FIDM Student: Johauna Mani

Students give an inside look at their college experience

Johauna Mani

Visual Communications

Washington state native Johauna Mani is pursuing a career as a costume designer in the entertainment industry. She is studying Visual Communications on the Los Angeles campus, interns for FIDM Alumna and Pretty Little Liars Costume Designer Mandi Line, and has a full-time job as a manager at a restaurant, all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Find out the secrets to her success.

Tell us a little about yourself. I am a hard-working woman, determined to make a name for myself. I am currently in my last quarter at FIDM and interning for Mandi Line. I am also working full-time at a restaurant as a bartender and manager. I have always loved fashion and have known it’s my calling, but until I started working for Mandi I didn't know what I really wanted to do in the industry. I am now working on getting into the costuming world of television. I watch movies and TV shows in my very limited free time. I really just enjoy life, enjoy working hard to achieve my goals, and enjoy learning everyday to better myself and the people around me.

What is one of your proudest accomplishments? I am really proud of the way I have been able to balance school, work, and my internship. I have been promoted three times in the last year at work; I have grown so much in my internships; and I have maintained a 3.8 GPA or higher every quarter.

Tell us about your internship with Mandi Line and how you got it. I interned first for Rachel Zoe but realized that the world of styling photoshoots was not for me. While there, I started wondering what it would be like to dress these amazing clients for their TV shows and films. Then I started doing research. On IMDB, I looked up my favorite shows and wrote down all the names listed for the costume departments. I emailed each person on my list telling them who I was and what I was hoping to learn from them. I got a couple of responses, but nothing really helpful.

For my Marketing Events class we had to go to an event, so I chose Fashion’s Night Out. I found out that actress Lucy Hale was hosting it, then looked deeper and discovered that Mandi Line, Costume Designer for Pretty Little Liars, was going to be hosting a fashion show at Macy’s. So that is where I went. I didn't go to the opening show or any of the stores. I walked straight to Macy’s when I arrived at the Beverly Center to get a seat at her show. Afterward, I literally ran after her (along with a bunch of 13-year-old girls) and said, "My name is Johauna. I am a student at FIDM and currently interning with Rachel Zoe. I would really like to get your contact information so I can tell you more about myself and see if there is any way I can intern for you." She gave me her Facebook and that was the start.

As far as my internship goes, I only can go on some of Mandi’s jobs because most are union projects. But, when I do get to go, I hold scissors for her and safety pins, I clean, I file, and most of all, I take in everything she does. I listen to every word she says and I pay attention to what her crew does so that I can learn what it takes to do what she does and how everything works.

How did you hear about FIDM? I saw something about FIDM at my high school but I didn't really pay attention because, for financial reasons, I was only applying to one school, WSU. I got in but decided to decline (again, due to financial reasons) and go to community college instead. After four years, three community colleges, and no degree, I realized that this wasn't the path for me. I needed something stimulating; I needed a change of pace; I needed to explore a new city. I started researching fashion schools, and FIDM kept popping up. After looking at the majors offered and the stories of alumni I knew that this is where I needed to be. I got full financial aid, which means I will have more debt than I could ever imagine when I graduate—but you know it’s all worth it. If I never came here I wouldn't know myself the way I do, or know my career goals, or what I am meant to be. I wouldn't have had the experiences I have had, and I sure as hell wouldn't have my internship with Mandi!

How did you choose your major? I wanted to do styling when I first applied and Visual Communications was the major to take for that.

What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? I want to be a costume designer for a television series. If it weren't for FIDM I wouldn't have the knowledge to get anyone’s attention, nor would I have the connections to FIDM Alumni who are working in the industry, like Mandi.

Any advice for someone thinking about going to FIDM? Don't be scared about all the financial stuff. Yes, it will cost you a lot of money! And if your parents can pay for it, more power to you. Take school seriously!! Los Angeles is a fun city, but you are not going to be taken seriously if you do the bare minimum and party your way through college. I don't ever go out. I am saving that ‘til I graduate and have a job. These classes are part of the curriculum for a reason, so get all you can out of them and learn as much as you can! Your teachers have been there, so ask them everything. Pull as much information as you can out of them! Lastly, and keep this in mind when you are registering for classes, the teachers I have learned the most from are McCall for Materials & Props and Window, Robles for Entrepreneurship and Portfolio, Sebolsky for Branded Entertainment, and Cordon for World Art I and II.

Anything else you'd like to share? Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. It sounds cheesy I know, trust me. But I would not be where I am if I didn't have the strength to go after the big names like Rachel Zoe and Mandi Line. I took a chance on myself and they responded positively to that. So never doubt yourself! When times get crazy and you are stressed (which will happen), don't worry because it will get done. In the long run, you will be happy you put that much time and effort into your project because you will have something amazing to show that represents you and who you are!

Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.

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