Whitney Port, American television personality, fashion designer and USC alumnus, returned to her alma mater Thursday to share with students the story of her unique career path in the fashion industry.
For USC’s Career Fest Signature Event, held by the USC Career Center and Spectrum, at Bovard Auditorium, Port walked her Trojan audience through her journey from student intern to professional fashion designer. After transferring from the University of Colorado Boulder to USC for her sophomore year as a gender studies major, Port said her fellow classmates encouraged her to pursue her dream of a fashion career.
“Being surrounded by motivated and smart people is what pushed me to be able to become the person that I am,” Port said. “Everybody at USC has such a strong will and passion for what they want to do, and that just made me want to follow in their footsteps.”
While still a student at USC, Port was an intern for Teen Vogue, which developed into the MTV reality series The Hills, which followed her experience in the Teen Vogue offices as one of the main four cast members. Port said she was very apprehensive to accept the televised internship.
“Honestly, being on TV was something I never wanted to do,” Port said. “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I decided I shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown.”
Port said that she chose to embrace this unexpected opportunity, realizing that it could help launch her aspirations to be in the fashion industry.
Edward Loera, a freshman majoring in policy, planning and development, said Port’s story as a risk taker was something he could relate to.
“It was amazing listening to such a successful person talk about embracing unexpected turns, because I really try to do that in my own life,” Loera said. “I admire her for doing something out of her comfort zone that obviously paid off.”
Port has since been developing her clothing line Whitney Eve. She said it is a challenge competing with others in the industry, but urged the audience not to be afraid to step out of the lines or to be afraid of failure.
“Why I am here is really to reveal to you guys that you can start something so grass-roots,” Port said. “You shouldn’t be afraid of starting something on your own.”