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Lilit Marcus

Lilit Marcus

Posted April 30, 2009 | 10:36 PM (EST)

What Is a Vanity Internship?


These days, when no one is hiring, plenty of professionals are considering taking a major step down and becoming interns again. While this could be a good way to explore a new profession or gain experience in a new industry, it seems like even internships are super-competitive these days. Why? Because all the good ones are being taken by celebrities. Hence, the vanity internship, a position taken by a person who is already rich and famous but thinks it would be fun to go into an office every day and 'work', sort of like how your toddler likes to play with a toy vacuum that makes a little roaring noise so they can pretend they're helping you do housework.

Here are some of the celebrities who are stealing our hard-earned unpaid jobs:

- Sean Avery. The foulmouthed hockey player keeps getting in trouble with the NHL, so maybe he thought it would be a smart idea to consider a career change. Last year he was an intern at Vogue magazine. Like other Vogue interns, he appeared in a "hey, isn't that cute, he's pretending to work!" slideshow on the magazine's website, presented an award at a fashion industry event, and started dating Calvin Klein's ex-wife.

- Ryan Adams and Lydia Hearst. Both the musician and the celebutante interned at BlackBook magazine. Adams wrote music reviews, and Hearst wore glasses so we would all know just how seriously she took her job.

- James Frey. The memoirist who got caught cheating did a round of image rehab when he published his first (acknowledged) novel, Bright Shiny Morning. Step one: interning for a day at Gawker.com, where he mostly just responded to reader questions and tried to make it seem as if he were self-deprecating.

- Kanye West. Not content with music, the rapper announced in December that he wanted to get into the fashion business. It's not exactly unusual for musicians to make the leap into fashion design (Gwen Stefani, anyone?), but West tried to play the "Celebrities - we're just like everyone else!" card by claiming he was going to move to London and intern for a fashion company. Within a month, he was designing shoes for Louis Vuitton. Obviously he just has a better work ethic than you.

And this week, a new potential vanity intern enters the mix - former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blago - whose dream of appearing on upcoming reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here was crushed by a judge who ruled he couldn't leave the country to film - was offered an internship at the legendary Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada. He hasn't said whether he'll accept the offer, but considering it comes with a deal to appear on the next season of HBO's Cat House, I think he'd be wise to say yes and keep his reality TV aspirations alive.