I was making, but I didn’t take this the wrong way. On the contrary, thanks to this, I have improved so much. I took advice from Andrea and started reading a lot from Vogue Mexico and España, which helped me even more with my writing. Apart from that, the only big challenge was preparing myself mentally for the end of my internship. [Insert violin sounds here]
What was your favorite part of the Internship at merodea?
I love how creative the women I work with are. I swear if you could sit one day in one of our brainstorming sessions, you would be amazed. That definitely had to be my favorite part of being an M-intern. Seeing how these women would make up concepts and later make them come to life and even being behind the whole process and scene of it all was truly rewarding.
Merodea could be considered a startup/ small business. How do you compare your internship to the experience of some of your peers that perhaps were doing internships at big and stablished corporations?
The grand majority of my friends would do internships at pharmaceuticals or engineering companies. So it's safe to say that they would do very different tasks than I would do. That doesn't mean that what I do doesn't matter or that it's less important. It still adds some kind of value to someone, somewhere. But at the same time, people have this incorrect perception that the job I’m in is super fabulous because I get to go to events, assist photo shoots and receive goodies. You can’t even imagine how wrong that is. Sure, it’s super fun to be able to do all of that but at the same time, it’s hard work. There are so many details that you have to keep in mind that even forgetting one can change anything. So regardless if you’re doing an internship in fashion or engineering, or if the company is small or big, you’re doing important and valuable work.
How were you offered the job as a writer?
I had started interning around April and by September/October, I was offered the writer position which in my case was altered for beauty and lifestyle. I was extremely surprised and humbled when Melissa, our CEO, sat me down and offered it to me. I couldn't believe it. One of my favorite local publications wants to hire lil' old me? I had various “pinch me I’m dreaming moments”. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that have been brought to me.
Not only did you become a Merodea writer after your internship, you ended up being one of the faces of publication. tell me a little about your experience representing Merodea in social media?
Again, it has been insanely humbling to represent in any way or form the face of Merodea. I don't want to sound snob-ish but it's an awesome feeling. Simply because like I said before, I feel like doing these things: creating content, doing live first impressions, I’m helping someone with a problem whether it's which face mask in the market is better or if the latest beauty trend is worth your time and money.
Was it something that came in natural or was it a process of adaptation?
I'll admit: it didn't come super natural. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’m the most millennial person you’ll ever meet and I may seem pretty confident at first but I do have my shy moments, especially when cameras are around. This is where my insecurities get the best of me. But I find them very normal and in no way or form should they be hidden. We all have insecurities and we choose when and how we want to work on them but I think the best way to confront them is to stop avoiding them and attack them immediately. Exposing myself to these little things, whether it’s leading Merodea’s Instagram stories or being on the cover photo of one of my posts, has helped me be more open and confident to whatever comes my way.
Do you have any organization tips or tricks to keep your academic and work life at check?
As I mentioned before, I am the most millennial person you’ll ever met. I say words like slay and lit and Glossier and Milk Makeup are my mains when it comes to beauty. But when it comes to organization wise, I’m so old school, it’s hilarious. I got my trusty old daily planner from Anthropologie to keep me as organized as possible. Besides Merodea, I work in retail and I go to school so this planner has definitely saved my life because my weeks never look empty. So whether it’s a digital calendar or a physical planner, get one please. They will be your mom when she’s not always around.
What advice would you give other students who are looking for a paying job after finishing an internship?
I would tell them that they need to be open to anything. The word “no” can’t be an answer when you’re interning. The possibilities within internships are endless so denying them would be a shame. I also learned from Melissa that if you see something that is wrong or can be fixed, do something about it. Whining and moaning will get you nowhere. Do your work and if any bumps in the road come your way, find the way to deal with them.
What have you learned from the Merodea Team?
Persistence is key. You can’t just give up because things get hard. If that were the case, we would all be lost. Also collaboration over competition is very important. As a team consisting of all women, it’s essential for us to always remember to be inclusive because we know, at the end of the day; the job gets done with much ease when we work together.
Based on your current work experience and skills, what advice would you give yourself back in your first day of college?
You’re going to be fine. Stop stressing so much. Breathe, little one. Those are some of the things I would say to 17-year-old Samaris right now. To me, starting college was, in a way, the end of all things regarding my childhood. I avoided adulting as much as possible but I’m glad I got over my silly fears and faced them. Sometimes, I still avoid adulting but taking on so many responsibilities, in my work place and university duties, had done a great deal for me, professionally and personally.
Random facts about Samaris:
Dog or cat: Dogs
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Lipstick or liquid lipstick: Liquid lipstick (Kylie and Kat Von D)
Snapchat Stories or Instagram Stories: Instagram for aesthetics, Snapchat for silliness
Favorite local brand: LUCA, Necromancy Cosmetica, Sally Torres Vega, Luiny
Favorite blog: Into The Gloss, The Anna Edit, Man Repeller, Atelier Dore
Person you admire: Leandra Medine & Daenerys Targaryen, unapologetic women who don’t give a shiz.
Favorite local shops: Moni & Coli, Love is You and Me and Collective Request.
Favorite makeup brand: Hard question because I’m always rotating but at the moment, Glossier and Burberry Beauty.
Favorite branding: Glossier forever. Emily Weiss can do no wrong.
Heels or flats: Flats
Favorite scent: I’m very into woody and smoky scents.
Must have fashion accessory: Rings
BONUS! Want to be an Intern at Merodea? Send your resumé to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!