Personal Brands We Love: Marisa Mendez, Digital Strategist in Hip-Hop

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You’ve probably heard a million times before that internships are the ultimate way to enter into any industry. What some people fail to realize about internships is that while making sure you gain experience, you also want to build and connect with the individuals around you. There are so many successful people in the music and entertainment  industry and many of them credit not only their hustle to get to the top, but their ability to "get in" at some of the top companies in the entertainment industry and make connections with people there. It doesn’t matter who you come in contact with, always be sure to leave a lasting impression on them. We’re not saying go overboard and pester people, but make sure you are able to leave there have them remember you for the work you have done. A great example of this is Hip Hop blogger, Marisa Mendez. Marisa interned at Hot 97 for DJ Funkmaster Flex, while there she made numerous connections and was able to keep those going after her internship ended. A year later, on a visit to the station, Funkmaster Flex  remembered Marisa from her intern days and offered her a position on his then starting blog In Flex We Trust. Marisa is now a noted figure in the blogosphere, working with 40ozNYC, Jumpoff.TV among other brands read more about her below.

Describe your personal brand in three words Social Media, Hip-Hop, CUPCAKES!

30 second elevator pitch, Go! If you, your company or your artist need some help in the social media department...I'm your girl! I've created and/or maintained social media networks for tons of big names from French Montana to Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beatz, Funk Flex and more!

Current position and your typical work day

  • Content Editor at InFlexWeTrust.com
  • PR at 40oz NYC
  • Social Media at Edifice Agency
  • Contributor at Jumpoff.TV

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today. My brand is very personable, very silly and very down to earth...and of course, I get the work done - WELL. I think just being able to remain level-headed and unfazed in such a crazy business has helped me forge more relationships, which turn into referrals, which turn into clients and so on. It's all about who you know in the music industry, and beyond that, who you actually have a relationship with. Building with people is KEY!

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten? I look at everything as an amazing opportunity. I've been blessed to help Funkmaster Flex start his blog from the ground up, and get it to where it is today. I've worked with some of my absolute favorite artists in the music business, I've appeared on MTV, spoke on panels, traveled all over the place, all because I followed my passion. Every day I wake up happy because I'm not "going to work," I'm doing what I love!

Who are some of your mentors and why? My mentor is Kathy Iandoli. She's an extremely successful writer that has been in the game for over a decade, with tons of cover stories under her belt and respect from her peers that goes through the roof. I look up to her because she's managed to make an amazing living for herself with her writing, and never once had to compromise who she is or do something crazy to get to where she's at now.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? INTERNSHIPS! I cannot stress them enough. I know working for free is not the greatest thing, especially when you're a broke college student, but it is SO worth it in the end.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry? Slow progress is better than no progress. Music is NOT an easy industry to work in, and it's even harder to break into, but it's absolutely not impossible. I came from a random town in central New Jersey with ZERO type of connections in the music business, and I figured out how to make it work. Whenever you're feeling stagnant, just look back 2 or 3 years, and you'll realize how far you've come.

What can we expect from you in the near future? http://lifeistremendez.com

Connect with Marisa in the social sphere by following her on Twitter: @marisamendez and check out this awesome interview she did with The Phat Start-Up on Building Your Blogging Platform in Hip Hop.