Bonus Episode: Jhoana Heras, PR Manager at Base Beauty Creative Agency

Jhoana Heras, PR manager at Base Beauty Creative Agency, was headed for a career in accounting when a PR internship serendipitously came her way. She thought it might be an interesting summer diversion but it turned out she really loved it and discovered that she absolutely did not want to be an accountant. Good to know!

Listen to her full story, including her true career goal, being on The Real Housewives.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey everybody. It's Jodi Katz, your host of WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® Podcast here with a bonus episode. In this episode, you get to meet our new PR manager. Her name is Jhoana Heras. I hope you enjoy the show.

Hey everybody, I'm excited to be sitting next to one of our newest team members at Base Beauty, Jhoana Heras, who's now our publicist. Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®.
Jhoana HerasThank you. Excited to be here.
Jodi KatzAnd welcome to Base Beauty.
Jhoana HerasThank you.
Jodi KatzSo, we're going to start with my favorite topic in talking with you, which is The Real Housewives.
Jhoana HerasLove it.
Jodi KatzTell me about your housewife dreams.
Jhoana HerasWell, it's been a lifelong dream, for the past three years since I've been introduced to the show, just really want to make it to New York Housewives and be on with Dorinda. It's truly just a life goal. So, it's what I'm working towards here.
Jodi KatzAnd you say this and you're not joking.
Jhoana HerasNo, I'm not. I truly want this.
Jodi KatzOkay so, that means you're going to need like a tagline and a persona. Have you been working on that?
Jhoana HerasSo I really want my tagline to be, something about Botox and not needing it. Then, I definitely think I have to work the Latina angle somewhere in there because I will be the first Latina New York Housewife. But I haven't developed it fully just yet.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, tell me about this Botox theme.
Jhoana HerasI just don't ever want to get Botox. I believe in it truly, if it works for you, it works for you. It was created for a reason. However, I don't ever want it, so I'm preventing it. I've been trying to prevent this since I was like 15 so, hopefully, I'll never need it. But I guess we should make sure that's true before that becomes my tagline, and then halfway through the season I realize I need it.
Jodi KatzSo, you've been really thinking hard about how to live a life to prevent Botox, right? So since you were 15 years old. What does that look like for you?
Jhoana HerasSkincare is just so important to me, sunscreen, everyday moisturizer. My sister is a publicist as well, and when I was just introduced to beauty, in general, I was like, "Wait, I'm obsessed with this and I need to make sure my skin always looks this way." So ever since then it's just really been an obsession.
Jodi KatzAnd why are you opposed to getting Botox for yourself?
Jhoana HerasI'm not opposed to it. I mean, I just would rather not have it, and I think is just become a life goal of mine to keep my skin at tip-top shape so I won't need it. And I look at my mom, and she has wonderful skin for her age and I'm like, "If you can do this without actually taking care of your skin then I can do this."
Jodi KatzSo, I mean it's making me think of I've never danced the Macarena, and because I've never danced the Macarena I'm just never going to dance the Macarena. Is that sort of your feeling about it? Like you haven't gotten Botox even though the people around you have so now you're just sticking to your guns and not getting Botox?
Jhoana HerasYeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Or I at least want to prolong it as much as I possibly can, but I mean if I start realizing in photos that I need it, then I will 100% get it.
Jodi KatzOkay. So what's this tagline sound like? Have you practiced any?
Jhoana HerasI haven't. So if you have any suggestions ...
Jodi KatzOkay, we're going to have to work on it as a team. You're surrounded by very creative women so we can get on this for you.
Jhoana HerasOkay.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, before you become a Housewife, you will be a publicist. So, tell us about your career. Like you said your sister works in PR, is that how you got interested in it?
Jhoana HerasYeah, she is six years older than I am. So, I was exposed to this life really early on. And when I went to college, I actually went to school for business and accounting, and that was kind of where I was headed. I was going to be an accountant, and this is where I was going working for one of the big four. And then, my junior year, that summer I came back and it was too early to have an internship in accounting. So I didn't want to just sit around. She was like, "Hey, if you want to intern you can do this. It'll look good on your resume no matter what." So, I started interning and I fell in love and I was like, "You know what? I don't want to do accounting anymore. I can't imagine myself sitting at a desk crunching numbers all day." So I went back to school, switched my major and here I am.
Jodi KatzOh wow, one internship inspired you to switch your major?
Jhoana Heras]Yeah. I mean, it was a nine month internship because I did like field work for them as well. So it was a pretty large period of time and I was like, "Yeah, this is what I want to do."
Jodi KatzSo, what do you love about being a publicist?
Jhoana HerasAside from just the beauty products, which I obviously love, I just think that every day isn't the same. You're not sitting at your desk and your calendar can be planned out. That said, things come up always. I think especially on the agency side, just having such a wide range of brands and being able to work on a skincare brand that's completely different from another skincare brand, and their model, and just trying to figure out what your client needs, that's exciting to me.

And then, I don't think a better feeling than like opening up a magazine and knowing that that placement you got your client was all you. And I remember getting my first print placement when I was an assistant and saying like, "Oh my God." I think I still have the magazine somewhere in my house.
Jodi KatzOh, what was it?
Jhoana HerasI think it was People and it was for a smaller clients, so they appreciated it. I was like, "Oh my God, this is amazing." I mean, everyone else was like yay, normal stuff for them. And I'm like, "No guys, this is my first one, please be excited." But yeah.
Jodi KatzDid you frame it?
Jhoana HerasNo, I don't think my mom even has my diploma framed. She's just like, "Oh yeah, whatever."
Jodi KatzSo I think a lot of our listeners who are early in their career or stolen school would want to know what the day-to-day is like for you. So can you walk us through what your job really looks like? The good, the bad, the ugly.
Jhoana HerasYeah, I definitely start out my day reading POPSUGAR. I love POPSUGAR. I do New York Mag, Coveteur. It's a lot of just getting to know what the industry is talking about today because it changes every single day. If anything happened overnight that you need to be aware of. If any big news happened in the world that you shouldn't be pitching today, that's important. And then, you get on, it's typically, either client calls for the day, team meetings, or you're putting together a media list. I literally just finished one.
Jodi KatzSo, will you define what that means?
Jhoana HerasYeah. So, I just put together a media list for Victoria. So we're sending out a mailer with her new product and before you just start sending out mailers, you really have to identify who should get it, who on the team because a media publication will have five people. That doesn't mean that the beauty director should get it all the time. It's one, based on your relationship with the individuals there, as well as who you think the brand speaks more towards.

So, putting that together and it depends on product, and what makes sense, and timing for the mailer as well. If you know someone's going out on vacation because they're about to go on their honeymoon or something you, obviously, don't want to send it to them because then it just gets lost in the shuffle. So it's a lot of stalking people, I guess you can say, and just figuring out what makes sense for the client, for you, for your followup needs, for press. So, I just put that together. Then, really a lot of strategy behind your pitches, and what you should be pitching out every day.
Jodi KatzWill you define a pitch for our listeners?
Jhoana HerasYeah. A pitch is, basically, an email that you send to editors that outlines one client or several brands that have either something new, or that's something relevant towards the day. My latest pitch was on Mother's Day for our long leads. So, because they work on a three month timeframe ahead of time that has to go out like yesterday. And it, basically, was just a round up of all clients, and what's coming up, and anything new, anything that makes sense that you would be trying to purchase for your mom for the big days. So yeah, it's really just that. It's describing and sending press releases, sending imagery, sending, all the information they might need, and letting them know if you need anything else, or if you're interested in anything else from the brands we're happy to send that information as well. But yeah that's pretty much ...
Jodi KatzSo, every day it starts with reading and research?
Jhoana HerasYeah, definitely.
Jodi KatzDo you feel that's just sort of fun reading for you or does it feel like work?
Jhoana HerasNo, I think it's definitely fun reading. I think it's the basis and I was always just trained that way where it's when I started as an intern they were like, "You have to start your day with reading about the industry and what's happening. And even if it's not your client, just see what launched overnight because there is always going to be a launch. There's always going to be an exclusive from another brand that goes up at 9 AM sharp." So, it became a habit and yeah, it's become fun for me to read about other brands. And you should definitely know what competitors are doing. You should definitely know if there's any new innovations with beauty products.

It's very important, also, to serve that up to a client, if it makes sense for them. If it's a top competitor of theirs and perhaps they just launched something that you're launching down the timeline of that year, that should definitely be given to them. So, it's a lot of just research fun, and as well as work.
Jodi KatzAnd if someone is looking for a job to start out in this industry, and the business has changed so much as the number of publications evolve and reduce, what should they be doing to prepare for a career?
Jhoana HerasI definitely think interning helps. It's a big part of just knowing the way things work. A large part of my internship was packing up boxes and shipping things out, and doing mailers. And it seems tedious and it doesn't seem super important, but I've been a publicist for almost four years now and that will never change. You will always be backing up boxes, you will always do mailers. It's a large part of our job. And just learning that from an early age and seeing what goes into it ... I think asking questions is really important as well.

I was lucky enough that for my internship it was a smaller agency, so I was able to ask those questions and feel comfortable enough for them to tell me why I'm doing this, why I'm packing up this box, why I'm sending out 500 nail polishes of the same color. So I think asking questions, getting involved very early on with an internship is very important. Also, I've had interns who've worked on my team, who will do an internship and they're like, "This is actually not for me," because it does seem like a very glamorous job from the outside looking in. You're like, "Oh I get to do launch events. Oh she gets to work with influencers and magazines, and all these brands." It is nice, however, there is the other side of it of packing up boxes.
Jodi KatzSo, this industry has a reputation for this sort of like mean girl culture in agencies. We're not like that, but how did you navigate through your career until you got here and to try to stay outside of that? Because you're not a mean girl.
Jhoana HerasYeah. Thank you. I think just knowing who you are, and realizing that everyone has been in your shoes before. When I was an intern ... leadership is very important. So, if the VP or a director on your team is setting this tone, typically, that's going to influence entire team to be a certain way. I've had a lot of shifts between my leadership for my past roles where we've gone from really, really bad leadership, I would say, to extremely nice leadership.

So, I think just staying true to who you are. And even though someone might be treating you that way that doesn't necessarily mean you have to treat the person who's working for you the same exact way. And just realizing that it's not easy. It's a hard industry. Working for a ton of girls in beauty is long days, and if you're going to be together for 40 plus hours a week you might as well be friends. So I think just, honestly, staying true to who you are and not letting the stress get to you, because I think that's also a big part of why the mean girl culture happens. Everyone gets stressed and then that promotes an attitude, or a different way of speaking to one another. But if you just take a step back and realize that it's not needed, you'll be fine.
Jodi KatzSo, what are your future career goals outside of The Real Housewives?
Jhoana HerasDefinitely just working my way up. I would definitely like to, at one point, work in-house. I haven't experienced that yet but, from what I've heard, it's really nice compared to agency life, so I would definitely want to do that. I think it's also finding the one client, or the one brand you can work on all day every day. What I mostly like about my agency life is that I have so many different clients, so you get so much experience on a wide range of beauty products. But it might be fun to just do one, who knows?
Jodi KatzYeah. I worked in-house and it was really helpful because we were so close to all the decisions, right? Being in an agency, sometimes clients don't want to let you in on everything even if we can help or be incredibly helpful in the future success of their programs, there is sometimes a distance, right?
Jhoana HerasYeah.
Jodi KatzBut then you're right, you have to find a brand that you're going to be so interested in for the long haul. When I worked at L'Occitane, I mean I was there for four years, which feels like a long time. I feel like it was like freshman year, and sophomore year, junior year, senior year. But we were talking about lavender harvest all the time, right? So, eventually, there's a sense of repetition, right? So, then you want to look for a company where you can grow, right? So, maybe someone else is thinking about the lavender harvest, and you're thinking about something else, right, what's next?

Well it's so great to get to know you. And I'm excited for your future on Bravo. And we're so glad to have you here. We're incredibly happy to have you and your spirit in this business.
Jhoana HerasI'm so excited to be here. Thank you.
Jodi KatzAnd if aspiring publicists have any questions, can they reach out to you directly?
Jhoana HerasOf course.
Jodi KatzWill you tell everyone your email address?
Jhoana HerasYes, it's J-H-O-A-N-A, a weird spelling, @beauty.com.
Jodi KatzThank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Jhoana HerasThank you.
Jodi KatzAnd for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes. And for updates about the show. Follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

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