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The Fame Game
How do celebrities stay in the spotlight?

Think of your favorite celebrity, how do you feel when you see his or her face? Or simply hear the name? You may be surprised to know that there is a highly sophisticated group of people behind our favorite famous faces creating that public aura we love. So, how do they do it?

For the past few months, I've been speaking with a PR (Public Relations) company in LA called Lexicon Public Relations. My contact Zack Teperman, an operations manager, would kindly send me updates about celebrities - some with local ties, others not -  trying to garner interest for an interview about the celeb's  latest projects. Why? To create public interest. Becoming famous and staying famous in a positive light doesn't just happen.

What exactly does Zack Teperman (and his business partners) do at Lexicon? Zack explains that they help celebrities, products and brands get out there and make a name for themselves through social media, print media, red carpet events and TV. Anything you see in the media, whether it's a product, brand or person most likely has a PR company behind it creating that aura around a brand. We all remember the first time Jennifer Lopez walked out on to the red carpet at the Grammys wearing that green Versace dress with the plunging neckline. Not only did J. Lo become a household name after that, but so did Versace. A lucky accident, or a strategically planned move?

What is a normal day in the life of someone whose job it is to create buzz for someone who wants it? Zack jokes around that he works a 28 hour day and has about 200-300 emails to respond to, so he quickly sorts through and answers the important ones first. He has to remind clients and celebrities of their schedules that day, along with team meetings to pitch new ideas to clients.

 The really fun part of the job? Walking down the red carpet at the Emmys, Oscars and Grammys. Zack's job is to control the situation during these public events, making sure everything is in place while the celebrity is being interviewed and photographed.

How do you get yourself in a PR company? Lexicon is always looking for celebrities, brands and products that have a dynamic story to tell. When the client is starting out, Zack takes an appearance in a film, magazine, etc. and builds the small role up in to something big in the public eye. What is the most rewarding part of the job? Seeing a big story in the news about one of Lexicon's clients and knowing it happened because of him. 

Without further ado, here are a few more Q's thrown at Zack. 

Fashionista: Why did you want to get into celebrity PR?

Zack Teperman:
Before I got into public relations here in Los Angeles I was working as a radio host across Canada on various stations such as KISS 92.5, Z103.5, Mix100, and for a little bit at Y100 in Miami, Florida. 

As a radio host I had always been in touch with celebrities who would come on our shows, and whenever the celebs were in town, I would help them get other interviews, take them out and/or get them endorsement deals with various brands in my city. That was my first real taste of personal public relations.

After helping different companies and celebs grow their brands through my connections, I realized my true passion wasn’t entertaining and being on-air, but the public relations side of things and helping to build and shape careers – both in the celebrity and corporate world.

With this new passion in mind, the opportunity came to change careers as I was helping with the Toronto International Film Festival’s gifting suite one year and met Steve Rohr, the owner of Lexicon Public Relations, as his client Martin Sheen was in town for the festival. Steve and I got talking and eventually came up with a strategy to expand his boutique firm both in the United States and Canada.  

A year later, I quit radio in Toronto and moved to sunny Los Angeles where I was hired as Lexicon’s Management Consultant, which grew into a position as their Operations Manager / Senior Account Executive.

F: What’s the worst part of the job?

Z: There really isn't a "worst part", but sometimes we do work crazy hours and pull all-nighters for projects. When normal jobs offer two weeks vacations and such, in PR, there really is no vacations, as the media never stops, and if you stop working for a client they fade away or the momentum you have built for them slows down, which is never very good. But I've gotten used to the 28-hour days and love it now. If you love what you do, working all hours doesn't feel like work -  as cliche as that sounds.

What are the kinds of clients/products you’d pitch to Milwaukee Magazine?

First we'd pitch any clients, such as Chuti Tiu who starred in "The Internship" recently, that grew up in the Milwaukee area; hometown papers and media outlets are always fun "gets" for clients. And then we'd look at lifestyle products and fashion products that either have just launched in the area, or are general enough globally that the particular media outlet would talk about it.

How do you try sell editors/bookers on your clients?

We take a no-BS type of approach, which means we tell editors and writers the facts and try and also give them ideas on angles they can run a story in hopes that one of them works. We like working closely with the media so that they get what they need to make an awesome article and our clients are satisfied with what is being written. 

What is the worst celebrity encounter you’ve had?

Keeping with the name of PR and out of respect for our current and past clients - as trust and confidence is very important in this field - we don't talk about bad experiences, but I can say we have had a few "fun" and "out there" clients. 

Next time you're watching the red carpet, keep a look out for the men in black... one of them might just be Zack Teperman making the celebrity world go 'round.

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