Rey Vakili: How I Landed the Job as ‘Vogue’ Editor Anna Wintour’s Assistant

Rey Vakili

I am often asked, “how did you land the job a million girls would kill for?” The truth is, being Anna Wintour’s assistant is not a job that is publicly advertised, so I’d have to say it came down to a combination of luck, good timing and a lifetime of hard work that had me set up for potential success.

From a young age, my parents impressed upon me the importance of a good education, a strong work ethic and the limitless power of knowledge. In the wise words of my mother, you shouldn’t try to be the prettiest girl in the room (there will always be someone prettier), be the most interesting. My parents are both first-generation immigrants and like many immigrant families, education is king. For me, studying hard, getting good grades and staying curious was my pathway to success.

Image: Instagram @reyvakili

When I was 18, I left Sydney to study Political Science at Yale. It was scary to leave the comfort of everything that I had grown up with, but I also believe that everything worth having is on the other side of a little bit of fear and discomfort. When I graduated, I remember casting a very wide net in terms of job applications that could keep me in the US, including an editorial assistant position at Vogue. I didn’t get the editorial assistant role, but HR contacted me, noticing that I’d gone to Yale, and one of Anna’s previous assistants at the time also had gone to Yale, so that’s where the application process began.

I never studied anything fashion-related at school and didn’t have a single piece of relevant work experience but the HR team had explained that my resume had stuck out to them, and they were to have me apply for the role. So I did. Why not? I knew who Anna was, of course, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ was one of my favourite films. I also knew that it would be an incredible learning experience, irrespective of what I wanted to do professionally later down the line.

From there, it was five interviews over two days and a final round interview with Anna herself. I don’t think the interview lasted more than three minutes and I had a long list of dos and don’ts before arriving.

Rey Vakili
Image: Instagram @reyvakili

I’d been briefed to:

  1. Not wear black
  2. If asked what you like to do in your spare time, don’t say work-out, you’re more interesting than that
  3. Don’t ask any questions
  4. Don’t wear a hair tie around your wrist
  5. Don’t have chipped nails
  6. Wear heels
  7. Dress the part

The whole interview process happened very quickly and I started working within three weeks of graduating from Yale.

Working for Anna truly was a one-of-a-kind experience. My time at Vogue provided me with an overview of the entire fashion industry but also an insight into politics, the arts, business and sport. Was she tough? Of course. But she was fair, and while she worked us hard, the reality was, she was working ten times as hard as anyone else in the Vogue office.

One of the most important takeaways from Anna was that the little things matter. People appreciate effort, whether it’s a handwritten ‘thank you’, remembering someone’s birthday or always looking polished. She taught me the little details and gestures count and contribute to building long-lasting, meaningful friendships and relationships.

The opportunity Anna Wintour gave me led me to where I am today in my career and I’m forever grateful for those lessons she taught me.

Today, I’m back home in Australia and leading LTK (LikeToKnow), the world’s largest global influencer marketing platform that is changing the way we shop forever. LTK was founded by Amber Venz Box, a woman who built a $2 billion company, while also having four children at the same time. Amber sparkles when she talks and inspires those around her like no one I have known before. Her vision for life and her company is so clear and inspiring, and I knew from the moment I met her that I wanted to be part of the LTK story.

Rey Vakili
Image: Instagram @reyvakili

I started working with LTK when I was living in London in 2015. Back then, LTK was a young, booming startup and was in many ways the antithesis of the establishment that is Vogue. LTK seeks to make fashion accessible rather than inaccessible as a three-sided marketplace serving creators, brands and shoppers. It has changed the way we consume media, purchase and interact with brands we love and it is now a crucial part of the fashion landscape. Today’s creator does what the magazine editorial did many moons ago – creators produce content, shoot content, direct content and write content and the platform is one that I’m so proud to lead in Australia.

When I look back on my career, I of course feel blessed to have had such incredible women lead around me and inspire me in many ways.

My advice for anyone else who is wanting to seek out their dream job is to dream big, work hard and always be open to conversations with people in all industries. Explore opportunities that come your way even if you don’t think you are qualified or if that position is not right for you. And remember, conversations are always fruitful, with anyone, and you never know where they may lead. If nothing else, you may just learn something new to make you the most interesting person in the room.

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