The room is pungent with the smell of cheese by the time I walk in. Stacked beside wedges of Colby and Camembert are bottles of wine and flaky baguettes, champagne grapes spilling out of glass bowls. I am in one of Martha Stewart Living’s in-house photo studios, and today we are photographing cheese plates.
Like everything in the Living offices, the scene is like something off a Pinterest board. We have amassed wooden bowls and tiny tea forks, cheese knives and table runners, each prop helping to tell a story about elegant entertaining. And although I am far from my desk in the editorial row, today is inarguably about storytelling.
Our Style Director, Ayesha Patel, is standing with her arms folded across her chest, eyes fixed on the spread of pretty platters and cheeses beneath the photographer’s camera suspended overhead. I watch her carefully as she works, moving a dainty fork just an inch to the left and adding a haphazardly broken piece of chocolate. Her work is at once delicate and deliberate: shifting a piece just a centimeter to the left, she has transformed the entire scene.
Working for Living has been unlike any other editorial internship I’ve experienced. Rather than bound to my desk with researching and fact checking tasks, I spend most days traveling between the various worlds that exist within the walls of our office — and occasionally, outside of them. Last week, I ventured to the Flatiron flower market with our Gardening Editor to select the leafy greens and vibrant bouquets that would fill the September issue. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in the test kitchen, bouncing ideas off of our Food Editors for my newly launched Living blog series. Today, I am a stylist extraordinaire, spooning ricotta into a decorative bowl and immersing myself in the world of aesthetic arrangement.
The various departments at Living are so integrated it is impossible not to move between them — and as an intern, my editorial passport boasts stamps from nearly all. Watching my editors engage in the magazine’s content beyond the writing has inspired me to learn more about design, art, photography, and styling. After all, magazines demand so much beyond mere words.
There’s no telling where I’ll find myself tomorrow, but I am on board for five more exciting weeks of living in Martha's wonderful world.
By Arielle Pardes, University of Pennsylvania, Martha Stewart Living
Edited by Lucy Feldman, Brown University, Vanity Fair