Since I was an intern running the streets of Manhattan to fetch coffee, I’ve always dreamed of traveling for work. To be honest I didn’t know when I would get the opportunity being that I am only 2 years out of college and still considered at a junior level.
A few months back, I was asked by my supervisor to spearhead an influencer program for our client Air New Zealand’s newest video premiere “Safety in Hollywood.” The goal was to solidify 2-3 travel influencers to attend the safety video premiere and share over social channels. At the end at the week our team was able to successfully RSVP 8 influencers to attend the event. The client was very pleased with the outcome and sent us all down to Los Angeles to cover the premiere.
Leading up to the Safety in Hollywood Premiere:
Up at 4am to head to the Oakland International Airport to catch a flight to Los Angeles International Airport at 6am, did not feel like a dream at all. I couldn’t get any sleep the night before because of my excitement so I just pulled an all-nighter. Wrong decision. We arrived at LAX at 7am. Although my supervisor and I were exhausted we were equally enthusiastic about the long day ahead. As we were walking through the airport, I spotted the famous LAX's mosaic-backed moving walkway that was in my favorite movie, Jackie Brown! How could I not have my boss take a Boomerang of me walking? It was the perfect moment.
After we gathered ourselves and got some coffee, we made our way through the LA traffic to our office in West Hollywood. I don’t know what it is about LA but I definitely felt super posh and chic even though I was running off little to no sleep and my weave was sweating out a bit. When we finally get to the LA office at 9AM, I noticed the drastic difference from our SF office.
- Air Conditioned
- Organic Snacks
- All WHITE EVERYTHING -- including chairs and carpets
- Breathtaking view of Beverly Hills & The Hollywood Sign
Um, excuse me? As a girl from East Oakland, I am still amazed at how I am put in these situations of luxury.
As we settled in the office, we start handling business per usual. Writing copy for TIDAL, cranking on editorial calendars for Taylor Morrison and liaising with social influencers in time for the premiere. At 4pm we were whisked off to the airline themed Now Boarding lounge to start setting up for the event at 7pm. We were tasked with assembling gift bags, confirming social strategy for live tweeting, developing talking points for influencer Jon Gabrus (from Guy Code) for red carpet interviews and take pictures of the venue to post on Air New Zealand’s social channels. Here I was thinking that I would just be kiking with the social influencers that I invited over wine. WRONG.
Game time: Time for the Premiere
It was 7pm on the dot and guests began rolling into the door. I was nervous. My Chief Social Strategist flew into LA from Washington D.C. for this event and would be outside on the red carpet with me. I knew she would be watching so I had to execute. I once read that when you are in corporate you are never out of the game unless you absolutely want to be, you always have to be “on” and prove yourself. This was my chance to show my superiors that I belonged to be there. So what did I do? I went to #werque. I started talking to myself, (in my head) of course. It went a little something like this.
Dom: First step...familiarize yourself with Jon Gabrus. You will be interacting all night and you need to show him that you are confident with giving him direction and social strategy. He is looking to you for direction so don’t show doubt or weakness.
Dom: Second step...Greet all the social influencers that you invited nicely. Make them feel like they are a VIP and comfortable.
Dom: Third step... Don’t mess this up. One solution to not messing up is to breathe and acknowledge that you are anxious. Just don’t let the fact that you are anxious take over your ability to make the right decisions.
After hours on the red carpet my Chief Social Strategist was pleased with the way things were going and decided to go inside and unwind. I was allowed to go into the event at 9pm, which was the tail end. I was drained but had to capture additional content plus schmooze with guests.10:00pm hit and my supervisor and I were literally in a corner in the closet stuffing hors d'oeuvres down our throats. We hadn’t eaten since lunch...which was at 12:30pm.
As much as we wanted to crash at our hotel after the event ended, our Chief Social Strategist had something different in mind. She was in the mood to celebrate and decided that we were going to Ysabel, this swanky restaurant in the middle of WeHo. Apprehensive, because we were clearly tired, we all came to the consensus that we needed a decent meal and plus it would be on the company so why the hell not? When we arrive at Ysabel, we are shocked by how fancy it is! All white decor, inside and outside seating, string lights, black marble, and lots and lots of affluent people literally dripping with all types of jewels.
I felt out of place because of obvious reasons but I said fack it. I deserve to be here just like anyone else and I worked my ass off today. As 11pm was quickly approaching I realized we had worked at 22-hour day and out drinking rose like water. I actually thought I was dreaming for a moment.
Finally, the dinner was over and we made it to our hotel rooms. I didn’t know then that tomorrow I would be working a 12-hour day finishing up projects that I wasn’t able to get to because of the event, but I didn’t care. I was just happy that I accomplished my goal. My first work trip was nothing short of intense hard work but ultimately super rewarding.
See below for pictures and lists of restaurants I visited to get #travelinspo for your next Los Angeles pleasure/business trip!
Ysabel—The moment when your Chief Social Strategist orders 3 bottles of Rose for the table without hesitation.