From Rennes to Runway

Sasha Cantrelle FR'10
Orange County High School of the Arts
Université Paris-Sorbonne

From Rennes to Runway

"SYA Rennes is simply la crème de la crème". Those were the first words that Sasha Cantrelle heard about School Year Abroad from her high school French teacher, SYA France alumna Judy McGinley FR'97.

From an early age, Sasha has been a world traveler and participated in many summer trips to Europe with the People-to-People Ambassador Program. Once she reached high school, studying abroad was a clear next step. However, what she didn't know at the time was that her round-trip ticket to Rennes would eventually turn into a one-way scenario.

Sasha studied in Rennes as a junior in high school and returned to France to attend university at l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, where she studied French literature and communication. She went on to study international fashion and luxury brand management at École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode (ESMOD) in Paris, the world's first fashion design school. Currently, she is writing her thesis for a Master's in French journalism at Sorbonne and living in Paris where she works as an assistant fashion editor at Madame Figaro Magazine. She was able to graduate college with a French degree, combine a love of journalism and fashion in Paris, where she has been since 2013, fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers.

She began at the magazine as an intern and has worked her way up over the past few years, working in just about every column from A to Z.

In her role, Sasha prepares photoshoots, attends Fashion Week and different brand presentations, dresses models and celebrities, searches for new trends, and creates mood boards. Sasha's year with SYA gave her outstanding confidence and a lesson in adaptability, two things that are essential to maintaining all the different roles she plays at the magazine. She credits the progress she made in French during her year with SYA to the outcome of her university studies. One of her biggest achievements so far was the first time one of her articles was published for Madame Figaro. Sasha said, "I was immediately grateful to SYA who not only taught me a thing or two about French grammar but also about adaptability. Being able to express myself equally as well in French as in English is very valuable to me and so this accomplishment was in a sense the official mark of recognition for my years of hard work."

At times, she notes, her job is very similar to working for Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. As one might expect, some of her biggest challenges lie in working with models and celebrities and fulfilling any unusual requests that might arise. When asked how she overcomes these challenges, she notes "I always remember to be the light in a room full of little black dresses. Smiling at fashion shows is underrated!"

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