All Articles Tagged "talent"
Chantelle Fraser’s life is anything but average. Her free spirit and business savvy have taken her from studying at the London School of Economics, to serving celebrities at private members’ clubs, to jet setting around the globe with high fashion models in tow.
As the CEO and founder of Flawless Entertainment & Promotions, Fraser gives major brands and influential individuals access to the power of beauty and entertainment to take their events to the next level. I caught up with the UK-born entrepreneur to discuss her organic journey to success.
Flawless was born when Fraser realized the models at the agencies she worked for needed help making ends meet between jobs. The company has since expanded to represent musical and specialty talent. As her business continues to grow, it’s amazing to think that it all started with a young woman making cold calls from her bedroom.
We started our conversation at the beginning of her professional life. After running an IT recruitment business while studying for her master’s degree, Chantelle set her sights on the entertainment industry.
Madame Noire (MN): When did you move to the US?
Chantelle Fraser (CF): The way I got to the States is an interesting story. After I finished my master’s, I started working at a private members’ club as a waitress part-time. I was working for Ronnie Wood [of the Rolling Stones]. It was great networking with lots of celebrities and interesting people. I met somebody who turned out to own a retail empire in England who went to the London School of Economics. He said to me, “Give me your resume. I’ve got contacts in the entertainment industry; I’ll try to help you.” It turned out he was moving to the States to conduct some business. He gave me a job as his personal assistant in the States.
MN: What were you doing before you started Flawless?
CF: After that [assistant] job ended, I got a job working at a modeling agency. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but I thought the way to do it was to start small. I could have taken the corporate route, but realistically I’m not going to go work in a bank. So, I thought what kind of business am I realistically going to be able to run myself. I worked at agencies for about three years before launching my company [in 2006].
MN: What was the catalyst that made you start your business when you did?
CF: I initially thought I was going to end up owning just a regular, high fashion agency. But, I kept getting these calls from clients who wanted to book models for promotions and events. I always had to turn those jobs down because we were managing these models’ careers. In those days it wasn’t seen as good for their careers to be doing events. We’re turning these really well paying jobs down, but I’d listen to models and they’d be struggling so much because they’d be doing all these editorials that weren’t really paying a living wage. I’d see them out when I go to restaurants and they’d be hosting and waitressing.
I thought why don’t I just start a business where clients get to fulfill their needs: they have beautiful people at their events, promoting their product, making them look good, and elevating their brand image. And also I’m providing the models with extra income and a means to showcase their other skills, other than just standing there pouting for the camera.
MN: You’ve talked about the needs Flawless meets for clients and models, what need does it fill for you?
CF: I always wanted to be the architect of my own destiny. I’m a free spirit. I always believe in being unreasonable. I wanted to do something dynamic. Flawless was a way for me to live my dream. It was the perfect type of company that encompasses all the things that I love… meeting people, inspiring other people, managing people. I love casting models, making people happy, and growing something. It’s really fun to actually grow a business from a seed to making your visions come to life.
MN: Tell me about that first year operating out of your bedroom. What mistakes did you make and how did you learn from them?
CF: I was living in the moment. When I look back on it I think, “Oh my God, that’s so crazy!” The first month I started my business I didn’t have money to pay the rent. I had a roommate, it was a rent-controlled apartment, and I was like, “Damn, have I made a mistake?” But, for some reason I just didn’t have fear.
I was calling major brands – Playboy, Estee Lauder, high-net-worth individuals – telling them about my company. I didn’t have a website. I didn’t have anything. All I had was my voice, my charm, and my models, which I think were always of a very high standard. I was able to get business, and clients kept referring me to other clients. Eventually I grew myself out of my bedroom and into an office. One summer’s day, sitting there, I was lonely and said, “I think I’m going to get an office.” I think it was in the first six months I had an office in SoHo with a steady stream of clients and a couple of employees.
Okay, so maybe we’re not looking at the following ladies and swooning, but there’s just something about their big hearts, mad swag and beauty we can’t help but adore (*turns on Prince’s “Adore” to set the mood*). Whether they’re out there saving the world or saving our broken hearts, or better yet, inspiring us with their creativity and talent, we get all boy band giddy when they come on TV or on our computer screens. You go girls!
You know somebody is big when you ask another person the following about them, and you get this response:
Me: “Have you ever heard of Awkward Black Girl? It’s by this woman named Issa Rae?”
Friend Who Never Knows What I’m Talking About: “YES! My sister put me on to that! I’m addicted!”
At the beginning of 2011, I had no idea who or what an Issa Rae was, but by the end of the year, like most women, I was trying to spread the word about the director, writer and editor and her phenomenal web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl to everybody I knew. Whether it was through this blog or straight up word of mouth, I was low-key canvassing. The accomplished Stanford grad did the impossible: she made being the awkward black girl cool (and did so with an awesome haircut!). No lie, she’s kind of like a big deal…
by R. Asmerom
When asked what makes a woman successful in the entertainment industry, there are certain common responses that come to mind: talent, beauty, marketing, etc. We’re taught to believe that one’s chances at stardom are pre-determined by a mix of genetic traits and luck. Then, there is the truth, which, in this case, has been delivered in the form of Adele. For many young women, Adele represents an anti-thesis of the status quo. After all, although pop stars like Beyonce are talented, they do resort much to using their bodies and sex appeal to promote sales.
Adele has proven that talent, at its core, is what matters. At last check of the Billboard charts, Adele’s sophomore album “21″ was ranked number 1, almost a year after its release. Her first album “19″ is ranked at number 13, over two years after its release. She’s by far outsold Beyonce, Rihanna and every other artist in the pop game. Her videos don’t show skin, her marketing campaign doesn’t involve scandalous photos, her lyrics are not sexually driven, her physical appearance doesn’t compliment the status quo, but she’s managed to rely on her voice and music alone to reach a very wide fan base. “Adele has definitely shown the music industry that all the sex appeal in the world, is no match for pure, and unbelievably powerful vocal and songwriting talent,” said Willis Sprayberry, an Atlanta-based sound engineer and producer who has worked with the likes of Ludacris, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Akon, and Nelly.
The 23-year-old singer may have only sought out to share her artistry in the music world but her success alone has highlighted a key lesson concerning the economics of talent and that is: creme rises to the top. It is a critical rule that has often been forgotten in an industry that uniformly communicates an emphasis of appearance.
“With advancements in recording technology, it has become increasingly easier to put out great sounding records, with a pretty face on the cover, even if the talent is not quite there,” said Sprayberry. “This “smoke and mirrors” effect has shifted our focus away from the actual talent of an artist, to who looks great in a bikini. Adele has shown us that at the end of the day, talent wins.” Fortunately, for the new generation of artists and non-artists alike, Adele has demystified the recipe for fame and fortune, reminding us all that it comes down to one’s core.
To believe that superficial standards rule in Hollywood is to take an easy way out. It’s a belief that actually benefits most people in America who believe that just by investing in designer clothes and investing in fake boobs, they can be the next Brittney Spears or Amber Rose. Anyone can lose weight and fake the part of starlet, but only talent and hard work carries one to the finish line.
If you haven’t seen our story “9 Artists Who Should Have Blown Up…But Didn’t,” you’re missing out on a great list of super talented people who deserve more success. But obviously, by the title above, today’s list is more dedicated to the people whose talents are a bit on the questionable side, but whose success is a bit more than they probably should be getting. While all of these people have had a few songs that had us wopping out in the club, I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen people on the train who can sing and perform better for a dollar. But to each their own.
I’m not going to lie, this chick had a few bangers that I was bouncing my head to in the car (“Rain on Me,” “Baby”), but still, we all know her voice was a bit too paper thin. However, when homegirl first dropped, her album was #1 on the Billboard 200, going triple platinum selling six million copies (that’s huge by today’s industry sales), she was awarded the Soul Train Aretha Franklin “Entertainer of the Year” award in 2002, and won a Grammy for her self-titled album. But still…I mean, if the video for “Happy” doesn’t justify why she was highly overrated, I just don’t know what would.
What does it really take to make it in the music business? A few hit songs? A banging body you’re willing to show off? You would hope that the only requirement would be that an individual be talented, but there are so many people on the top of the charts proving us wrong. There have been many super talented and entertaining musicians that should have the status and household name notoriety that dudes like LMFAO (“Party Rock Anthem”) have right now, but they don’t. It’s an injustice! Wondering who? Check out our list of people who are known but not the big superstars they should be, and feel our pain as we talk about why these talented folks never blew up like they should have.
After a co-worker shared the throwback video with me for her jam “4Ever,” I was inspired to write this story. I haven’t seen Lil’ Mo in a while (she was one of the many “Lil’”s of the new millenium), but when she first came out, singing on tracks for Missy and teaming up with Fabolous to rep for the “Superwoman” we ladies can be, she was awesome. That’s why I was surprised she didn’t blow. Maybe it was because of all the tattoos, or the fact that she wasn’t trying to shake her a** for cash like others, but alas, she’s nowhere near where she should be in her career.
Anyone that knows anything about Bad Boy Records knows that to say the name “Bad Boy” is to say it with a small (okay, maybe big) sense of disappointment. So many acts with so much talent have floundered under the recording label that was founded and is headed up by CEO Diddy. For the past few years, it seems that to be signed to Bad Boy Records is to be here one day, singing and dancing and smiling for the cameras (reality TV cameras too) and then find yourself in a pit of obscurity, back on your mother’s couch the next.
In an interview with DJ Whoo Kid recently, Diddy said a lot of the criticism of his label is just straight up hate:
“Over the last couple of years, there’s been a strong propaganda movement that’s been brewing in the negative sense against Bad Boy, against what it is to sign to the Bad Boy label, if it’s a detriment to your career,” Diddy said. “Just hate. Just regular hate and also a lot of people not understanding how this industry works. … This is not a PG-rated industry. If you’re weak, you’ll be eaten alive.”
Hey, I might be hater by his standards, but when you have to reassemble your entire roster every two years, do reality TV shows to find talent that you squander, and spend more time promoting your own musical efforts than that of your artists, it’s safe to say your formula isn’t working. With that, and Diddy’s recent proclamation that people with two eyes that can see a catastrophe are haters, check out our list of Bad Boy artists who could have done really big or bigger things…if they hadn’t or weren’t signed to Bad Boy.
(Fast Company) — The surest way to thwart a fast-growing company is to let the wrong employees on the bus, as Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, would say. During Method’s explosive growth years, we would hear things like “I just need a warm body to fill the seat” — code for “We are about to compromise the talent level.” No matter how you may rationalize it at the time, simply finding a warm body to fill the seat is never okay. We often talk about “kicking A$$ at fast,” but when it comes to hiring, we like to take things slow, by adding a number of speed bumps to the process that give us a chance to assess the applicant on a number of levels. Prospective employees may get all the way to the end of the process, but if no one stands out, we’ll start the selection process all over again with a new group. At Method, we think of an interview as an audition, to borrow from other fields such as the performing arts or sports that are purely talent based. For us, this takes place in three stages: cross-functional interviewing, the homework assignment, and on-boarding, where we place candidates with the people they’ll actually work with.
(Inc) — Employees are valuable. So are referrals. That was the thought behind Meebo’s decision to offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who referred qualified potential employees to the company that launched in 2005. The only stipulation? People would only get paid if the candidates got hired.
(AOL Black Voices) — These savvy businesswomen went from wiping bottoms to handling to bottom lines in their kids’ careers. Which mommy managers are the best in the entertainment biz? Read on for Black Voices’ list of the Top 10 Momagers Making Moves.
(Fast Company) — The business world is obsessed with “talent” — hiring it, retaining it, rewarding it. We’re urged to “get the right people on the bus.” (And, really, what better symbol of the high-performing enterprise than a bus?) The metaphor implies that good workers are portable units of competence. They can bring their talent to your bus or your competitor’s bus, but ultimately, it’s their prize to bestow.