Paloma wrote to me about her experiences at Vogue, saying that the visit was a dream come true, and that she hoped to inspire others to pursue their dreams, too.
I was very impressed by Paloma's message and by her intention, especially since the experience she wished to share had been inspired, sparked by her having watched a documentary film. I wanted to find out more about what she thought of The September Issue and was curious to know how the documentary fit into her overall expectations and experience at Vogue, and whether she feels that having seen the film might influence her own life and career path.
I wrote back to Paloma with some questions and asked her to respond. Here is the result of our via-the-Internet electronic Q&A:
MERIN: You said you enjoyed the film, The September Issue, but what did you find most inspiring about the documentary?
PLANTENGA: I really liked the photo shoots shown in the documentary, and I liked seeing how Grace worked always using her creativity.
MERIN: Did you learn anything from the documentary that you can apply to your life?
PLANTENGA: I learned that I really do want to use my art to do clothing design.
MERIN: Have you seen other documentaries about fashion or anything else that you particularly liked, or made you get involved with a subject?
PLANTENGA: Not really about fashion, except for some great videos about Jean-Paul Gautier. I've seen more documentaries about animals or history. I saw a documentary about Robert Kennedy that was inspiring, and another one about Anne Frank.
MERIN: Have you ever seen the fashion reality show, Project Runway, and if you have, what do you think about it? How does it compare to the documentary, The September Issue?
PLANTENGA: I have seen some bits and pieces of Project Runway, but never a whole show. Project Runway and The September Issue both show an intense world where you have to be a little bit tough. But now, having seen that world, I know I can do it.
MERIN: The feature film, The Devil Wears Prada, is also about Vogue Magazine. Did you see it? How does that compare to The September Issue?
PLANTENGA: I didn't see it because my mom thought I was too young, and she said that I might be upset because some of the people in it are quite mean.
MERIN: While you were at Vogue Magazine, did Grace or anyone else say anything to you that you found particular interesting or inspiring?
PLANTENGA: A lot of the people I met there saw that I was very creative and almost everybody said that they wouldn't be surprised to see me come back in a few years. That was very encouraging and very inspiring.
MERIN: How did your experience at Vogue Magazine connect with what you saw and learned in The September Issue, or was the real life experience completely different for you?
PLANTENGA: I recognized some of the rooms from the movie and saw some of the same people, which was strange. The movie showed that the fashion world is very intense, but when I was in the Vogue office, it was relaxed and people were very nice.
MERIN: I know you're interested in designing -- and your drawings are terrific, by the way! -- but are you also interested in making a documentary film? What would it be about?
PLANTENGA: That's a good question. It would be nice to make a documentary. It would have to be about something about being nice to people and helping them, like poor people, or something creative about art or dance or fashion and how the people in these worlds work.