As The Devil Wears Prada shamelessly portrays, the fashion industry can be full of tough personalities. Add in the tenacity and resolve of a publicist, and you have a recipe for a group of people that won't take no for an answer, have fabulous taste in shoes and understand if they don't work hard enough, someone is waiting in line to replace them. Welcome to Fashion PR.
Intern, intern, intern
The importance of internships (note the plural) is three fold. First off, it gives you an idea if this is even an arena you want to compete in. Pull aside the veil of glitz and glam, and there is a ton of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. An internship will allow you the opportunity to see if Fashion PR is a good fit for you. Next, an ever-evolving industry has resulted in multiple lanes to explore. Try to gain experience both in-house and with an agency, as well as across different divisions, if possible. Do you want to direct your efforts towards digital influencer partnerships, produce innovative media events or work with stylists for the red carpet? You won't know until you try. Finally, internships give you an edge – the more you can put on your resume, the better. “A million girls would kill for this job" isn't just a DWP quote, it's completely true – and should be the only motivation you need.
Don't burn bridges – or ladders you'll need to climb later
A solid network is of utmost importance in this industry. There are a few ways to build one: Don't make fast enemies, treat people like people, help out when you can, be nice to everyone and go out of your way to do a phenomenal job. Not only will that assistant be Fashion Director at Vogue one day, but she'll be more likely to answer your email if she thinks highly of you. Additionally, connections and relationships are primarily what your worth is weighed upon, and the more people you can count as fans, the more opportunities will come your way.
Don't let anyone ruffle your LBD
The rules of how to play nicely in Fashion PR are sometimes a soft suggestion, and not everyone colors inside the lines. Whether it's a client, brand or co worker, the industry is blessed with a bevy of rich (and sometimes difficult) personalities. Don't let anything or anyone bring you down! Put on your best, and dare I say always black, power publicist outfit, and do your job. Accept that any challenging moment is a tool to learn from, and move on. Appreciate and encourage those that build you up, teach you how to succeed and high five you after a job well done!
The word “no" doesn't exist
Be aggressive! But not too aggressive. Find a nice balance between never taking “no" for an answer, and thinking outside the box to find alternative paths to success. When it comes to pitching, hearing it's a “pass" is less than ideal (and sometimes detrimental), so be prepared to be persistent without earning a restraining order.
Your best bet is to get creative and find a way to get what you want by providing other people with what they want. Think of the other person, not just yourself, and you will be victorious more often than not.
You are your own best publicist
It can take some time to gain the confidence you need to get ahead in this business, but once you do, utilize it. Let your work speak for itself (hopefully, it's consistently A+), but also, stand up for yourself and the recognition you deserve. No one is going to give you anything; you have to fight for it. More importantly, you have to earn it. Ask how you can improve, set goals for yourself, go above and beyond, and constantly prove that you are willing to work harder than everyone else to rise in the ranks.
Enjoy the ride
While I admit this job can be wildly chaotic, it can also be a hell of a lot of fun! The perks are endless: incredible fashion moments, exciting parties, inspiring designers and industry leaders, and the thrill of being at the forefront of it all. Remember that these exhilarating moments are the reason you got into Fashion PR in the first place! Enjoy the wins that make you proud, appreciate the challenges that make you strong, take a second to do a happy dance in those Jimmy Choos, and congratulate yourself for kicking ass! Then get back to work.
Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each day.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of 3, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.