Getting interview ready: as easy as magic

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Katie Pickelheimer, nursing freshman at St. Philip’s, signs in at the Magic Closet Tuesday in Portable 301. Pickelheimer purchased a pair of flats and a suit for her new job at a call center. The Magic Closet is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo by Katherine Garcia

Katie Pickelheimer, nursing freshman at St. Philip’s, signs in at the Magic Closet Tuesday in Portable 301. Pickelheimer purchased a pair of flats and a suit for her new job at a call center. The Magic Closet is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo by Katherine Garcia

By Evelyn Reyes

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The Magic Closet Boutique, a program at this college that helps students prepare — mentally and physically — for a job interview, hosted its grand re-opening Tuesday.

Students and Magic Closet board members gathered at the boutique in Portable 301 to celebrate its new location.

“It provides the student a professional outfit from head to toe for their interview and it’s complimentary,” Mami Benitez Campbell, founder of the Magic Closet Boutique, said.

The boutique works closely with the women’s center at this campus and the San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce. It also participates in the annual Women’s Empowerment Conference at this college.

Network Power/Texas helped establish other programs such as the women’s chamber and the Magic Closet Boutique.

“We just want to help women succeed,” said Ginger Purdy, founder of Network Power/Texas.

“It’s more than just clothes,” Bonnie Ayer, board member for the Magic Closet Boutique, said. “It’s networking tips and common sense things we’ve learned from working that students haven’t been exposed to yet.

“Students don’t realize the skills they are called to do,” Ayer said.

“Our slogan is women helping women succeed,” Purdy said.

The Magic Closet started 18 years ago, Campbell said, and has been working to guide students through the interview process.

“I am shopping for my induction ceremonies and looking for work,” said liberal arts sophomore Cristela Moreno, who is joining Phi Theta Kappa.

“Why spend money on clothes when you need it for other things?” Moreno said. “This is awesome. I’m excited.”

The closet also offers a scholarship for women looking for an opportunity to continue their education.

The scholarship is open and accepting applications at this time. This college’s financial aid office will forward all applications to Network Power/Texas after Nov. 1, according to financial aid’s web page.

Recipients are chosen based on educational goals, career goals and personal and financial needs.

Seven scholarships will be presented to women pursuing their education with Alamo Colleges.

More information about the scholarship can be found in the financial aid office as well as the Network/Power Texas website, www.networkpowertexas.com.

A $5 give for garb event, where students and staff can donate $5 for a bag of gently used casual clothes, will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Magic Closet Boutique. The event raises money for scholarships.

Though the closet typically provides career clothes for students, the fundraiser cleans out the closet of the more casual donations it has received, Rebecca Boles, volunteer wardrobe coordinator, said.

“We hand them a bag,” Boles said, “and they can fill the bag with items selected from our group. … A lot of them are still wearable for the girls to go to school and other activities. But job interviews, no. It’s a way to liquidate our inventory and it’s a fundraiser.”

And it’s all about the clothes. Young women who find an appropriate interview outfit seem stunned when they look in the mirror, Boles said.

“It’s like Cinderella slipping on the glass slipper,” she said. “It’s a transformation that they’re seeing. They have never seen themselves in an outfit like that. In today’s society, people are downgrading what they’re wearing. They’re in blue jeans with holes, way down below their natural waist.”

The Magic Closet is available by appointment only. Call 210-201-6789.

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