We met through a mutual friend and sister (in my head) Traci Braxton. Sonji Carey is the publicist of the famous Braxton sister/singer and the first person to reach out to me when wanting to promote her client.
She needed all the necessary details (who, what, where, when, why, etc.) and for a second, I was a little “perturbed” about the fuss but I later understood and grew fond of my new friend Sonji.
Being a celebrity publicist looks fun but when you really look into the day in the life of someone who lives a high profile life, it’s nothing even close. You have no time for family, friends, vacation, LIFE!
On a daily basis, publicists are dealing with crazed fans, promoters, agents, record labels, managers, emails, texts, screaming husbands, screaming children, social media posts and the artist themselves.
So what’s it like being a celebrity publicist? I had to ask Sonji to break it down for me.
Funny thing about Sonji is: when I asked her for this interview, it not only took her forever to get back to me (because she’s always busy), but she didn’t use this time to brag about herself! She didn’t even include a picture of herself! I actually tried to find one of her online…NOTHING! I guess the proof is really in the pudding (work).
So…here’s my one on one w/ celebrity publicist Sonji Carey:
What is your occupation? A Publicist
How did you get started in your career? I started out supporting a organization by means volunteering my service and this was in my hometown. After two years of hard work and commitment. I was offered a position as a Junior Publicist.
What do you like/love most about your career? Having the opportunity of being creative and knowing that at the end of the day my client/clients are satisfied with the end results.
Most importantly is building that personal and professional relationship. Where under the corporate and foundation umbrella as a publicist it not as challenging and aggressive as entertainment PR. The difference between the two, you are working with the organization that has other team leads involved such as managers, director, event planners, marketing strategist, we work together to produce a huge public or private event, but when you are working with an individual talent at times it can be quite challenging whereas the artist themselves in the entertainment industry is quite aggressive you have be out there networking promoting your client, making sure that social media is always kept on a positive note, because people will quickly judge you, criticize you, hate on you for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and then they take that one snapshot picture and make it go viral and that’s when damage control is put into place.
What did you do before you started this particular art and why was it necessary to switch gears?
I started out in health insurance. You have a question, I’m your girl! You want to know about The women’s preventive care act, how to get a Breast Pump for free, how to get contraceptives for free, how to get insurance through the Obamacare…call me up
On a serious note, It was important for me to switch gears, I have a degree in human resources business /management which I never used, but it is always important to explore other options and explore other opportunities that will lead you into what you really want to do and PR is my thing
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and how do you respond to it?
It depends on which industry in public relations you represent. We are sometimes looked at as the bad customer service representative (lol) but for me personally, I’m one of the nicest individuals that you can honestly deal with. I am willing to listen, take on constructive criticism, and/or consider anything you have to offer. However, at the end of the day, I will give you my honest feedback. It’s nothing personal; it’s business as always!
Overall, I like to observe and understand what I am about to deal with. A lot of times we can be extremely straightforward, because at the end of the day our goal is to help protect our clients brand and image!
Every person has a story that’s “one for the books”. That could mean it was a good experience or a bad one. What is a “one for the books” story for you?
I setup a press conference and for some reason I kept calling out the incorrect organizations’ name to the media. During the conference, folks keep looking at me like I was crazy and that’s when it hit me….oops LMBO…that was when I first stated
What industry do you admire the most and why?
The entertainment industry and it’s not about the glitz, glamour or the finer things in life that you come across, but I personally understand why it is so important for artists to be paid for their services. Every event that they attend no matter if it’s a personal appearance, performance or speaking engagement, every artist should be paid for their performance. It’s no difference between you and me. When we go to our jobs every day, our bosses expect us to perform well on our jobs and we expect to be compensated either every two weeks or once a month. It’s the same deal with an artist in the entertainment industry, they should be compensated for their performance no matter what, and their job is to entertain us so why not pay them? That’s what I admire the most is the hard work and dedication and the countless hours. These artists put in each and every day and the sacrifices that they make for their families.
If there was something you’ve never done before but you were given the opportunity to do it today, what would it be?
I was offered a position to work in Public Relations with a company in California, but I turned the position down (don’t laugh) because I was not sure how I was going to handle earthquakes. Yes I regret not taking the job!
In 5 years, where do you see yourself?
Still working in PR, and of course in a different tax bracket!
If you of today could speak to you of 15 years ago, what would she say and how would she respond?
16 years ago, I was 23 and confused. I would tell myself to stay humble and continue to achieve your goals and don’t let anyone pull you back.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“An artist should just be that an artist, the rest is up to the publicist to keep the public eyes opened!”
How can people reach out to you?
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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