This week’s person to know is publicist Amira de Vera.
A typical day?
The great thing about PR is that you can’t expect everyday to be typical, which I love, but if I was to tell you my routine, it is get to the office by 9 AM or earlier, have my Jimmy’s Coffee (a big must), answer e-mails, pitch media, arrange media interviews, chat with clients and somewhere in there I am tweeting, playing office DJ (A lot of Beyonce, Drake, Frank Ocean…). I am the ultimate ADD multitasker!
How did you get started in PR?
I actually fell into this industry by accident. Like most people, I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated University. I knew I liked fashion so I thought I would get into that, but realized quickly it wasn’t something that was necessarily going to work for me as a career. I volunteered during Fashion Week and met someone who was in PR, ended up realizing it was something I did naturally and could grow with the proper training so I started looking for more opportunities. I interned for a while and then ended up working at Pennant Media Group and haven’t looked back since!
Namedrop! Any interesting celebrity stories?
One year at TIFF, we had the opportunity to work with Dean McDermott (who is Tori Spelling’s husband). I didn’t really know much about him, only that he was married to one of Hollywood’s biggest names and had a reality show with her. One day, enroute to a few TIFF events, we did a coffee run with Dean at Tim Horton’s; he was buying a ton of food, including coffee, donuts and other pastries. My first thought was – wow, he eats a lot. Then on the way out he gave the food, coffee, and a $20 bill to a homeless man sitting outside the cafe. I’ll never forget that experience and I always share it with everyone. Those kinds of stories always make celebs more real to me.
Your major career influence?
My boss Kevin Pennant is a huge influence. He is my mentor – and a fantastic one at that. He has so many amazing stories and has worked with some of the world’s greatest, but he manages to keep it real and does everything with a positive attitude and with great intentions. I learn something from him every day. And of course my parents are as well. They always push me to aim for higher than I can imagine for myself.
Best advice you’ve received?
One of my favourite quotes in the world is “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Kevin actually shared that quote with me and it’s so true. Sometimes in your life you have to get rid of the people that are not good for you because it really does affect everything about your well-being.
If you weren’t a publicist, what would you be?
I LOVE the film industry. I am fortunate enough to work with a variety of actors, producers, and production companies so I get a little peek of how the industry works on a daily basis and I think it’s so fascinating. I think I could easily be a film producer or even a film critic… I love watching movies. Another industry I think would be fun is event planning.
Something about Kevin Pennant only you know…
As a self-proclaimed Office DJ I get a feel of what kind of music he likes… and, surprise, he actually loves country music!
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
Definitely either the Art Gallery of Ontario or the ROM. I know it made the ugly architecture list, but I think the ROM is such a cool building and is so unique.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
I think right now I’m a huge fan of Blowfish on Bay Street. I went there for my birthday and it was phenomenal. Also Canoe is on that list because I like to show off the stunning view of the city.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
Liberty Village. It’s up-and-coming; lots of great new restaurants in the area, lots of people my age and, although it’s still in the city, it feels like you’re getting away from downtown.
Least favourite thing about Toronto?
Traffic and the TTC.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
I think Tanya Kim is one of this city’s most positive influential people. A lot of young girls look up to her, including myself, and I think it’s cool to see more successful Asians on TV. I know I grew up not seeing that so she’s making a lot of people realize they can be whatever they want. She is also involved in a number of different charities including the Ontario SPCA, which is a cause very close to my heart as well. There’s nothing better than seeing people who have that influence put it into good use.