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Allison Kugel

Allison Kugel
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Interview With Allison Kugel By Chris 29/10/07

Allison Kugel runs Allison Dawn PR and also writes articles and does interviews on PR.com. She gave some really great answers and if you want to get into that field of work read on
Allison Dawn PR

1. How did you get into publicity?

I tripped and fell into publicity, lol. I started off as an entrepreneur, importing and exporting various products and publicizing my products on my own, in lieu of using a PR firm. I happened to get great results and I started booking placements in magazines and newspapers and booking segments on broadcast news and talk shows. Eventually I did an interview on a nationally syndicated radio show called Start Up Nation and then Entrepreneur Magazine did a story on me. From there I began getting a lot of requests for business and marketing consulting. At first I would just help people for free, chatting on the phone and emailing people back. It got way out of hand so I decided, “Why not make a business out of it?”

2. Are you happy how things have gone for you so far?

Overall I feel blessed to make money on my own terms with an entity that I created, and on my own time.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face as a publicist?

Many times you are the bad guy because you have to protect your client and in some strange way, many times you have to protect a member of the media in order to maintain that relationship. It can become a series of very hairy phone calls, but ultimately there is a lot of satisfaction in helping someone to achieve their dreams and grow their business.

4. Why did you start your company Allison Dawn PR?

Allison Dawn PR is this cool compilation of all things creative. I created an outlet where I can produce creative work on a regular basis. I produce, direct and style photo shoots, I come up with marketing concepts and graphic design ideas, I write people’s stories and I work with the media. Forming my company gave me what I wanted out of life, professionally speaking.

5. Who has been the hardest client to work with?

Ah! I aint naming names! 🙂 The hardest clients are the ones who don’t allow you to do your job. When someone puts themselves in my hands and sets me free I can really take that ball and run with it. When someone micro manages, they get you tied up in minutia and that’s not good for anyone.

6. Why do you think people are so obsessed with celebrities?

I don’t really know exactly. My best guess would be that people fantasize and rationalize that a famous person lives an airbrushed, glossy life that’s just an endless string of parties, premieres, photo shoots and over the top romances because that’s what the tabloids try to sell us. That’s the bill of goods they want you to buy. It’s not true. We’re all just people trying as best as we can to ride life’s ups and downs and be happy.

7. How do you prepare when doing interviews?

I study, I Google, I research… you can never have too much information. I really learn and begin to appreciate the person’s life and then I will write questions very stream of consciousness as they pop into my head. Sometimes I will pop up in bed at 3am with 5 more questions swimming in my head and I have to go to my office and jot them down. Right before the interview I make a mental note of the flow and content I want for the interview and then I just pray that my intention for the interview comes across to the person I am interviewing. I hope that they can feel my appreciation for their story and that they can feel that my questions are coming from a pure place.

8. What has been the highlight for your company so far?

I love, love, love producing photo shoots! I love the casting, crewing, styling, and directing. I love my little creative teams that I have worked with. My favorite photographers are Ralph Lliteras and Robert Milazzo. My favorite makeup artist is Julie Engleton. My favorite model to direct is a girl named Jessica Hinton. I love my little team of people. Another fun moment was a story I did with adult star Jenna Jameson. Excerpts from our conversation blasted all over the U.S. like a scud missile. That was a good day. I like trouble! Haha. Another favorite moment was a segment I put together for Good Morning America where a deserving couple who were pregnant at the time with triplets won a free baby nursery makeover.

9. Who would you most like to work with?

It’s always easiest to promote what you enjoy. I enjoy anything geared towards children, animals, health and the arts. The environment is a cause I would love to promote as well. I crave substance and I tend to chafe against shallowness and material things.

10. What would be your ultimate goal for the company?

A roster of clients that I would gladly represent for free if I could.

11. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a publicist
and also run their own company?

This advice would apply to anyone, not just someone looking to go into publicity. Follow your creative impulses and inspired thoughts and act on them, and definitely don’t wait for someone else’s permission to do what you want to do.

12. What’s in your stereo at the moment?

Billy Joel, Tupac Shakur, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez’s Spanish music, Kanye West, Poison, Tommy Lee, Enya. My taste is so eclectic.

13. What do enjoying do when not working?

I live a pretty low key life but a very peaceful life. I spend time with my boyfriend and my dog. I love to cook and bake, watch countless DVDs, meditate and spend time with family. I also love road trips. I just got back from traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. Last night I had dinner in Brunswick, Georgia and this afternoon I had lunch in Fayatville, North Carolina. The other day I was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I literally just walked in the door a few hours ago.

14. What has been you greatest triumph/success so far?

My greatest successes have nothing to do with work.

15. How do you chose the people you want to interview?

I choose to interview people who have something to say. it’s not enough to just be famous. If you don’t have something to say it falls flat on me and I’m not interested. I have actually turned down interviews with celebrities because how many times can you ask someone about their TV show? I don’t always have the final say, because sometimes it comes down to web traffic and business, but I am very vocal about pieces I believe in and making them happen. If I am inspired by a book, a film, a piece of music or whatever the case may be, I will literally hunt that person down and ask for an interview and then I try to ask the questions that anyone would love to ask that person if they were given that opportunity.

16. What inspires you to write the articles you do?

I am obsessed with people’s life stories! Even as a child, I would read a lot of biographies as opposed to novels or storybooks. I think that every one of us has a story and we can all learn from one another through sharing.

17. Is there anything you would like to write an article on but afraid to do so?

I’m not afraid, my editor is! lol. I had to push to write a story on holistic treatments for cancer, on the struggles of raising girls to have high self esteem in a male dominated world, on ills of animal products. I beg and kick and scream and try to push things though that I believe in, because at the end of the day, that’s why I write. I can be pretty convincing and I was able to get the powers that be to allow me to post a compilation of my poetry on PR.com. It was posted and then yanked down a week later when some people took offense to them.

18. What do you do when an interview doesn’t go the way you planned it to?

Well you do your research and you have your list of questions, but that is the fall back. If you have to go by the questions, it’s a bad interview. You hope that the conversation takes on a life of its own and you just go on each other’s energy. Sometimes you get someone who is very guarded, or they have a set agenda and when you try to appeal to their humanity that get flustered and freeze up. Sometimes, like in life, there just isn’t that spark of chemistry. You try to make jokes and come at it from different angles to loosen the person up and…nothing! It’s like, “Hey…is this thing on?!” Haha. Luckily I have had many more great experiences then bad ones, and in many of my interviews me and the other person have made magic together.

19. What do you try and focus on when writing articles?

I focus on my readership and I focus on my three magic words, which are to entertain, educate and inspire. Those are three things I strive for with every article. As far as I am concerned the work isn’t done if it doesn’t mesh with those three words.

20. What are your thoughts on celebrity gossip websites who try to force
gay people to come out?

I don’t really have any thoughts on that and I don’t understand the whole “coming out” thing. Just be what you are. No need to advertise your sexuality, whether you are straight or gay, just live your life. And the whole outing people thing is ridiculous. It’s none of anyone’s business and it serves no purpose except to make life hard for someone who isn’t ready to make that public.

21. Have you ever regretted doing an interview and going, “I wish I hadn’t done that?”

No way! I can honestly say I love my entire body of work. Each interview is like a child. You love something different about each of them. Even interviews where the other person and I didn’t get along, the finished product is still an interesting read. When I interviewed Gene Simmons from KISS, I didn’t like him and I’m pretty sure he didn’t like me either. We didn’t get along. He kept trying to push my buttons by trying to dehumanize women and just being arrogant. I detest arrogance! So I really didn’t enjoy the editing process and when it was complete I was happy to be done with it. Then I got these phone calls from people saying it was a great read. So there you go.

22. What kind of interview would you most like to do?

I love talking to people in the arts but I would really like to start interviewing some politicians and activists and people who just have their nose to the grindstone and are doing noble things to better our world.

23. How did you get involved with PR.com?

I have known Jason, the owner of PR.com, for five years now. When we first met he casually mentioned that he invested in Internet domain names and that he had recently acquired the name “PR.com” and was just kind of sitting on it, and I was like, “Are you nuts?! You need to do something with that name!” I can be very pushy when I get inspired :). I kept bugging him and finally he sat down and came up with the concept of an all inclusive promotional website that could be multi media with company profiles, press release distribution, product listings and articles. I was there every step of the way. A staff was hired and everything came together. He knew I was a writer and he had read some of my published work, and he asked me to come on board to write. I had all of these ideas and he said, “Go for it!” I was really given free reign to develop the articles section as I saw fit. It was an amazing gift. We were two forces that were meant to come together. I opened doors for him and he opened doors for me.

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