I started off as an athlete. Sports is all I knew and wanted to know. When did the idea of being a fashion publicist come into play? I’ll tell you how.
During my high school and college career, a lot of people knew my face from sporting events and the accomplishments I achieved through them. People knew who I was, and I was personable. So to me it made sense when people use to say, “Deidre, you should be on TV or radio.” I thought about it, but I was more interested in how people get interviews on TV and radio, in who sets that up. That is when my dream of being a publicist began.
During my high school career I started on the varsity team from freshman year and was the MVP of my track team all through high school and college. This made me a stand out kind of girl and everyone knew who I was, but when I decided to change career paths, the road became more difficult for me. Switching from an athlete to a publicist was very uncomfortable at first. I went from a place where everyone knows me, to having to introduce myself, and this was something I never had to do.
I was more interested in how people get interviews on TV and radio, in who sets that up. That is when my dream of being a publicist began.
Transitioning from sports to fashion required a bit of finesse. If you’re looking to begin a career in PR, here are 4 things I did that really helped:
Join PR Organizations
Become an active member of organizations that are filled with aspiring and seasoned professionals just like yourself. During my college career at Georgia State University I was a member of Alliance for Women in Media. I volunteered for Women in PR and PRSSA. I also joined local and school based fashion organizations as well where I helped planned and promote my school’s fashion shows.
Volunteer at events
I took on numerous internships during college. Just a word of advice, do not do it for the pay. I completed a lot of un-paid internships and got the experience I needed and this is why I am successful today. Do not be afraid of fulfilling your dream through volunteering. My first internship I wrote fashion articles for an online magazine, even though it was not directly PR, you will need to see what editors go through and what they look for when it comes to pitching to them. Volunteering at fashion events such as shows, sip and sees, networking events, etc. is a plus. It gives you a chance to actually see what goes on behind the scenes to produce great events. You also get the chance to talk with other professionals such as yourself, which leads me to my next point.
Volunteering at fashion events such as shows, sip and sees, networking events, etc. is a plus. It gives you a chance to actually see what goes on behind the scenes to produce great events.
Enlist help from those you meet
This was very hard for me to do at first. I used to be the girl at the parties sitting awkwardly alone, clutching my purse and looking around desperately. Get out there and introduce yourself and let people know who you are and what you are trying to do. You never know who is watching or better yet who you will run into. If you don’t have a business yet, business cards are still necessary to have on hand. I call them contact cards. Have your name, your contact information and the title you are working for listed on the card. This can lead to people reaching out to you if they need assistance in their related business.
Get out there and introduce yourself and let people know who you are and what you are trying to do. You never know who is watching or better yet who you will run into.
Define your niche
Okay so you’ve joined the groups, you’ve networked at events, now what? Go learn some more! Before you get you start applying for jobs, you need to fully understand all the different PR careers and think about what type of work (and what type of industries) you like. I chose fashion because I recognized a local need to help support emerging designers and boutique launches.
You can only learn so much in the classroom. Find a mentor, intern for a PR firm, know your role and reach your dream!
PS: Don’t forget to check out the PR Couture shop, filled with essential goodies for any fashion publicist, like our best-selling PR Girl Tee!
About Deidre Palode
Deidre is the Founder and Senior Publicist of MayLee Media, a fashion and beauty boutique Public Relations firm located in Atlanta, GA. MayLee Media was founded in February of 2014 with their love for the fashion industry and all the endless opportunities it has to offer. Known for many things, publicist, athlete, business woman, role model, Deidre has become one of Atlanta’s emerging publicists. “I love when a PR Girl is making it happen and this one right here is one to watch,” Anje Collins, Founder of The Luxe PR Group. Her short time in the industry gives her the strength to keep going to build a brand to aspire the inspiring to transpire. Deidre has worked with brands such as BET, Rafael Cox Designs, Colour U Cosmetics, Exclusive Vodka, Club Kiss Salon and Spa as well as entertainment professionals.
Photo Credit: Street style city