BY: TIFFANY NGO
John de Peralta, also known as, JDP had an eccentric, carpe-diem-like personality that made you feel strangely comfortable dying in a car filled with designer clothes, shoes and multiple packages filled with even more designer clothes and shoes from Paris and London. The extra holy-s**t factor of it all? These high-end garments were meant for the legendary pop-star Britney Spears, and we just so happened to be on the way to her stylist’s house. “Okay, come on. We have to build this clothing rack first,” JDP said as he parked his car.
After assembling the clothing rack, we walked farther up the hill. JDP joked about how out of shape he felt, adding, “I cannot wait until the day I can tell other people to do this s**t.”
After spending an entire day in Los Angeles with JDP as he worked as a styling intern, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how exhausted he must have been. We sat in hours of traffic, dealt with crazy drivers who didn’t care about the rules of the road, and ate on-the-go “meals” in his car. This is something he did four days of the week.
We worked non stop from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. before managing to get an hour of downtime.
JDP suggested going to Urth Caffe, a quaint coffee shop that only locals would know about. Right when we sat down on the metal chairs with hearts engraved on them, he took a sip of his coffee and began talking about his beginning escapades before working for big names like Kanye West.
“I just found random internships everywhere. That was really it,” he started. “The first job I did I was literally just packing clothes in a big warehouse. The designer was moving buildings and wanted all his stuff moved and organized into a new studio, but in the exact same way. That was a b**ch.” he paused slightly. “Wait, can I say that word in this interview? That was a B-word.”
He continued to go through all his internship experiences, relaying all the crazy and tedious things he had to do just to build up his resume, including paying $500 for a program called School of Style.
“School of Style was actually a good investment for me. It was held at the Smash Box Studios in West Hollywood. They send me emails all the time of jobs that are available. That’s how I scored an internship for Beyoncé.”
“The Queen Beyoncé?” I asked wide-eyed.
“Well, I never got to meet her. All the email said was ‘Need interns for big-named celebrity’ or something like that. I just thought to myself ‘whatever’ and applied. I thought it was gonna be for some, like, up-and-coming barely-known pop singer, but no, that s**t was for Beyoncé. I was touching stuff that Beyoncé was going to wear. It was nice.”
JDP made his journey to the top sound absolutely fabulous, effortless and manageable, but that was hardly the case.
“There were a lot of big internships I really wanted, including one for Esquire and another for Selena Gomez that fell through because they wanted LA locals and I lived in Long Beach. It was good that I didn’t get them though because then I probably would have settled and wouldn’t have gotten to work for Britney Spears.”
He paused for a second and took another sip of his coffee. “Yeah. You just have to go for it sometimes. And the whole networking thing is as important as everyone says it is. I got Britney Spears because I interned for my PR friend’s client’s stylist and then he referred me to the video shoot.”
On top of going to school and working at Saks Fifth Avenue, JDP has also been working on designing.
“I eventually want to create my own minimalistic clothing line one day for s**ts and giggles. We’ll see how it goes and if it works out.”
“And if it doesn’t?” I asked.
“If it doesn’t, I’m moving to New York. I already have a file on my computer filled with Manhattan apartment listings. This is what I want to do so I’m willing to take risks and sacrifice important things. It’s necessary.”
As we walked back to his car to finish the rest of the clothing deliveries, JDP pointed out the fake leg pressed against his back window.
“That definitely does not look okay,” he commented, “I’m gonna get chased down for stuffing a woman in the back of my car.”
The leg, covered in bright pink tights, was a part of a mannequin that was blown up on the set of a Britney Spears’ music video.
“How long are you gonna keep that?” I asked.
“Forever,” he said. “That leg is sacred.”