It’s certainly no secret why public relations is such a widely popular major at college campuses across the country. Not only does the industry combine creativity, sales, and writing with a fast-paced, fast growing career field, but PR is also the driving force behind everything from social media to fashion shows. And while the range is wide, the skills required are pretty standard; you’ve gotta be able to talk to people.
We sat down with Tracy Christian of Jed Root talent agency, who offered some insight as to what it takes to make it as an agent in LA. She explained that at the heart of being an agent is sales: “Most agents are extremely ambitious, megalomaniacs, alpha personalities. Agency mailrooms are salt water ponds full of baby sharks.”
Although she started in the modeling industry, Christian quickly learned that her assets could be put to much better use in the entertainment industry, which had a much larger variety of clientele and opportunity. There’s also a big difference in the goals associated with representing entertainers, she explained. “We work on creating careers for our actors…the dollar amounts grow up, but the struggle is still the same.”
She went on to explain how in order to fully support your client, you must truly believe that they are capable of anything--something that requires some practice working in the often unstable world of Hollywood.
While it might have taken a stint in the modeling world for this PR pro to find her place, luckily Christian is willing to share some advice that she’s gathered along her journey in the industry. As for what makes a great agent, “Have an opinion” Christian said, “and be ready to back it up.” This may seem like a simple idea, but it could really come in handy when breaking in to the PR world straight out of college.
And her advice for current college students? “Be guided less by what you think will make money and more by what you’ll enjoy.” The reason for this, Christian says, is because you’ll likely be spending a lot more time at work than you think. “
“I spend more time with my clients and colleagues than anyone else in my life. My job demands a high level of enthusiasm and commitment,” she said, “and I couldn’t give that if it was just about the money.”