Mona Elsayed

If you were planning a fashion show and one of your models got in a car accident 45 minutes before showtime, what would you do? When this predicament occurred at the fashion show Mona Elsayed ’08 produced for Eunice Cho ’07, Elsayed kept her cool. And though the model managed to make it right before showtime, Elsayed had the situation completely under control. Repeatedly, Elsayed takes on and accomplishes what seems impossible, all with a remarkable panache.

Elsayed has begun to breathe life into the Yale fashion and music scenes and make them an attractive testing ground for exceptionally talented artists. She has taken on the seemingly impossible task of making Yale trendy, and by all accounts she seems to be succeeding.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better producer,” said Michael Huang ’09, whose fashion show was also produced by Elsayed. “She’s brilliantly creative and intense and passionate, and always completely reliable and incredibly professional.”

In addition to producing music and fashion events, Elsayed is the production manager for Volume Magazine. Between fulfilling her various extracurricular obligations, Elsayed designed her own major — “art semiotics.” Dozens of students each year attempt the process of creating a special divisional major, but only one or two are selected. According to Elsayed, art semiotics is a relatively broad topic that includes visual culture, the history of aesthetics, art history and art theory. This major, while unique at Yale, was based on a major of the same name offered at Brown.

“The first thing they do is discourage you,” Elsayed said of the process of creating a major. “You have to force the DUS to meet with you, because it’s basically a testing time. They try to separate out the people who really want it.”

Last summer, Elsayed worked for the Chanel image market in Paris as a link between artists and buyers in North America, the U.K. and the Middle East. Though the job started as an internship, there was no precedent in the company for such a position. So Mona was immediately put to work translating and dealing directly with customers.

“When I first showed up, the new CEO Maureen didn’t know what to do with me,” Elsayed said. “So she put a badge on me and said, ‘You work here now.’”

In the future, Elsayed plans to take on the fashion world in the U.S., most likely with an internship at “Vogue.” And while all the rest of us might be hoping to live out “Devil Wears Prada” fantasies, complete with an Adrien Grenier look-alike in tow, it’s difficult for Elsayed to imagine being anyone’s intern.

“I was facilitating the market with Chanel,” Elsayed said. “It will be hard to go to Vogue as a monkey.”

As for her plans this semester, Elsayed claims that all she wants to do is “sleep, work and be social.” But it seems unlikely that Elsayed will step down from her post of facilitator of all things hip at Yale.

“I feel like Jay-Z announcing my retirement,” Elsayed said. “No one believes, no one cares.”

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