If you look next to 'ambitious' in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Erin Simon. The Social Media Producer at REVOLT TV has quite an impressive resume under her belt - balancing her role at Revolt while taking on freelance opportunities at HYPEFRESH Mag and Wall Street Journal Sports. The young media starlet has proven to be a go-getter and her momentum isn't slowing down anytime soon. We spoke to Erin about what keeps her going and more. Check out the interview below.
Blogging started off as a hobby for you. Can you tell us about the moment you realized it was a passion?
The moment I realized it was a passion was when every time I created a piece, whether it was an interview or an op-ed, I had such a happy feeling - seeing something that I made come to life, seeing people enjoy or talk about the content. I did it because I loved creating, and not once did I think about making money from it. My freshman year of college, I realized that I would be happy doing this even if money didn't exist. It was then that I realized that it was my passion.
Did you face any challenges in the beginning of your digital media career?
I faced many challenges beginning my career. I started doing this work when I was 16, so of course I faced ageism, sexism and even racism. I had to learn to have thicker skin because when people didn't like what I wrote I would receive messages calling me a monkey and crazy things. And of course there was the challenge of making a name for myself and building my reputation. I had to work hard to get to where I am. Some days I felt like giving up, but I stayed strong and continued forth.
What is a typical day in your life like?
A typical day consists of me checking emails and looking at our submissions email for new music, then after that I do shoot planning. I'm currently working on three series for REVOLT, so I figure out who would be good for us to shoot, who our audience would like to see and from there I'll contact them. Once I get in touch with them, I figure out a shoot schedule for us and work with our videographers to make sure we create the best product. In between, I would help out with music programming or editorial in terms of interviews and so forth. Then at night, I would go to a show, a listening event, or pop up shop to either cover for us, or simply to support an artist that I know.
When creating content and building strategy for brands like REVOLT, what is the key to delivering quality work and staying on brand while sticking to your values and beliefs?
Consistency. No matter what I do, I strive to be consistent. Of course I always keep our main brand focus when it comes to content, but I always make sure to be consistent in terms of communication, in terms of visuals and quality. Once you are known to be consistent, it makes work a lot easier. That means being known to be on time all the time, known for delivering quality work and known for solid communication. That in itself doesn't push me away from my morals and values, and it keeps a good name for myself so that I'm able to work with higher level artists.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about your field?
How hard it can be. Of course they see the "glamorous" things like being in the studio with certain artists, but most don't understand how much work and effort it took to even get to that point. I've been at this since I was 16, so that's about 8 years. I worked 8 years, most of them for free, to get to the point where I work with people's favorite artists. We all have to pay our dues before we gain these opportunities. It is a hard industry, but as long as you have quality work and uphold your values, anyone aspiring to get into it can achieve their goals.
In the midst of success, how do you stay grounded while still climbing the ladder?
Well I have a mother who continues to put me in my place even though I'm an adult. That's a Latin mother for you! But, I also surround myself with humble and genuine people. I have wonderful mentors and friends who not only support me, but who keep it real with me and tell me things that I may not want to hear. That tight circle is what keeps me grounded. Plus, I don't know, I'm not a high maintenance person. I'm just like "whatever" when it comes to the glamorous aspect of my job, haha. I'm just like, "if you are cool, if the vibes are good, I'm good."
“Never listen to anyone who will tell you that you can't do something. When they say that, they are projecting how they feel and what they think your limitations are. Have a solid foundation and go for the stars because worst case, you'll fall back onto the clouds."
What advice do you have for women aspiring to be in digital media?
Never listen to anyone who will tell you that you can't do something. When they say that, they are projecting how they feel and what they think your limitations are. Have a solid foundation and go for the stars because worst case, you'll fall back onto the clouds.
Name 3 of your role models/mentors and why they inspire you.
1. Oprah: She defied the odds. When people said she couldn't, she did.
2. Rob Markman: Because he continues to support and genuinely gives back. He didn't have to take me under his arm, but he believed in me since day one. I aspire to treat everyone the same way.
3. My college professor Delano Massey because he pushed me so hard, to the point sometimes I wanted to cuss him out, haha. He taught me that as a minority woman, I have to work 110 times harder than some of my counterparts. He really instilled a harder work ethic in me, ane because of him, it helped me land an internship and a work opportunity at the Wall Street Journal. He was so proud to see my first print published story. It warmed my heart.
What goals do you have in mind for the new year?
My goal is to continue to grow, especially with my brand and as a person too. With growth comes success, so I just hope that not only my work is better, but that I become a better person at the end of the day.
What is currently on rotation in your music library?
Oh man, I could write a book about all of the songs that I listen to. I listen to everyone and all genres. Latin music, R&B, hip hop and people like Kaytranada, Kehlani, PNB Rock, Kendrick, the list goes on!
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
Being a boss lady - and that doesn't mean being tough and hard. It means being the best woman you can be and being the best at what you do. I honestly believe the more you better yourself, the more blessings will come. So go and be that boss lady!
Who's your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she's an inspiration to you.
My MISSBISH is my mother. She taught me how to be a strong woman, how to be a business woman, and she put in me the morals and values that I live by today. Watching the transition of her being a VP at Merrill Lynch to being bed-ridden sometimes due to illnesses - seeing how she gets through it all is truly an inspiration. So any time I feel like things are hard, I always think about my mom and others who have it harder. It makes me appreciate things more and also pushes me to continue to give back to others.
I love my mom, and she has even guided my friends who don't have a mentor or a motherly figure in their life. I always tell my friends I'm ok with sharing my mom, because what she taught me can help them and others too. And hey, we all need to inspire, motivate and pick one another up.
Photos by: BrannDann Art