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intern diaries

Intern Diaries | Samaris Pagán's Journey at Merodea

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
Picture by  Rocío Lugo

Picture by Rocío Lugo

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.

samaris pagan - merodea at libros ac


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. 

It’s a slow process where little by little, you start showing your potential in some areas and where you shine best. 
— Samaris Pagán
Samaris with fellow M-Intern, Laura Molina.

Samaris with fellow M-Intern, Laura Molina.


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]

From left to right: Andrea Devoto, Kisai Ponce and Samaris Pagán. Source: Facebook.

From left to right: Andrea Devoto, Kisai Ponce and Samaris Pagán. Source: Facebook.

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. 

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
— Samaris Pagán



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. 

samaris pagan merodea


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. 

Part of the Merodea Team at the #MerodeaSummerCabana this past June. // Picture by Adriana Corbet

Part of the Merodea Team at the #MerodeaSummerCabana this past June. // Picture by Adriana Corbet

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. 
— Samaris Pagán


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 info@merodea.com. Good luck! 

From Intern to Full Time Employee at DOT Communications

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
karla hernandez dot communications

Kiara was the first person who ever contacted me to send me some products from one of her brands she works with at DOT Communications, back when ambinity was just a baby. I still remember the excitement! She was one of the first people who clearly believed in me and has been a great supporter of ambinity ever since. She even referred me to Alfredo Monterola, the Makeup Artist & Spoke Person for L'Oreal Paris Puerto Rico, so I could interview him for one of my firsts career profiles

I always admired that with such a young age (she's currently 23!), Kiara has that much passion and dedication towards her job. She even describes her job's creative process as feeling butterflies in her belly! I mean, who wouldn't feel passionate about working with Maybelline, Garnier, Essie, NYX and L'Oreal?! So when I found out she was an intern at DOT Communications before going full time, I knew I had to interview her for the Intern Diaries series. Hope you enjoy it!

What did you study in college and why?

I studied Advertising and Public Relations in the School of Communication at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Río Piedras Campus. 

My dad was a radio host for a long time, so that's where I first got my influence in the communications industry. And to be really honest, I first heard about the term "public relations" from Kelly Cutrone back in high school. In that moment I wanted to do what she was doing because she was THE boss. I loved that she didn't wear trendy clothing or wear a lot of makeup. 

Did you have good grades in college?

Yeah, I really did. But I wasn't a nerd; I would study to get good grades, but I wasn't a book worm. 

Do you think it was important to have good grades in order to do your job right today?

I don't believe that having a 4.0 should be your only goal in college because I honestly feel like your experiences are your presentation card. Like for example, if I had the chance to hire someone for my team right now, I would value much more their experiences, their internships or studying abroad programs. All those things open up your perspective to the world and give you empathy for other people. 

I always recommend to do two things during college: 1) Do an internship and 2) study abroad. 

Have you traveled?

Yes, I studied abroad at the Universidad de Málaga in Spain. 

College can help you a lot in your growth as a person, but if you don't travel to different places you will never value what your are taught at home. I am more aware than ever that the UPR is outstanding. I came back prouder than ever to say that I studied Communication at the UPR!

kiara hernandez dot communications
kiara hernandez dot
kiara hernandez
kiara hernandez dot communications
intercambio en europa upr

What was your first job during college? 

I was a student assistant at the Jose M. Lázaro Library at the UPR. I did a lot of things like checking everyone's bags to make sure no one was stealing stuff and worked at the information desk to make sure people knew where to find the right information they were looking for.  

I also received a lot of academic journals that I had to catalog, which was an experience that really helped my career. That's how I got informed about news from around the world. I learned how to step out of my shell and get comfortable with the world's media.

Did you have any other jobs that helped you grow during college?

My first "real" job before graduating college was at the Puerto Rico's edition of the Real Estate Book Magazine. Here I did a little bit of everything; from sales to coordination with designers. Since it was such a small team, I learned a lot about account management. I even once shot the cover picture of the magazine! 

How did you balanced work and school?

I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, so I’ve always known that if I want something, I have to work for it. You could say I’m a hustler!
— Kiara Hernández

I did my internship while working as an assistant student and every weekend I would go back to Fajardo, my hometown, to work at my uncle's tripleta business, La Jaltera. I did these three things for like a year! Even though I had the privilege of having parents who could provide the basics for me, I still had to go grocery shopping, pay for gas, my personal expenses and so on. 

I've been working since I was 14 years old, so I've always known that if I want something, I have to work for it. You could say I'm a hustler! 

dot communications kiara hernandez

But did you have a social life?!

I did have a social life. I feel like my last year of high school and my first two years of college were really my time to party. But after that, I really wasn't interested in going out that much. Even to this day, I would rather do nothing at home. That is my guilty pleasure! 

Just breath deeply and if you have to cry, cry. If you have to laugh hysterically, do it!
— Kiara Hernández

I also believe that once you start working at such a young age, you have a sense of responsibility that helps you balance life. But don't get me wrong, I still had days where I asked myself what am I even doing?! Is this even worth it? But that is normal, because I always had a clear goal in my mind. Just breath deeply and if you have to cry, cry. If you have to laugh hysterically, do it! 

How did you find out about the internship opportunity at DOT Communications?

During my time in COPU I had the opportunity of doing an internship for university credits, which is not mandatory, but I still enrolled. We had to do three different interviews in different work environments, and I ended up here: in my version of Kelly Cutrone! 

How was that interview like?

The person who interviewed me was Deliana Olmo (DOT Communications' president) and it was actually a very quick interview. But she did asked me for a portfolio of my school projects. 

How was your first day at DOT Communications?

Everybody was super welcoming and I had a few mentors, which is great. I was like, "this is it! This is my Kelly [Cutrone] moment!" I remember I came into the office in heels and a full face of makeup for like a week. Now I am all about a messy bun and a little bit of moisturizer and we're set! 

What was your first duty as an intern?

Since it was the first day, clippings and reports. Basic intern duties! 

What was your most memorable event during your internship?

During my first week, I had already attended a press event, where I had to work at the press registry! I was super nervous, but I really appreciated the opportunity. Usually you hear about internships where interns are just running for coffee and basic errands. But in DOT that was really not my case. I assisted in a lot of events; from simple sit down lunches to big events like San Juan Moda. I really love that DOT gives interns the opportunity to do more than just clippings. 

How did you control the nervousness of the first few days?

By practicing and actually doing what I was asked to do. That is the most important thing. Instead of just saying "this is not my thing" or "I'm not doing it right, I'm doing something else", just do it. That is the only way you will eventually find the confidence you need. 

What was the favorite part of your internship experience? 

Everyone still receives me with open arms. It is not an office where people don't talk or look at each other. The DOT culture is very friendly and welcoming and we really try to cultivate that each day in order to bring more joy into our environment. 

Also I really enjoy that they give interns the opportunity to do so much more than just the basics. That is the way to open your eyes into what the industry actually is. 

dot communications, public relations puerto rico

How did the full time job position came about?

Everything was kind of a chain of events. I did my internship from September to December 2014, but since there was so much work during my last month, they asked me to stay for a little longer. So that's how from December 2014 to June 2015 I was a part time freelancer by coming to the office three days a week! Then in June 2015 I became a full time employee. 

What has been your favorite part of working at DOT?

I love working in a place where I get to develop and express my creativity daily. From basic planning to massive national campaigns. Everyday is a new stepping stone in my position and with everyday come new challenges and exciting moments. And obviously, who wouldn't love working in the beauty industry surrounded by endless choices of lipstick?   

What would you tell other girls who want to make it in Public Relations?

This is not what people tell you in the streets, it is not what they tell you in college, and it is definitely not what it seems. A lot of girls ask me how I got my job, because "it's so cool", but it is not about sitting anywhere and putting on makeup. This is hard work and you HAVE to like it in order to voluntarily be in all the stress we are constantly in. If you don't love what you do, you won't be happy. There's no happy medium. 

What advice will you give to someone who wants an internship in public relations?

Be humble, because there’s a good chance you will be working for free at first and it won’t necessarily be a dream internship.
— Kiara Hernández

Do a good research so you don't accept whatever offer comes your way. Also, be humble, because there's a good chance you will be working for free at first and it won't necessarily be a dream internship. But don't waste opportunities! You never know which doors will open. It's all about networking. 

What mistake you remember making during your first days at DOT communications and how did you fix it?

I used to assume that everyone had the same work ethics as I do. You have to learn to work with other people, because the way you do your job is not necessarily the only way or right way to do it. I am not saying I work better than other people, but it is a learning process. I still struggle with this.

Do you feel like your experience in Public Relations was more important than your education?

It is not about good grades, but my experience at the UPR helped me break out of my shell. I don't think education is important in terms of being a nerd or book worm, but it is key in terms of opening up your mind to new perspectives. 

Weather you like it or not, the UPR helps you be super independent! 

What is the biggest lesson you have taken out of all these experiences?

Regardless of all lessons I've had, the most important has to be that I did not settle. I learned to step out of my comfort zone if I don't feel at my full capacity. That's how you know this is not the place or industry for you. Make sure that you're doing what you know you are meant to do. 

What advice will you give your 18 year old self?

Don't be afraid and don't doubt yourself. Always have a next goal in mind!

What is the best part about working in Public Relations?

Even though DOT is a PR firm, we do a lot more. I love everything that has to do with the creative process. Like executing a digital strategy and taking it to the next level. That is what fills me with energy! Once you start developing that idea and you see the end result it's like BOOM! Star moment! And you feel all the butterflies in your belly. 

kiara hernandez dot communications

This or That with Kiara:

  • Dog or cat: DOG!
  • Coffee or tea: Coffee
  • Heels or platforms: Platforms
  • Lipstick or liquid lipstick: Lipstick
  • Snapchat Stories or Instagram Stories: Snapchat
  • Morning or night: Night
  • Mansion or yacht: Yacht. I am from Fajardo, Puerto Rico!
  • Beach or countryside: Beach!
  • Shoes or purses: Shoes, because I hate purses. If it were for me, I would use a man's wallet every day. 
  • Smokey eyes or cat eyes: Cat eyes

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY!

If you are interested in applying for the internship program at DOT Communications, you can email your resume at info@communicationsbydot.com. Just remember to include your college year, name of school, in which area would you like to work at and why you should be chosen to be part of DOT's intern team. 

If you would like to read more career profiles like these, click here. As always, don't forget to share this post with your friends if you found it useful and subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss a blog post. :) 

Until next time, 

María Elena