This week’s Person To Know is publicist Jessica Denomme.
A typical day?
Esther Garnick PR (EGPR) is a personality-driven boutique PR agency that specializes in lifestyle clients (fashion, beauty, restaurants etc). As a Senior Publicist, a “typical day” is a bit of an oxymoron. On the tamest of days, you can find me pitching our clients to the media, writing press releases, creating guest lists, updating EGPR’s social media platforms and developing brand strategy with our Director of Publicity, Esther Garnick. However, it’s also common to find me at Breakfast Television at 6AM overseeing a client segment, setting up a venue for one of our events, or running to the Bulk Barn to pick up 400lbs of sour keys for a candy bar. Never a dull moment!
How did you get started in PR?
During one of my summers off while attending Wilfrid Laurier University for their Bachelor of Arts (English) program, I decided that I wanted to go dance on a cruise ship. Having danced competitively all my life, and having already completed a contract with Royal Caribbean International as a Broadway Style Revue Show Dancer, this seemed like THE best idea for a bored second year student. While on my contract with Carnival Cruise Lines, I became close with one of the ships’ Cruise Director’s who introduced me to PR. After returning home from my contract, I decided that PR was for me – and soon after enrolled in Conestoga College’s PR program, which led me to my first internship (at Canwest Broadcasting)…and several years later, here I am!
Namedrop! Any interesting celebrity stories?
Yep. Cody Simpson is basically in love with me! *Cue hate mail* I’m mostly kidding, but last year EGPR ran the publicity and celebrity outreach for Red Bull Canada and Universal Music Canada’s MMVA “Friends with Benefits Gifting Lounge.” I had managed to convince Simpson’s manager to bring him over to the suite and when he showed up I had the opportunity to walk him through all of the activations. When he was leaving, I went to shake his hand and he pulled me in for the real thing – a hug and big smooch on the cheek. I nearly fainted, and then Esther reminded me that he’s like 12 years old.
Your major career influence?
Esther is a huge career influence for me. She’s been able to achieve so many things throughout her career and I feel really blessed to have her as a mentor. Esther is very hands-on and believes that no member of a team is more important than the next – we all pull our weight. I can truthfully say that the most important thing I’ve learned about this industry are from Esther. If I was her, I’d charge people to have internships at EGPR – it’s the best schooling ever.
Best advice you’ve received?
Make a decision. We have so many options in life and it’s easy to be (indecisive). Figure it out, make a decision, and follow through on it. If you make a bad choice, fix it – but at least you’re not still sitting there thinking “what if?”
If you weren’t a publicist, what would you be?
In addition to my position at EGPR, I also write a blog called ‘Flats are for Quitters’ (www.flatsareforquitters.com). I really love writing, so if I weren’t a Publicist, I think I would be a full-time writer – that or the child of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.
What’s up next?
Right now we’ve begun the planning stages for the 2013 Essentials Lounge. Each year before the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), EGPR runs an experiential gifting lounge for members of the press. The Essentials Lounge was created in order to offer an experience that is exclusive for the media before the film festival. In doing so, brands are able to showcase their products and offer services that help prepare media members for their grueling work schedules in the 10 days that follow. It’s our favourite event of the year and this year is going to be the best yet..
Something about Esther only you know…
Esther does her best thinking in the washroom. I know when she takes a potty-break, she’s going to emerge with some insanely genius idea. She’s going to kill me for that one – so I’ll also say, people don’t realize how kindhearted and genuinely caring she is.
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
My condo. It’s a miniature bachelor on the 7th floor of a building that I really can’t afford but I’ve worked so hard to save the money to be able to live there and I’m proud of it!
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Brassaii. I’m obsessed with the food and their Executive Chef, Chris Kalisperas, is fantastic at incorporating seasonal, local vegetables. Try the Buratta – You. Will. Die.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
I have an obsession with Liberty Village that I really need to shake. I’ve convinced myself that that’s where all the hot, young couples live, and if my boyfriend and I don’t live there then we are somehow less attractive and successful.
Least favourite thing about Toronto?
You would think that it would be the TTC, but I actually love public transit. People who wear their backpacks on the streetcar and subway however, watch yo self.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
My friend Aimee claims that I should answer this with JP Arencibia for looking so sexy (go, Jays!), but I’m going to go with the ladies that chair Boobyball! I recently joined the PR committee for the event, which is in support of Rethink Breast Cancer, and I’m so in awe of the hard work they’ve put into the event – which is a must attend for Torontonians. I can’t wait for the next Boobyball, the 12th of its kind!