On 'Fashionista' reality show, Pittsburgher competes for job

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Another Pittsburgh native has won a coveted spot on a reality television show.

Heidi Gutman, SOAPnet
Bridget Helene of Shaler, second from right, and Andrew Kanakis, second from left, are two of six contestants competing on SOAPnet's "The Fashionista Diaries." Also pictured are Matt Kays, left, and Kelley Culp.
Click photo for larger image.

Bridget Helene of Shaler is one of six job candidates on "The Fashionista Diaries," which premieres tonight at 9 on cable channel SOAPnet. The show follows the drama of six assistants who try to make it in the competitive worlds of fashion, beauty and publishing.

Helene, 24, is working alongside another assistant at Seventh House PR. They collaborate with each other and interact with the other four contestants, two at Flirt! Cosmetics and two at Jane magazine.

Network executives announced this week that because Conde Naste is ceasing publication of Jane with the August issue, the new magazine partner will be CosmoGIRL. The switch will occur midway through the 10-week series.

The program, taped in New York City, ends with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September. Any number of the six assistants, which include one man, could be offered a full-time job.

"It's so exciting," Helene said in a phone interview yesterday. "I feel like it's the most amazing opportunity."

Helene, who said she has loved fashion since childhood, studied fashion merchandising at Mercyhurst College and advertising marketing and communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She also was a buyer for a Manhattan clothing store and worked in public relations for designer Yigal Azrouel during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February.

More recently, after an internship at Harper's Bazaar, she sent her resume to a magazine editor while searching for a job in fashion publishing and writing. Two days later, an executive with Estee Lauder's Beauty Bank line -- of which Flirt! Cosmetics is a division -- phoned her about the show, she said.

Family and friends "are so excited," she said. "My mom is, like, freaking out."

She said she talked with her parents before making a controversial decision, which will be revealed in tonight's one-hour episode.

Prior to "Fashionista Diaries," Helene said, she had never thought about being on a reality show. And she doesn't think she would fit into any other.

"The opportunity this show has given me is a dream come true."

Post-Gazette fashion editor LaMont Jones can be reached at ljones@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1469.


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