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Johnna Escobedo

Johnna Escobedo
Major: Communications
Grad Year: 2005
Hometown: Pueblo, CO

Tell me about your position at Hearst Magazine.

Hearst is a one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies and I am the Director of Public Relations in the magazines division.  I handle public relations for four magazines – ELLE, O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and Redbook.  My job is to not only promote the magazine content each month, but to raise the profile of the various editors and publishers at each brand.  We receive advanced copies of the issues each month and I am always looking for articles or features that would make a good segment on a national morning show or could generate interest on entertainment websites.  Each of my brands has a different set of strengths - fashion, wellness or health/beauty – so, I pitch the producers and media outlets that speak best to these editors and topics.  The PR department also works to promote the various events that the magazines host, for example, ELLE does an event series throughout the year (Women in DC, Women in Music, Women in Hollywood) and Oprah just announced  a multi-city tour, ‘The Life You Want Weekend’ that I’ll be working on.  It is my job to make sure that right media outlets attend and cover these events, as well as helping coordinate logistical details.

What do you like most about your job?

I have had so many amazing experiences at Hearst and love going behind the scenes at our photo shoots to watch how such high-level content is created month after month.  My job is to help build the brand profile and if someone thinks of a fashion magazine; I want them to think of ELLE.  If they are looking for great health and wellness content; I want them to pick up an O Magazine.  My magazines reach millions of readers each month and it’s incredible to participate in something that has such a wide reach.

What have some of your most exciting projects been?

I have been so fortunate to have worked on some really interesting projects and events.  I’ve helped produce around twenty different fashion shows and the moments before they start are just so exciting.  The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and the Vanity Fair Oscar party were, by far, two of the most glamorous things I’ve ever participated in.  I feel very comfortable around celebrities but there were A-List guests everywhere - it was surreal.  My first big Oprah event was in Los Angeles in 2012, she was hosting a big one-day conference called O You with various contributors like Suze Orman and Dr. Phil.  That was the first time I met Oprah and I’ll never forget it – she’s incredible.

How did you get into the magazine world?

Growing up in Pueblo, Colorado, the only access to fashion is through magazines - there aren’t any in-store events or fashion shows to attend.  I moved here with the intention of working in fashion, specifically fashion magazines, even though at first, I wasn’t sure what that meant or how to do it.  After a few years as an intern and an assistant, I started managing my own accounts at a large PR agency with various fashion designers.  I helped produce and promote fashion shows and worked on Victoria’s Secret, G-Star RAW, and Tommy Hilfiger (to name a few).  Two years ago, a friend of mine was at lunch with my current boss and mentioned my name when she said that she was looking for a new director.  A week later, I was hired!  Coming into this position, I had good knowledge of fashion and fashion public relations, but had never done anything on the magazine side.  At first, it was fake it until you make it, but it paid off! 

How did CU-Boulder prepare you for your career?

When I first got to CU-Boulder, I was just so excited to be there.  Classes are hard and you are held to a high standard that helps prepare you for real life.  It was obvious on my first day that it wasn’t enough that you were accepted at CU-Boulder, you have to keep succeeding.  My experience at CU-Boulder is a lot like my job now; you keep pushing yourself harder and harder and you realize that you have the ability to do almost anything you set your mind to.  It’s all about broadening your horizons and knowing that you should always be trying to better yourself.  

What advice do you have for students who are currently considering college?

Really, really enjoy your four years in college - it is your first chance to experience the world as an adult but to still have a teacher/parent safety net in place.  If I could go back, I would have done so much more.  I would have been in as many clubs as possible and studied abroad. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t gone to CU-Boulder.

 

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