You hear it in the news on a daily basis – a movie star spent thousands while shopping at Fred Segal, Michele Obama is on the cover of O Magazine, Whitney Houston is back and looks amazing, and ooops Brittany Spears did it again. The lives of celebrity are exposed for the world to see and judge their behavior. Who are we to judge and criticize? Are we walking the thin line of the righteous? I know we love to tune in to see what and who is happening next. From talk shows to reality television, we can not get of enough of the salacious gossip spewing out to the mouths of commentators on EXTRA, E-Online and now the infamous, Wendy Williams…
“How You Doooin?”
To get a true understanding of what it means for a celeb to be in the media and get exposure of every kind. I contacted the Publicity Prince of Media, Jonathan Clardy. In 1987, Jonathan began working in the industry after being taken under the wing of Hollywood’s famed urban photographed, Matthew Pearson. While behind the camera, Jonathan came to realize his talents and his true destiny. In following his heart and passion to serve, Jonathan has worked with the like of Chrisette Michelle, Bebe Winans, Barbara Streisand, and the incomparable Yolanda Adams. “It is great when one learns at an early stage in their journey, where they flow and one’s value.” “I consider myself to be a tangible extension of the clients and personalities I represent.” It’s amazing how we perceive each other but it is the perception and reception that turns just an average girl from the streets into American Next Top Model, one of Maxim’s 100 sexiest, the most Google’d, and/or the next big Reality TV Star.
Here’s Jonathan’s take:
BE-Style: What does it mean to be a Celebrity Publicist?
JC: Our jobs as a Publicist is to make sure that our clients are in the media. Rather it the internet and radio or the have them placed at strategic events to capture photos and images. As a celebrity publicist, I guess that I have graduated to dealing with only “upper scale” clients, star names. It makes that business more attractive
BE-Style: So is it a lot harder to get media attention around “under scale” clients?
JC: Yeah, it most definitely is harder. America is obsessed with celebrity and in a sense, lives vicariously through actors and entertaining by paying attention to what is mention in the media. So when I try to market the client, the question will be asked, who is this person? So it is to my advantage to have noticeable clients.
BE-Style: Does reality TV stars influence or affect your business your business?
JC: Yes, it does. But it’s kind of a double-edge sword. For some, it is God’s plan for their lives depicted on television so that their story may change or influence the lives of others. And then you have those that should have never been given to chance to display their behavior. Reality stars are sometimes a false since of entitlement once they get the recognition. Some feel as if they are deserving of the fame and all that comes with it just as those that actually put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make it in the industry. I feel that it has taken jobs from the real actors, those have the God given talent and work to perfect their craft.
BE-Style: How do you deal with the image of an overnight celebrity?
JC: It’s kind of organic. The publicity actually grows on its own. There are influence factors though. A lot depends on how the person actually governs themselves because I have had clients that I have just been told a flat out “NO.”
BE-Style: Do you target specific forms of media depending on the client?
JC: Yes, because they appeal to different demographics. It really depends on who the readers or viewers are for that publication. You could put Chaka Kahn on Good Housekeeping but not Snoop Dogg. It is really predicated on how this person portrays themselves and if the editor’s feel that they would be of value to their readers. Will the readers by the magazine if the person is seen on the cover or a blurb saying that there is an exclusive interview?
BE-Style: So do you research the publication to submit your clients?
JC: Well being in the business for that last 23 years, I have acquired clients in the financial sector as well as celebrities. So I reach out to those entities that are conducive to the nature of my client.
BE-Style: When is it a good time to actually hire a publicist?
JC: There are several factors involved with a celebrity. We always look at people to see if they have the “IT” factor. This is composed of a look, the longevity of talent, their own personal beliefs and behavior. Does this person have the propensity or proclivity to be a celebrity? Many times, music artist hire a Publicist independently to make sure that they get the exposure and are placed in the public eye.
BE-Style: Is there such a thing as bad publicity?
JC: No. They tried to throw me under a double-decker bus…. After being in the business for 23 years, I had never had my credibility or profession challenge. Everyone knows that I am a real publicist. And at first I was devastated but it only worked in my favor. I tell clients all the time that people will say things about you and they will lie but you can’t take it seriously. I think we need to be better to each other as a people.
BE-Style: When you have clients that are involved in scandal, how do you attack the situation?
JC: Well it is my job as a Publicist to do preventive maintenance. When I meet with a client it is important that I get full disclosure. It is good for me to be aware of anything that my come out to the public. It is my job that the demons don’t get out. So I have to manage personal as well as the public image.
BE-Style: How do you respond to Publicist being referred to as a roadblock to a celebrity?
JC: I wouldn’t say that we are roadblocks. It is our job to protect our clients. I would more so call us “gatekeepers.” You have to keep in mind that you have just any many people call that are not creditable as those that are legitimate representative from publications. You might have to ask additional questions to find out if they really work for the companies that the claim. I don’t think that any publicist tries to stop their clients from getting publicity. There might be times that the clients is not able to conduct an interview at it is the Publicist job to use his or her discretion in the matter. I think some people realize that once you become a celebrity, you become a corporation. You now have people whose livelihood depends on you doing your job.
BE-Style: What’s in the works for you and your clients?
JC: Well of course The Real Housewives of Atlanta will be premiering July 30th on Bravo then we have the Frankie and Neffie Show, August 26th on BET. Please make sure to tune in because both shows are full of drama, drama, drama…. I am also workin
g with a new Phenom, a male group of 3 extremely talented young men that will be out with a new CD.
BE-Style: Is there anything that you would like to share with our readers?
JC: You know what, Stop Judging and BE Entertained!
PublicityPrince Media – Atlanta Clients
Ann Nesby – Multi-Grammy winning vocalist, Sounds of Blackness, Tyscot Records
Angie Stone – Staxx Records recording artist
Seth Firkins – Grammy nominated engineer
Chaka Khan – R&B Music Legend
Sean Simmonds – Urban Contemporary Gospel Sensation
TroyMan – Young, Fresh HipHop artist “Winner – Wild N Out – 106 and Park”
Coko – Stellar-nominated renowned R&B (SWV) and gospel artist
Children Without A Voice – Foundation provides a voice for abused children worldwide.