Name: Sasha Brookner
Title/Company: Publicist/Helio Public Relations
Education: University of California Los Angeles
Previous Job Experience: House of Blues Sunset Strip, Publicity; CBG, Publicity; Red Ant Records, Publicity; LaFace Records, A&R; BMG, Publishing; MTV Networks, News
Hello Beautiful: Briefly describe your day to day activities and responsibilities on your job/position.
Sasha Brookner: My job duties are endless, everything from having to tell the emperor he’s not wearing any clothes to listening to clients fuss about a stylist because they asked for a Vintage look and ended up with Goth. Much of my time is spent appeasing clients, I’m hoping one day to have a license to prescribe Xanax.
I spend time going through portfolios of photographers and stylists for shoots who hopefully will coalesce to create something imaginative and artistic–while working with journalists on the textual element to share the narrative of a client. There’s the going-through-the-motion work of coordinating interviews, fact-checking, returning phone calls and acting as a liaison with media outlets, management and agents. My job is to carefully mold the public image of an artist, sometimes you’re pushing them into the limelight and sometimes you need to know when to push them out. That’s the paradox of publicity.
HB: What specifically sparked your interest in Public Relations?
SB: It happened haphazardly. I was studying History at UCLA with no plans to enter entertainment. I began doing some internships to obtain college credit and just somewhat fell onto the media axis where I live now. When I started working with writers/journalists they gave me new perspective–they were interesting and creative, unlike most of the industry execs I was previously dealing with in other areas of the entertainment industry. I also became cognizant that the platform the media offered was far more vast and powerful than teaching 20 kids about the Great Wall of China. I’ve tried to harness the media to support subversive art, grassroots talent and activists who are working to leave the world in a tad better condition than they found it.
HB: What piece of advice regarding networking would you give to those seeking to work in PR?
SB: It’s funny, I’m so bad at networking, all my friends make fun of me. I’ll be at an event and someone will introduce themselves as the VP of Sony, and I’m like,”That’s nice. Have you see the dessert table?” Subsequently, I’m not sure if I’m the best person to offer advice. One of my good friends attends industry events all the time and by the end of the night, she’s chatted it up half the room and has everyone’s business card. I remember one time she came back and was like, “Yo! Mary J. Blige just gave me her number!” and I was like damn okay I really need to step my game up because the only person I remember from the night was the guy serving crème brulée. Just showing genuine interest in people and not always thinking in the back of your mind, “What can this person do for me right now?” Also be careful you don’t dismiss people so easily, you never know the guy you’re talking to in ripped jeans and Birkenstocks that you deem a “nobody” could be the brother of the CEO of Coca-Cola.