Y’know those people who walk around Wall Street shouting from their *metaphorical rooftops* (because, like, everyone knows financialists don’t see the light of day) about how much they LoOoOve their job? Yeah, me neither. But after meeting Lauren Zalta outside her Wall Street office building in the depths of stock market-ville it was evident she took the axiom, “Love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life,” to new heights. As a Talent Public Relations Assistant at ID, an entertainment PR firm that works with actors, directors, writers, musicians, brands, corporations and production companies, she ensures her Oscar winning movie stars and directors, Emmy nominated TV actors and Broadway performers are always red carpet ready. From scheduling their press days down to the last detail, to finding a way to mitigate the influx of emails pouring in from studios, journalists and beyond--it’s no wonder why some nights she willingly doesn’t leave her office till 9pm.
“It’s so pretty isn’t it? It looks like a movie set,” she says as if she’s walking the cobble stoned streets in her neighborhood for the first time. She takes me to a delicious vegan restaurant called Terri’s where all her friends frequent, she explains, when they come to visit during her lunch break. In between scarfed down bites, (she runs a tight AF schedule), Lauren recaps the hard work it took for her to break into a competitive industry after she graduated CUNY BA. But more on that and her rejection pep talk below!
Her Education Background:
I always loved everything pop culture and knew I wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry in some way. When I discovered the talent PR industry in high school, there was no turning back, and everything I did from that moment on was with the hopes of getting myself to where I am today.
I got into Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York, which also happened to be the only CUNY with a Public Relations major. I later ended up transferring to the CUNY BA program to create my own major of PR and media studies, to broaden my education on everything related to the industry. In the four years before I graduated, I had taken classes at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and City College and had four internships at four different PR companies.
On her Internship Experiences:
During my sophomore and junior years, I interned for two different PR companies outside of the PR industry, Rubenstein Public Relations and Kucerak & Co, and learned a lot about the industry as a whole and gained skills that I used throughout all of my internships and still use now.
In my senior year, I got an internship at a talent public relations company called Slate PR, a firm that works with high profile celebrities and events. As an intern, I was working a red carpet at least four times a month, and gained valuable hands on experience and working with talent and the press directly.
On interning with ID:
In the spring of my senior year. I got an internship at ID, which is where I work now. It was the greatest greatest experience. I loved the company in general, the people that worked there, the environment, how the company ran. They treated their interns like equals and always made sure I was always learning something. I would sit for hours watching over the shoulders of my [now] co-workers to learn what they did every day and try doing what they did on my own and would get reall tasks that an actual assistant would do. I cried on my last day it was so emotional, I didn’t want to leave.
How was the interview process?
My dream job was to be a talent assistant at ID PR in New York and everyday I do not believe that it actually came true.
I had fifteen interviews over the summer. I would come into the city once or twice a week and meet with employers. I would try so hard and convince myself every single time that I loved the job and that each was perfect for me even though it wasn't ID, or even a talent public relations position. But luckily I never gave up on my job search or on ID, and I got to where I am today.
It’s all About your Connections:
I graduated in May and I was unemployed until the middle of September. All the interviews that I had been going on were all set up by connections made during my past internships. Every time I was about to give up, I would get an email from someone at ID who heard of an opening and passed on my resume or from my boss from an internship three years ago saying 'oh by the way what are you doing now, I'd love to send your resume to my friend at this company..'
At the end of the summer, I was offered part time position at Slate PR, where I interned senior year. I had asked one of the publicists for a reference and she coincidentally had also been just about to email me because her upcoming work schedule was very hectic and she was looking for a part time assistant. We met for a casual coffee and she offered me the job. I worked there part time for six weeks. It was an amazing experience and I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity.
How she got the position at ID:
I heard there was an open position at ID and immediately emailed Human Resources. My boss emailed me a few weeks later to set up an interview, and a couple weeks later I was back in the office for my interview. I was so excited to be back in the office with the team, and it was clear to me and my boss that they were as excited to see me back there interviewing for a position. 2-hours later my boss called me and offered me the job.
What was your reaction!?
BEST. I was at my friend's house when I got the phone, and while I started tearing she was jumping up and down. I don't even think I heard what my boss said, I was in a different world. I was like yes, I'll take it, bye!
What are some of your day to day tasks?
The first thing I do is send my clients their press breaks that run online or in print. That email goes to the client directly, their manager, agent, assistant, whoever is on their team. Then I go through my emails, I get like 600+ emails a day. I make a checklist of what I have to do, but while I’m writing the list, I’ll get even more emails. The job is very demanding, you have to be able to multi-task and handle a million different things at once.
This month my boss has about 15 clients who are on with us. If my boss secures a print/online feature for them or if we confirm an appearance or a photoshoot, my job would be to make their schedule. What time their car is picking them up, where they're going, who's going to meet them, who's going to be the photographer, who's going to style them, who's doing their hair and makeup, when the piece is running, and every answer to every question they could possibly ask. My job is to make sure that everyone gets where they need to be and that my clients and my boss have all the information they need.
I had three Oscar nominees and two Oscar winning clients this past year and all of their campaigns started about the first day I started at ID. I thought it would get a little less busy once award season was over, but, it didn't.
What's your fave part about your job (besides for everything)?
Besides for everything. (laughs). I feel like I come off so obvious that I'm so in love with my job. Which is weird. I love how demanding it is. You have to be on top of everything. I like being organized, scheduling things. It feels like my days goes by quickly, because I enjoy what I do. I’m always excited to come back every morning. I love communicating whether it be with colleagues, journalists, my clients and building relationships with people in the industry.
Who’s your fave client?
Happens to be I love all of them. I think I'm lucky, all my clients are the sweetest and great to work with.
Life Lesson about Rejection:
Anytime you get rejected in life, just know and accept that it was not meant to be. Rejection leaves the door open for greater things to come. Landing my dream job is a clear depiction of that. I got rejected from 15 jobs that I convinced myself I NEEDED and would be a perfect fit for. If I got an offer at any of them I would've accepted them and stayed there and wouldn't have had the opportunity to be where I am today. So think about it, when you get rejected from a job, a college or even from love, just accept that it wasn't meant to be and something better is going to come along and make your dreams come true...