Many colleges and universities offer internships for students to explore during their academic careers. Typically, internships provide future graduates with on-the-job experience in their fields. For some, the opportunities have led to full-time positions upon graduation. However, what many may not know is that this also applies to celebrities.
Although internships can boost a student’s resume, the positions have long had flaws, including unfair or, in most cases, no wages. Fortunately, WayUp, a job recruitment app for college students and recent graduates, recognized the intern struggle with National Intern Day. Since 2017, WayUp has encouraged companies to highlight and reward their interns on the last Thursday of July.
National Intern Day 2022 falls on Thursday, July 28. As newer interns celebrate their special day, we’re reflecting on some current stars who also worked for other A-listers before becoming famous. Here’s a look at the celebrities who interned and assisted other celebrities!
8. Malia Obama worked as Halle Berry’s production intern.
When your dad served as the President of the United States for two consecutive terms, it’s hard not to dream big. So, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when Barack and Michelle Obama’s daughter Malia landed a production internship on Halle Berry’s CBS film, Extant. When the project wrapped, Halle applauded Malia’s work ethic and how she held her own weight instead of relying on her famous background.
“She was fantastic,” Halle said of Malia on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. "She is such a smart, beautiful young woman.”
In 2017, Malia snagged another internship with Harvey Weinstein’s production studio, The Weinstein Company, before she attended Harvard. However, the training only lasted for a few months, as news of his alleged sexual harassment surfaced. According to Mashable, Harvey still owes Malia money for her time with the company.
7. Ashley Olsen once asked Zac Posen for a fashion internship.
While Ashley has been in the spotlight since she was a toddler, the actress took the traditional route to her highly successful fashion career. After studying fashion at New York University, she approached fashion designer Zac Posen for an internship. And even though most don’t have a renowned designer in their contacts, Zac said Ashley proved she was willing to learn an entirely new field.
"She was present through a season in the studio, one to two days a week, and I tried to create as hands-on an experience for her as possible," Zac told People of Ashley in 2007, per E! News. "She came in person and knocked on the door to get her internship, which is four steps farther than most interns go. She had that drive, and that's what makes someone special."
6. Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port were everyone’s favorite ‘Teen Vogue’ interns.
Fans of The Hills will recall Lauren’s coveted position as a Teen Vogue intern. Lauren worked in one of the magazine’s fashion closets for three seasons alongside Whitney Port. Eventually, the friends left reality TV and are both fashion designers today.
Since The Hills wrapped, viewers have questioned if Lauren and Whitney’s time at Teen Vogue was real or just for the show. While Whitney says she was “organically” hired to intern for the outlet, neither she nor Lauren was at the office as much as fans were led to believe.
“We were very much part-time interns,” Whitney told Entertainment Tonight in May 2016. “I was a student, as well as filming a TV show, and Lauren was obviously — she had a full-time job filming a TV show. So, we weren't able to be full-time interns, but we were called in for various projects they wanted us to film.”
5. Vanessa Bayer worked as Conan O’Brien’s intern before she booked ‘Saturday Night Live.’
Vanessa’s comedy career started when she interned for Late Night with Conan O’Brien in the ‘90s. The I Love That for You actress shared on Conan’s show in 2014 that she had a positive experience working for him. However, she had no idea she would be a part of the NBC team on Saturday Night Live years later.
“My first day interning ... somebody gave us a tour, and I remember looking over at the window where the NBC tour goes and looking at that stage and being so in awe of it," Vanessa told Rolling Stone in 2013. "It was pretty emotional to walk in as a cast member."
4. Conan O’Brien also gave Mindy Kaling an internship early in her career.
Like Vanessa, Mindy used Late Night as a stepping stone to her acting dreams. The Office star worked as Conan’s intern when she was a 19-year-old Dartmouth College student. While the actress admitted she was “starstruck” by being in the same presence as Conan, she knew the internship wasn’t for her.
"I was the worst intern that's ever worked on the program,” Mindy shared on Conan in 2013. “Really bad. I wanted to work there not to learn how to photocopy things but to, like, watch you ... So I wouldn't do the things I was hired to do. I would just kind of follow you around."
3. Diddy’s role as Andre Harrell’s intern helped launch the Bad Boy mogul’s empire.
In the 1980s, Sean “Diddy” Combs was a Howard University student trying to get into the music business. According to Black Enterprise, Diddy got his start in the industry when he begged Heavy D to put in a good word for him at Uptown Records. Eventually, Uptown’s CEO, Andre Harrell, hired Diddy as an unpaid intern.
The duo worked together for years, and Andre promoted Diddy to being the label’s A&R Executive. Sadly, their personal issues ended their working relationship. Nonetheless, Diddy credits Andre, who died in May 2020, for inspiring him to start his own label, Bad Boy.
2. Aubrey Plaza landed a fellowship with NBC before ‘Parks and Recreation.’
Aubrey may have pulled from her own experiences as an intern when she booked the role of Amy Poehler’s unamused assistant, April Ludgate, on Parks and Rec. Before her breakout role on NBC, Aubrey booked a job with the network as an NBC Page. The coveted 12-month paid fellowship’s alumni include TV host Regis Philbin and The View’s Sarah Haines.
Although Aubrey knew the internship was a big deal, she didn’t take it too seriously. In an interview with the Today show, she admittedly made up random facts during the NBC studio tours, a task all of the pages did.
1. Kanye West and Virgil Abloh connected for the first time as interns.
It’s hard to imagine Kanye taking orders from anyone now, but the Grammy winner did just that at the height of his career. In 2009, he accepted an internship with Fendi’s fashion house to learn the fashion business firsthand. While there, he met designer Virgil Abloh and said they were treated like any other internship in the program.
“Every day, going to work, walking to work, getting cappuccinos,” Kanye told Hot 97 of the internship, per The Guardian.
Kanye and Virgil received $500 a month for their work, which probably didn’t seem like much to the “Gold Digger” artist. However, after the internship, they continued their friendship and collaborated on Kanye’s line, Yeezy, before Virgil died on Nov. 28, 2021.