Media Communications Manager, Bravo & Oxygen Media at NBCUniversal
New York, NY
7:07am: You read that right. I always set my morning alarm to go off at arbitrary times. I think it’s because I am confident I can get ready in 43 minutes and don’t need the full hour. I’d prefer to maximize my sleeping time. Once I'm awake, the first thing I do is check my email, replying to a couple timely items (this morning, one of my clients missed a flight and needs to re-book, and The Today Show is requesting a Housewives clip for their morning segment). Next up: I hop in the shower, throw on an outfit, and head out the door.
8:00am: I’m on the 2 train heading into work and listening to Drake’s new album, More Life. I love it. I read The New York Times Morning Briefing for a quick rundown of big picture things happening in politics, entertainment, and around the world. I also head to Instagram to catch up on TheShadeRoom and EOnline. As a publicist, a big part of my job is staying on top of the pulse of pop culture and what news is trending, so I want to make sure I’m walking into the office knowing the latest.
8:30am: It takes me 25 minutes to get to work, and now I’m here! I work at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and I absolutely love this building. The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon all tape here. Bravo and Oxygen TV (where I work) are also here. I head to my floor and grab an espresso from our kitchen. I’m not big on breakfast.
9:00am: I turn on The Today Show at my desk (yes, we have TVs at our desk – it's work!) and watch while writing out my to-do list for the day. My overall focus is around generating and managing publicity for a variety of shows, from Bravo's Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen to The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Million Dollar Listing New York. Among other things, it's my job to make sure these shows and the talent on them are getting lots of great press coverage. With so many moving parts in my day, I live by lists. Missing a deadline could mean missing an opportunity to have one of my clients featured in an awesome article, so I want to make sure anything that’s urgent is handled right away.
9:30am: I check in with our intern and then start replying to emails from the night before. A reporter from People Magazine wants to interview a cast member from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I tell her I’ll check on timing and get right back to her. Another reporter is doing a story on the late-night television landscape and asks if he can have 15 minutes with Andy Cohen. It’s a big outlet and a great fit for Andy, so I forward him the request and wait to hear back. I’ll be fielding requests like this all day, non-stop.
10:00am: The Wendy Williams Show is on. I watch every day, both for entertainment and research purposes. She often talks about Bravo, and I like to know how she feels about a topic before I pitch one of my talent to her bookers to be on her show. A “pitch” is when you reach out to press to tell them why your client would be a great fit for their platform, so researching the media outlet first is essential. For example, I wouldn’t want to pitch The Wendy Williams Show to have a certain talent on for an interview if Wendy had just mentioned she couldn’t stand them! #Awkward
11:00am: I’m running to cover an interview with one of the guys from Million Dollar Listing New York with The New York Post. We’re meeting at The Post for the interview and photoshoot. I arrive and check in before meeting my talent and making sure he remembers what this interview will be about and knows the reporter’s name. I make sure the reporter spells my talent’s last name correctly and knows the topline information about the show. Now that we have that set, the interview begins.
11:45am: The interview lasts for 20 minutes and the photoshoot lasts for another 20 minutes – everything looks great! I say a quick goodbye and head back to 30 Rock. I have a missed call from an editor at a big magazine, so I’m wondering what that’s about. I prefer answering emails from my desk as opposed to my phone.
12:30pm: I’m back at my desk, drafting a press release for approval. We write press releases to announce all kinds of big news -- from the premiere date of a show, to the announcement of a new cast member and more. Since press releases are official statements from the network, a lot of approvals go into these, so I am reading and rereading my work to make sure there are no typos. I finish my first draft and save it – I’ll come back to this tomorrow.
1:30pm: I return the call from the editor at the big magazine to see what’s going on. She’s heard a rumor through the grapevine and wants to know if it’s true. I check in with my talent to gage the validity of the story. It’s not true! (WHEW) I call the editor back and tell her there’s no truth to that rumor. She says she doesn’t want to publish lies, so she will kill the story. I’m relieved to have put out that fire and do a cha-cha dance in my seat.
2:30pm: I head down to the 11th floor conference room to chat with a handful of Vanderbilt University seniors who are visiting NYC for their spring break to learn more about entertainment. I’m joined by two other Vanderbilt alumni who also work in entertainment and, together, we answer all of the students’ questions. I really enjoy these moments. I can remember being where they are and feeling how they feel. I hand them my business card and tell them to reach out so we can set up a time to chat on the phone -- I really mean it!
3:30pm: I finally eat lunch. I was running around so much I totally forgot I was hungry. I run down to Hale & Hearty and grab a cobb salad with ranch dressing (I love ranch dressing) and vegetable soup. I eat at my desk while catching up on The Real Housewives of Atlanta episodes. One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to binge-watch the shows I love so much.
4:15pm: I send a pitch to a morning show booker to see if she’s interested in having my talent on for a segment three months from now. Because morning shows book up fast, you have to get on the booker’s radar months in advance or you’ll miss the boat. The booker must have liked my pitch because she replies within 10 minutes of my email, telling me she’ll hold the date for my talent to come on. Christmas has come early! A national booking is a big deal and I’m excited.
5:00pm: I head to a biweekly photo meeting with the photography team and listen to updates about upcoming shoots. Two of my shows are included, so I jot down the potential dates and take notes on the creative concepts behind each shoot.
5:30pm: Back at my desk, I’m craving a snack. I run down to the NBC café to grab chocolate froyo (pure perfection).
6:00pm: I spend my last hour or so looking through photos from The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion we just taped. Even though our photographer took soooooo many photos, we will select only about a dozen of the best ones and those are the photos you’ll see in magazines and on TV. The process of choosing photos is therapeutic to me and, since I’ve been doing this for four years now, I know what I’m looking for.
7:30pm: I head to dinner at Westville with my reporter/friend from BuzzFeed. She’s coming to the taping of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen tonight, but, since the show isn’t on until 11pm, we decide to get dinner first. I order salmon and brussel sprouts with blueberry pie for dessert. My sweet tooth is something serious.
9:00pm: We’re in the cab heading to the studio, so I decide to check in on The Creative Collective NYC Instagram and post a photo. I founded this collective about a year and some change ago. It’s a curated community for millennial creatives of color and works as a networking platform to establish meaningful connections. We host monthly meet-ups all over the city and now have a community of over 2,000 creatives. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us.
9:30pm: We’re at the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen studio and the audience is starting to arrive. I head backstage and say hi to Andy and the production team. Then I make sure the BuzzFeed reporter has a cocktail and is ready for the show. This show is the only live show in late night, so anything could happen. Love the energy.
11:00pm: The show is live and the reporter is enjoying it from inside the studio. I’m sitting in the control room, watching Andy do what he does best: an amazing interview.
11:45pm: The Uber is called and I’m heading home to Harlem, checking my phone every now and then to see if any urgent emails come through. I arrive at my apartment, eat a quick bowl of cereal, and slide into bed. Night!
Images courtey of Imani Ellis