A few weeks ago I attended the Cocktails With Claire Event hosted by Fashion Bomb Daily's Claire Sulmers. The event was created for aspiring individuals to get an inside look into the industry and meet some of the key players. I decided to attend the brunch panel called "The Bomb Life 101 - Breaking Into Entertainment!" An afternoon of empowerment and networking could not be passed up especially with the panel made up of Entertainment Industry Veterans - Alicia Quarles, Yandy Smith, Angela Yee, Ty Hunter and Miss Diddy LA.
Here are the notes I took from the panel discussion and I hope you guys get to take away as much as I did.
What are some of your struggles and how did you deal with it?
Miss Diddy: Your breaking point can be your best point. It's all about your perception.
Angela Yee: I had to woke up every morning at 4am. It's important to be on time and always be on! There's always the question of how much you should share with people. Remember that people are always watching you. Learn how to deal with certain situations and make sure you are secure and have a solid foundation.
Kitty Cash: It's about balance. I slept about 5 hours this week. I have a core group of people in my life. Social media thinks you're popping because they see you in certain places but people are always at there for a reason. People are really working! Being an entrepreneur and being a brand ... you ARE your brand ... AT ALL TIMES.
Yandy: "If I don't hustle I don't eat." Always stay ahead of the curve. If I'm not in it to win it then I lose everything. I don't have a consistent paycheck. You gotta get up and hustle. I worked 10 yrs behind the scenes and now I'm on camera. The biggest struggle I have is that voice. And I make sure to tell it to "Get thee behind me Satan."
Claire: Would still be a reporter or without a job cuz everyone on old department got fired.
What advice to those who wanna take the leap of faith?
Angela Yee: It's never about money but eventually you will be paid for what you love. It takes years and there's a whole journey that you have to take. it doesn't just happen quickly.
Kitty Cash: A lot of people project their fears onto you. You can't give them your power. I journal every morning and set a series of goals for the week. Train yourself to see the small wins.
Yandy: "When it comes to fears the worst thing is that voice. our thinking got us to where we are.You don't know everything.. Ask someone! Use the fear to build relationships and build knowledge and be confident.
Alicia: "No ones going to hustle for you like you." I don't show up on time, I show up early. Have a community, be still and get out your own way.
Claire Sulmers: I was that girl who would want to be at fashion week. Meet up with people in the industry and put in the work. Be persistent.
Miss Diddy: Add structure to your life. I always tell people I'm at work and wake up earlier to be on the same time zone as NY. I'm a very honest and blunt person! Leaders are not great until there's a follower or someone behind you. Be sure of what you're trying to do and make sure you know what it looks like. The sacrifice is necessary and the pressure is a lot and it takes time.
Yandy: For love and hip hop I was on the producer side first. I was business minded and didn't want to be an actress. I wanted to promote a brand. I was very clear when I got casted that I would be doing business and discovered that the demographic for the show was the same for her business. I realized there was a bigger need to serve these girls watching the show and that's how the Everything Girls Love Lifestyle Brand was born. What is your mission or overall goal? Don't get deterred or distracted.
Ty: I had a 2 month break and took the opportunity to do something. Started clothing brand, did emojis and eventually Ty- Lite.
Claire: It's important to evolve in whatever you do. It's important not to give up. No one would help, I had no mentors. I wanted to do something especially for black women. It seems like we're always fighting and tearing each other down and being competitive. We have to stop.
How has journalism changed? Do you see more diversity?
Alicia: You can put your point of view out now. People are much more accessible now. I was the only African American woman in my department. Remember that you're representing the black community. We have to do better and don't have the advantage to slack off.
For someone who wants to get into radio do you think they have to be born with the gift or can it be learned?
Angela Yee: People aren't willing to do what it takes. There's the Internet, you can do a podcast, YouTube, etc. People don't want to take those steps. Represent yourself well online. Important to network and build up own brand. You can shadow or intern etc. Get your foot in the door and listen to yourself (on air), critique yourself and take criticism.
Kitty Cash: I'm not just a DJ. People always ask me on tumblr always about how to be a DJ and what they want to do. I made mixes because it felt good. Ppl found out in an organic way. Didn't care to have a publicist. Was livid when mix was on faded because it wasn't the best. We have free platforms to promote ourselves. Start small. Be proactive. From DJ'n I started modeling and doing campaigns. Don't have to say yes to everything. Sometimes the money looks good but need the bigger picture. Think outside the box to open up avenues.
Yandy: Some success is toxic. All scuds doesn't take you to end goal. Every job or position may not be conducive. In reality TV crazy people get a huge check. Success for me is not getting a bigger check or air time. Be clear on where you want to go.
What are some tips to building your personal brand?
Miss Diddy: Be exactly who are you. Sacrifice is giving people a piece of you.
Claire: Be a person of integrity, business is small and people talk.
Alicia: Opportunity meets preparation. Always be ready and do the work and stay focused.
Ty: Find a way to stand out from the crowd but be real, you don't have to be extra. Be humble. Always acknowledge everyone. Be confident in who you are and love yourself. You know you have a brand when someone can be you for Halloween. You gotta be me for Halloween. Brand yourself and hold onto an image. Some of ya'll be changing up your looks so often and then ask "You don't remember me?" No, I don't you. You didn't look that that when I last saw you." (Crowd Laughs!)
Angela Yaa: Once you feel comfortable you have to then expand and challenge yourself.
Kitty Cash: Say thank you.
Yandy: Put yourself out there and offer something
Claire: Offer assistance
Advice for leaping out on faith?
Yandy: I had no support at all. Mom wasn't really supportive because she was making $100 a week. Something told her it was right. Sleeping over with friends and other interns. Build your network. You need to hangout with them to get where you want to be.
Miss Diddy: Show them that what you're doing is right. You have to please yourself and be happy cuz it's you're life.
Claire: I did have a lot of support. But eventually they got tired.
Jame: Find a mentor . Said you're writing was too superfluous and too colorful and eccentric.
Yandy: Prioritize! Very calculated because time is limited.
Kitty Cash: I made my job work for me: was the head of marketing. Be smart; everything has to be calculated.
What was your biggest test? How did you overcome it?
Alicia: Not a failure if it's lesson learned.. Not how you fall but how you get up.
Ty: Put Ty first, put yourself first cuz then you'll be better at everything.
Yandy: It's okay to make mistakes, I beat myself up. Mans rejection might be Gods protection. Someone's going to open that door, you just keep knocking.
Claire: Don't overthink and try not miss important moments.
This was such an amazing panel discussion and eye opening look into the industry. Behind all the glitz and glamour you see that people are really putting in work. It's inspiring to hear the struggles they went through and it helps us to be better prepared when we come onboard. I can't wait for the next event and I hope you guys enjoyed the inside look.