Stylist Jessica de Ruiter on starting her career under an iconic Vogue editor’s wing.

“It Happened One Night,” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Daria Werbowy photographed by Mario Testino for American Vogue, July 2004, was one of many editorials de Ruiter assisted on in her time at the magazine

In 2002, when I was 22, I landed my dream job.

I had just graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and was interning at W and Women’s Wear Daily in Los Angeles when it happened.

Upon walking into work one morning, I was told by my bosses that Vogue’s West Coast Director, Lisa Love, needed a new assistant. They said I had to interview for the position right away.

I didn’t have a chance to prepare, and went up to Lisa’s office in the black pants, black sweater, and messy ponytail, tied with a black ribbon, I was wearing that day.

The first thing she said to me when I walked through her door was, ‘Grace would love you.’ I couldn’t believe it — she was talking about GRACE CODDINGTON!

When HR offered me the job, it was complete serendipity. I had no contacts or connections.

Lisa gave me a lot of responsibilities, like producing shoots, organizing events, and assisting fashion editors on set for front of book and cover stories.

She and I did a little bit everything together; some days, she’d even drive me home. We’d ride in her old, white BMW wagon that she drove with bare feet, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.

Lisa always said that a good assistant would never stay for more than two years. But, had my visa not expired, I would’ve stayed with her forever.

— as told to The Thick

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