Each one of us has a platform that transcends our upcoming beginnings for our future aspirations. You know what they say, “You gotta pay your dues.” Nicole Kliest is a Pepperdine and FIDM alum, a former editorial intern at 944, and now has landed her current position at Who What Wear as Associate Photo Editor. For this Santa Barbra native hard work never looked so fashionable in the City of Angels.

College Fashionista: Congrats on Who What Wear! So tell us a day in the life of an Associate Photo Editor

Nicole Kliest: Well for starters it’s definitely a multitask environment. It’s balancing out what I do independently along with communicating with my team. Red carpet, paparazzi, and runway images are vital content to the site so there is an extensive amount of research. I pitch new concepts, coordinate product shoots and secure additional images needed for all WWW projects. I work alongside the creative director to create the mood boards for upcoming photo shoots and on the product shoot set I work with the photographer to ensure a unified final layout.

CF: Your resume reads an impressive list of prestigious experiences. How has your background shaped you and your work ethic?

NK: Pepperdine was like my bread and butter. My traditional college experience. I met amazing friends, began my professional career and started to understand the processes of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. My time at 944 Magazine was brief (6 months) but allowed me to hone in on my different interests and skill sets. I was provided the opportunity to assist in different realms of producing a magazine from research to reporting to writing to red carpet interviewing to assisting for photo shoots. FIDM was a total leap of faith. I graduated from Pepperdine with thoughts of becoming a journalist. The whole idea of it (becoming a journalist) depressed me really because I knew how much I loved fashion, but always viewed it as this intangible goal. FIDM was like a bridge for that goal. There were times I thought I was making a mistake, but I can now reflect back and see that each step I've taken for the past five years has been taken not in vain, but in a long sequence of steps that have led me to a really great place. I'm really excited to start the rest of my life.

CF: When did you discover your love for fashion?

NK: It wasn’t necessarily a childhood dream but I always felt a great curiosity towards it. There came a point where I felt like I finally just got it! I understood myself and to me the influences were everywhere. I highly admire Grace Coddington for her talent but above all her passion. It’s very organic and really comes from within. My own personal style is very inspired by my surroundings and people because we all have something unique to share.

CF: What are your thoughts about L.A. Fashion?

NK: Los Angeles is sometimes overlooked when it comes to fashion. I know we’re not Paris or New York but we have an amazing, eclectic group of people who represent this side of the coast. L.A. is made up of so many different areas so you get to see style defined in numerous ways. On The East side you definitely get in touch with the organic edge of the urban look, then you have art districts emphasizing a hipster look. The West Side has a lot of play in luxury, and the in-betweens! As much as it seems divided, in a way, fashion is one of the ways it’s kept unified.

CF: What do you hope to see for future generations who represent fashion?

NK: Fashion itself is inevitable to change so I don’t think that the recipe needs to be tweaked I just think talented, creative, and modern additions need to be a part of the cycle to keep it moving.

CF: What’s your advice for those trying to open the doors to the fashion industry?

NK: The most important thing is to keep yourself relevant. You want to perform unlike any other to show that you have something vital against the competition. Being a necessity and yourself can really further your chances with opportunities

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