Alumna Hannah’s drive and personality have led to a stellar career working with some of the biggest names in showbusiness.
It all started when I took a part-time job in the Students’ Union bar to supplement my American Studies degree. I quickly started working for the Entertainments department there, organising Student’s Union events, liaising with a lot of London-based promoters and agents, booking DJs, singers and comedians. I found that networking was quite a natural part of my personality and the agents would offer to introduce me to contacts or offer me work experience.
I ended up getting an internship with the record label XL Recordings who work with artists like Adele, Radiohead and the White Stripes.
I also worked with Wise Buddha who represent artists like Greg James, Scott Mills and Katherine Jenkins. I then submitted my CV to Sony Music. I went through three interviews and only then found out the role offered was as one of Simon Cowell’s PAs! I joined as the most junior member of the team and hit the ground running; it was hard work, a whirlwind, but I really enjoyed it.
Being part of that world is pretty much as you would imagine it - a bit like working in the film “The Devil Wears Prada” except Simon Cowell is much more charming and nice to work with. The industry is cut-throat, very demanding, and you need to make sure you deliver what is expected in the job. It was very glamourous, with lots of parties and international travel. I even lived in LA for six months. I am very grateful for all the things I saw; witnessing how the world’s wealthy and famous live.
I worked with Simon as an assistant for two years and I got to see lots of different sides of the business. It was PR that attracted me, and I decided I wanted to move in that direction. Simon was gracious enough to allow me to move across to the PR team where I became a PR assistant for his company SYCO and after seven years at the company I worked my way up to Media Director. When I felt I had achieved everything I could in that role, I decided to step out and create my own media business, Finery Media.
Every day at Finery Media is different, you need to be a bit of a chameleon and adapt to whatever is needed of you. It’s very creative and I can choose my clients based on who I have a connection with. I’m very lucky that I get to work with so many lovely people.
I would advise anyone who wants to work in this area to be open to opportunities. The advice I would also give is to set sensible goals. Give yourself time to learn on the job and adjust as you go along and be open to asking for help. Over the past two years people have been so willing to introduce me to people or put me on the right path. Don’t be an island, people want to see you succeed, and when you’re at university, be proactive – the University is a huge business with lots of employees, and there is so much you can learn from talking to people.
I count myself lucky to work with the people I do. For example, I am Kem Cetinay’s publicist. He was the winner of Love Island in 2017 and alongside his management team we look after everything he does. I also work with Jordyn Woods, an American social media star; the Little Mix girls and Georgia Toffolo who won I’m a Celebrity a few years ago. But the most famous person I’ve got as a phone contact? It’s got to be Simon Cowell. Yes, Simon is the most famous.