Four years ago today I packed one large suitcase, I had $112 in my bank account and a one-way ticket to New York. I think know my parents thought I was naive, my colleagues didn’t understand why I would move across the country without a job but I was determined and hopeful to make things happen.

In July 2015 I had signed an one-year apartment lease with two girls I briefly met, but currently had a sub-leaser in my room for August because I still didn’t have a job. On Monday, August 17, 2015 I was working a local daycare for a couple weeks to try and scrounge up some extra cash (I planned on moving around Labor Day), when I received an email from a fashion assistant at Glamour asking if I could do a second interview with her boss that Thursday. (Back story: I had previously freelanced with Glamour on a photoshoot in Arizona a month earlier, and told this person I was already living in NYC but currently visiting family, hence the lucky first phone interview). I responded within 30 seconds saying yes, and quickly called my mom saying I needed a flight to New York ASAP. That afternoon my mom helped me book my ticket while I was working, I quit the daycare and went home and packed my bags.

To speed up this story a little bit, I did receive the freelance job at Glamour for a New York Fashion Week assistant and then moved onto work at incredible publications and brands like Redbook and O, the Oprah Magazine, StyleCaster, Alice + Olivia, Marc Jacobs, Club Monaco, and J.Crew. The past four years have been a beautiful hustle and I still cannot believe that I get to wake up each morning and call New York my home.

New York has seen me at my lowest of lows—when I’ve considered packing up my bags and moving back to Arizona and calling this chapter in my life “The One When Audree Attempts to Work in Fashion” or my biggest accomplishments like starting Audree Kate Studios and Fashion Fundamentals, moving into my own apartment and hiring a team of people.

It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what I love about New York. Maybe it’s the surrounding energy of like-minded people, the fast-pace hustle, the opportunities, the melting pot of diversity, the food, or that feeling when you’re walking down the street and look up at the sky scrapers towering above you and instantly transport to a scene from “Sex and the City” or every iconic rom-com.

I am currently writing this post from my home office surrounded by clothing racks and shopping bags from photoshoots last week and it really hit me that I finally have found my place. The past four years have been a turbulent roller coaster of emotions and growing pains, but I have listened to my gut, taken risks and I am thankful for what this place has given me in return. I don’t know what the future will hold, if I’ll actually stay in New York forever, but all I can say is that I’m excited to see what this year will bring and I cannot wait to check back in with you on August 19, 2020 and see what has happened the past year.

Cheers to you New York. Cheers to four years in a city I love so much.

PHOTO: ASHLEY GALLERANI

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