Bryant is a film student at the University of Southern California, so it's no surprise that she'd take on the gig since we've all seen the fabulous and innovative TV and film projects Beyoncé and the fam have blessed the world with. Parkwood's body of work (think Lemonade, Cadillac Records, and Homecoming) speaks to the power of owning your narrative as a Black creative while offering an authentic and unique voice in telling other stories of Black culture as well.
And I'm sure the opportunity to network, work with, and learn from the best of the best in entertainment aren't bad perks, either.
When it comes to landing a dream internship that will indeed set your career on the right path, there are a few important things to remember:
1. Make the most of your current network and the networks of those who love you when pursuing a top internship (or any job opportunity.)
You could be reading this article and thinking, "Well, it is Natalia Bryant. She has privilege and her mom has access to the who's who of sports and entertainment." Well, maybe.
But, that's not the point.
When it comes to the family we are born into, the place where we live, or other major aspects of our lives, we must think about our resources and how we can tap in. We all have the play the hell out of the cards we have in our hands in that regard.
Whether it's your parents' colleagues, your school's alumni, or your close vicinity to a company's headquarters, use every advantage you have, speak up, and pitch yourself for the internship (or other job opportunities) of your dreams. Be sure you're professional, you know your stuff, and you're able to humbly follow the application process without the expectation of a "hook up" or "special treatment." You must indeed be an asset.
Even if you're not just starting out but want to break into a different aspect of your industry, make a career pivot, or change careers altogether, it might be a good idea to apply for an internship, externship, or fellowship as a side hustle to get the experience, gain the contacts, learn the lessons, and get your foot in the door.
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2. Be an open-minded, deliberate, and creative thinker when applying for the chance to hone your craft via an internship.
As public spectators of this recent news, we can't be sure of Bryant's exact career goals related to filmmaking, but with an internship that involves working in any capacity on a major global tour, there are so many facets of creative direction, project management, communications, and other vital skills she might learn in the process.
That being said, don't limit yourself when it comes to a certain company or title when pursuing an internship. Sometimes going for a spot at a small business doing big things is better than competing with thousands of others for those same few spots at the Fortune 500s. Sometimes finding other ways to get in the door is better than going the traditional or popular route for an internship.
At 19, I applied to a program facilitated by a prestigious organization that my dream magazine was a member of, not directly to that magazine's HR. I knew that going through that organization would hold a lot more weight, I'd get prime placement, I'd get to network with other young journalism students who were chosen out of hundreds of applications, and I'd be offered certain perks that came with being part of their program.
Once in the office, several of the interns who applied directly to the magazine expressed to me, at the time, that they were getting coffee most days and doing "grunt work." I, on the other hand, worked closely with award-winning seasoned writers, got a cubicle of my own, and was mentored by an independent publisher within the company (who, by the way, honored me with an editorial assistant credit on a special book project I helped edit and assisted in producing).
I also got a published clip, something, by the end of that summer, was elusive to other interns there. I indeed had to work hard and prove myself---and the experience didn't come without tears, a bit of gaslighting, and early Devil Wears Prada-type lessons about the magazine industry---but being strategic and open-minded proved smart for me.
After the internship was over, I applied for---and was offered---a job with the publishing organization, as I saw that as a power move, but my path would lead me to continue to be a writer and editor. As the cliche goes, the rest is history.
(And to clarify: There's nothing necessarily wrong with getting coffee or making copies as an intern if that's something you can leverage, if you're forward-thinking when interacting with those you're doing those tasks for, and if you're not being taken advantage of via a waste of your talent and time capital.)
3. Find a way to stand out as an applicant in the most unique, authentic way possible.
Once you have the basics down---a well-crafted resume, a professional communication style, creative ideas, and a work ethic that speaks for itself---find something about yourself that stands out and work the hell out of that. If you're always in the know about the interesting or behind-the-scenes aspects of an industry, trade, or craft, be able to illustrate that when interviewed. If you're an innovator who does things in a different way, has a unique approach to processes, or can do something quicker and more efficiently than others, use that.
If you're a savvy speaker with a gift of gab or you're simply fabulous and know how to work a room, use it, sis. If you're the most emotionally intelligent, solid person who's relied upon during times of crisis and calm, talk about applicable situations in which that has been beneficial.
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Back when I was a student, I was always one to speak my mind--especially in class discussions or when asked my opinion on something. I attended an HBCU, so I was super-confident in taking up space and using my voice. I was also very well-trained in giving something 150% of effort---you know, that whole good-better-best, early-is-on-time type of college upbringing.
I'd always look at issues in a totally different light or add my own spin to approaching a story. This served me well when applying for top internships, as well as after landing them.
I once felt so intimidated by my peers during my time at a summer institute hosted by one of the top global newspapers that I totally flopped my first news assignment. To be honest with you, it was focused on a coverage area that I just wasn't particularly interested in, and I wasn't being true to myself.
For the next assignment, while others were writing about gruesome crimes in the community or some other elaborate exposé in an effort to impress, I chose to write what I knew: Black culture and its societal impact. The story ended up being a big hit and won over the editors of that newspaper. (I'd later work for the host newspaper and become an instructor at the institute.)
I tell that story to say, find what makes you unique and run with it. Internships are where you can shine while failing forward, but remember that being you is super-valuable as well.
If anything, allow the news of Bryant's internship to inspire you to go for your dreams today, get more deliberate about placing yourself in direct alignment to collide with success, and be super-unapologetic about it.
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Featured image by Steven Simione / Contributor /Getty Images
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