Kirsten Stainer: The Jersey Girl Taking Paris

We’ve all heard of the beloved Jersey Boys, but I think it’s time to put down the mic and shine the spotlight on another Jersey inhabitant, Kirsten Stainer.


Yes, this beauty is tearing off her suburban ties and running full force into the world of fashion and what better city to do it in than Paris itself? Not only is her tenacity and brains (soon to be a NYU student) something to marvel and admire, but her recent internship with the Donna Karan Collection is something to catch your interest. Luckily enough, Kirsten was able to share some detail into the extraordinary experience she was able to partake in this past May, right in the heart of New York’s Garment District.

How did she covet the well-sought after internship? “I simply broadcast emailed fashion brands and companies from Max Mara to Barneys New York. I received a good number of replies, one of them being Donna Karan, something that certainly took me by surprise since it is one of the more notable brands I applied to.”

While obtaining the internship is certainly notable enough, Ms. Stainer worked solo on the act. “I earned this internship without any contacts whatsoever. I submitted my application to Human Resources just as any other candidate and went through multiple interviews.”

One would guess that after the pressures of applying had subsided and the golden gates of the fashion world opened to her, champagne and designers would come flowing out to dine with her, yet this wasn’t the case: “I earned an internship with the Public Relations department, a division which isn’t quite as glamorous as it may sound. It is extremely demanding…Fashion is an industry that never rests and PR embodies that attribute of fashion perfectly.”

Yes, indeed, Kirsten’s internship pulled her in multiple directions all at once, from garment pulls to caring for every stylist’s needs and whims, yet as grueling as some parts may have been, rewarding was it as well: “On my second day, I was already asked to assist at a photo shoot at the Stephan Weiss Studio in Greenwich Village. My boss simply gave me the garment bag meant for the stylist and right-hand woman to Donna, at the studio. She never told me who the shoot was for, but just gave me a little smile as she sent me off. I was ecstatic, nervous, and just had no idea what to expect. I arrive at the studio and meet the stylist at the door. She escorted me up to the shoot and as I turn the corner, there sits Donna Karan herself, locking eyes with me as I enter the room (sounds as if it was just out of a movie). Remaining as casual as possible, yet impossible to restrain my excitement from meeting one of the greatest innovators in women’s fashion, I shook Donna’s hand and was returned with a beaming smile.

There are some kind words that the lucky intern wants people to know: “If there is one thing that people should know about Donna The Woman as opposed to Donna The Designer, is that she is unbelievably genuine and amicable, anything but condescending. She expressed interest in who I was, where I was from, and what I wanted to pursue in fashion. I wasn’t just an intern in her eyes.”

The future is a shining beacon for Ms. Stainer, a beacon that guides her to NYU, to Paris, and beyond. From her signed copy of the 2011 September issue of Vogue, signed by the famed editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, she is inspired to cement her goals, to take on the world in fashion. “That signed copy of Vogue with Anna’s message, “Dear Kirsten, Best Wishes, Anna Wintour” symbolizes so much for me. Looking at it everyday motivates me to never stop trying in this industry, to strive to achieve my absolute greatest dream of becoming an editor at Vogue.

Tenacity, spunk, creativity, what more could you ask for in such a brilliant star such as Kirsten Stainer? Humanitarianism, maybe? Well, she already has that covered. “Apart from my goals in fashion, I also want to have ample time in my life to propel my work with charity…I want to promote education for girls in areas of the world where they are deprived. I consider myself so lucky to dream big and be able to work tirelessly at accomplishing what I want in life and I believe that every young girl should have the same chance at earning a quality education and aspiring to be whatever she wants to be. It’s the twenty first century and to think that third world countries in Africa and the Middle East believe that suppressing these girls is ration is simply disgusting to me…Even if I could make a change in these girls’ lives in the smallest way possible, I would feel immensely honored.”

An activist, a determined working-girl, and a face to beat them all, the world better keep an eye on Kirsten Stainer. No matter if it is Jersey or Paris, this tenacious girl is taking on mountains, pushing them to the ends of the earth to uncover the amazing potential everything has to offer. NYU is lucky to have a student like her and in hopes of one day, Vogue lucky enough to have an editor such as herself.

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