Public Relations Rising Star Kayla Calloway Chats with PR Couture about PR, Hip-Hop, and Atlanta Fashion
Kayla Calloway is only 22 but has already made a name for herself in the world of lifestyle and hip-hop public relations. This Atlanta native loves John Coltrane, drawing, and putting her southern charm to good use as a media relations maven. Experienced in lifestyle, fashion & beauty and non-profit PR, Kayla’s true love is hip-hop. Her most notable career move to date was her aggressive two-day media outreach during Warren G ’s promotional visit to Atlanta. Her PR efforts secured radios appearances, exclusive magazine interviews, and placements in all the top hip-hop magazines and websites. Recently Kayla took time out of her crazy life to spend a little time talking about the good stuff - PR, music, and of course, fashion! Keep up with Kayla at her company’s website, KaylaCallowaypr.com, through her PR Blog, The Adventures of a PR Neophyte and on myspace.
PR: What do you do, what have you done, and how did you come to do what you do?
KC: I specialize in hip-hop, lifestyle, fashion & beauty and non-profit PR, but hip-hop is my main sphere of expertise. I’ve performed PR work for Warren G, Miss Black Georgia, B-Rich, A.T.M., Living Room Atlanta, Youth Development & Research Fund, HooD magazine, Clutch magazine…
I was first bitten by the PR bug while writing for my university’s newspaper. One day, one of my English professors called me into her office to comment on a student profile I’d written for the paper. She expressed that my writing veered more into a PR style versus the traditional unbiased journalistic style, and because of my strong PR writing skills and personable and adaptable nature, she suggested that I consider a career in public relations. I basically took heed to her message and began researching a career in PR and I found that I loved it!
PR: What connections are there between the hip-hop/underground music scene and the fashion industry?
KC: There are scores of connections. Many of the most prominent hip-hop artists and figures have spearheaded clothing lines. Diddy has even won top fashion honors for Sean John. Basically, hip-hop music is synonymous with fashion and trendsetting. Example: Look at how Jay-Z was able switched it up from throwbacks to button downs a couple of years back and have droves of people follow suit deeming everythingGrown&Sexy.
KC: I think it’s all in the presentation of the clothing and making it viable for them and the artist.
KC: I associate hip-hop nationalism with hip-hop pioneers, such as Public Enemy, Ice Cube and Ice Tea. In my opinion hip-hop nationalism is when rap artists and figures such as Russell Simmons (HSAN) and Diddy (Vote or Die) evoke social change and self awareness within the hip-hop community.
KC: There is no typical work day….That’s what I love most about PR. My work day varies from researching, brainstorming, writing, phone calls with clients and/or editors etc.
KC: The spontaneity and the results oriented makeup. I like the fact that PR is a labor of love. You see the results of all your efforts and hard work.
KC: Major differences are you’re able to be way more hands on and you’re able to execute more out-the-box thinking.
KC: My stellar work ethic, persistence, confidence, friendliness, adaptable nature, optimism and assertiveness.
KC: Making clients understand that there are no guarantees in the PR industry.
KC: Well I really want to work with an alternative band like Green Day or Good Charlotte.
KC: Obtaining exposure and not getting lost in the masses and creating an appealing movement, i.e. Young Jeezy, because record labels now a days are coming in on the tail end of an artists’ buzz, you have to have a foundation in place to garner the attention of a major label.
As far as tips towards indie artist visibility, the emergence of new media, i.e. myspace, flickr, youtube and etc. have created a great, cost-effective medium of exposure for indie artists. Additionally showcases, Atlanta Club Crucial hosts a showcase on Mondays, and then there’s the Almost Famous Showcase etc.
KC: Relationships are critical; they are the life blood for a career PR. I maintain relationships through being consistent, genuine and always making sure that my relationships are reciprocal…it’s a give and take.
KC: Placing my client Win…a relatively unknown producer in XXL’s Production Credit section, and securing Warren G a wide array of ATL media placements in less than 24 hours.
KC: A constant challenge in PR is making people understand the value of public relations. The emergence of new media has opened up a wealth of opportunity for PR professionals.
KC: From the start! PR builds an identity and it generates visibility.
KC: PRWeek, Bulldog Reporter, Target Market News, AJC, New York Post, Allhiphop, Sohh, XXL, Ozone, Down, The Fader, Complex, Source, Vibe, Daily Candy and Sandra Rose.
KC: I wanted to chronicle my progress.
KC: Learn and absorb as much knowledge as possible through internships and volunteering.
KC: BPRS-Black Public Relations Society
KC: Yes I definitely do. There’s a wealth of professional organizations, yahoo groups etc that give PR practitioners a haven to exchange ideas and obtain advice.
KC: Well of course the entrepreneurial aspect, but then also it’s the unlimited creative control and the opportunity to be more hands-on with clients.
KC: Very assorted…from vintage/retro to high-style to preppy to skateboard and so forth. Fashion is presented on a wide scale in Atlanta.
KC: Club Monaco, Wish, Tease, Envy, American Apparel, Nordstrom, Off Saks, Urban Outfitters, Target, J Crew, Last Chance Thrift Store, Girlshop and Sephora.
KC: Very versatile. I love to mix pieces, for instance I might pair a Sole Munki hoodie with a Burberry scarf, skinny jeans and ballet flats or pumps….it just depends….or I may channel inspiration from Charlotte York and go girly….it varies on my mood. I’m a real bargain shopper, only splurging on designer handbags in basic colors, fly shoes, scarves and sunglasses. I love Missoni sunglasses, because I love some of the cool retro/funkadelic prints.
KC: Clients: Professionalism, Communication, and Positivism
Media: Timing, Straightforwardness, Preparation
KC: The way you think shapes your reality.
KC: To continually evolve and unremittingly keep away from contentment.
Thanks PR Couture!!!