Believe it or not, it’s not just people on Instagram that can influence us. Your next door neighbour, your mum, a book you read or even something you watch on TV can shape or alter your life choices.
Growing up, a lot of people and things influenced the decisions that I made about everything; who I was becoming, the music I liked, the friends I made and the direction I wanted my life to go.
Career-wise, I didn’t grow up knowing that I was going to work in PR. I’m sure when you asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up at five years old I didn’t say, ‘I want to be someone’s publicist,’ – it was probably along the lines of being a pop star or being famous. I remember always feeling that I just wanted to be someone.
But when I realised at 18 that my life dream of becoming a pop star might not happen, I started to panic about what I was going to pursue as a career. (I’m kidding, I was 17 when I realised).
I recently started to reminisce about all of the movies I loved when I was younger and the careers of the characters that I found most interesting which would made me go back and re-watch them all of the time. Below are a mixture of movies and TV shows that (little did I know at the time) influenced my pursuit of a career in PR.
1. 13 Going on 30
This was one of my favourite movies when I was younger (alongside every Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film ever made – I had the entire collection on VCR (remember those!)) and it gave me my first insight into what I thought it would be like to work for a fashion magazine.
Let’s not forget that my first choice of career was to be a journalist for either a fashion magazine or to become a music journalist so the movie kind of solidified my choice.
The office was full of open-planned desks, a lot of females and I loved that they always showed the cover and talked about how important the cover was in comparison to their rival magazine. Plus it helped that ‘Jenna’ lived in an amazing flat in New York, was friends with celebrities, invited to parties and living what looked to be at the time ‘my dream life’.
For the little journo in me at the age of 12, I wanted to be Jenna and work on photoshoots in Central Park and write about people’s lives and just overall, create a magazine.
2. The Devil Wears Prada
A lot of the movies that influenced my career early on were heavily revolved around magazines, as there aren’t that many movies centred around people that work in PR.
The Devil Wears Prada was another one of these movies, even though Andy was more of a PA to Miranda than a journalist herself. It was more the working for a fashion magazine in that kind of environment that I admired. Not going to lie, I actually liked the look of Andy’s job, having to run around New York, grab coffees, be at Miranda’s back and call 24/7 and be surrounded by so many important people in the fashion industry.
When I first started at Coty, I thought I was going to very much be the Andy from the start of the movie, not fitting in with designer clothes and being completely out of my depth. By the time I left Coty, I hope that I became the Andy at the end of the movie, confident in what she was doing and finally fitting in.
Thankfully, I’ve never worked for a Miranda Priestly at this point, but that’s not to say I won’t come across a manager like her in the future. If anything, I’m sure I’d learn a lot from someone like Miranda (who we all know is based on Anna Wintour).
3. Ugly Betty
I don’t know if it’s the jobs or the characters that I most resonated with as I’m starting to sense a pattern with these jobs in fashion journalism but also all of the main characters are completely out of their depth and don’t ‘look’ like they work in fashion.
I think I loved the creativity that the show portrayed and that if you want a job in fashion, you don’t have to look like a supermodel in order to make it.
My favourite thing about Ugly Betty and the likes of The Devil Wears Prada was being surrounded by so many products – the fashion cupboards, the shoes and the endless new trends and fashion shows.
I wouldn’t say I come across as the type of person to work in fashion, but it’s an area that I’ve always been interested in, especially when it comes to magazines as I still buy Cosmo, Marie Claire and Vogue every single month. Whether I end up in fashion PR? I can’t really see it, but never say never.
4. Just My Luck
Finally a movie that features someone who works in PR! Another one of my favourite movies ever, it was only recently that I realised Lindsay Lohan’s character Ashley worked in PR when I watched it again on Netflix.
I used to think I was something like Ashley, always quite lucky in the way that I would find money on the ground or I would walk up to a crossing and the lights would turn red and just other random things that just seemed to always happen to me and go in my favour.
I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction and I sometimes think I have this weird sixth sense that when I speak about someone, they just happen to appear within the next 24 hours. Ask any of my friends as they’ll say it only happens when I’m with them – it’s so freaky.
Ashley worked for a PR firm that dealt with music clients and was organising parties, large events and again, had an amazing apartment in New York City and was living her best ‘PR Girl’ lifestyle. I’ve talked before about not really having an issue with the ‘PR Girl’ cliché as it attracted me to the industry and I had the best year ever living my own PR Girl life when I worked for Coty in London.
5. Gossip Girl
I’ve watched Gossip Girl that many times, I could probably act in the show myself. Even though the show was about teens and then university students, it was centred around the gossip site and wealthy New York socialites.
The show was basically centred around publicity as the main characters would have been ‘nobodies’ unless they were talked about on Gossip Girl. One thing that none of them wanted to become was irrelevant and so, the saying ‘all publicity is good publicity’ is pretty relevant here.
My favourite character was probably Blair Waldorf even though she was a bit of a schemer, she always managed to get her own way and would do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She always held a lot of authority and everyone knew who she was and what she was about.
It probably resonated with my want to be someone when I was younger and perhaps why I liked her character so much. She didn’t get things handed to her because she was pretty or lucky like Serena, she always had to work for it and make something of herself which I admired.
Serena did have a short stint of being a publicist, but this showed the negative side to publicity and not treating your client nicely just to make a story out of their embarrassment/frustration.
It seems that all of the movies/TV shows that influenced me where set in New York and involved fashion or magazines… time will tell if I end up where my 12 year old self envisioned.