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Meet Pamela Valdez – She’s Pretty, Prepared and On the Pages of The Wall Street Journal

Meet Pamela Valdez – She’s Pretty, Prepared and On the Pages of The Wall Street Journal

Welcome to The Director’s Cut, an interactive column featuring fashion, beauty and career advice from RGNN Director and Founder, @isabelevabohrer.

Pamela Valdez is one of those rare influencers who says “no gatekeeping” and actually means it. Only a junior at FIT, majoring in Fashion Business Management, Pamela has over 30,000 followers on TikTok (@pamelamvaldez) – many of whom watch her videos not only for her fashion and beauty content, but more so for her advice on how to get started as a content creator, how to get paid collabs, what NOT to do when working with brands, and more.

Her transparency in the content creator space has led her to working with 100+ brands, including Giorgio Armani, Prada Beauty, Valentino Beauty, Maison Margiela, Hallmark, Tommy Hilfiger, Amazon, Victoria’s Secret PINK and more. Her most recent cool achievement – she got featured in The Wall Street Journal Magazine‘s style section wearing that fluffy Versed headband she made a viral video about.

Pamela Valdez on the cover of The Wall Street Journal Magazine style section | Photo credit: Pamela Valdez

You might wonder how Pamela makes time for everything in 24 hours a day (don’t worry, she has a video on that, too!), because she creates content for TikTok, Instagram, YouTube in addition to her blog, Glamour and Guide and Valdez Agency, a one-stop destination for internship opportunities, creator and networking tips. PLUS, she just launched a podcast, Pretty and Prepared (well worth a listen if you want to get started as a content creator!).

In an exclusive interview, Pamela takes us way back to the beginning, how she got started and her exact tips on how you can follow in her footsteps, too. This is one of the most detailed interviews I’ve done in a long time, so grab a cup of coffee and start taking notes.

Isabel Eva Bohrer: For those who do not (yet!) follow you, how did you get started as a content creator?

Pamela Valdez: I got started as a content creator back in June 2020 right when I graduated high school. I first started on Instagram by posting in feed photos and reaching out to brands through DMs and through emails. In March 2021, I started posting on TikTok as it was getting more popular, and my videos were first about fashion and styling. After I started working with more brands and gained some credibility, I started sharing advice on how I email and message brands and my first video that went viral was how to become an affiliate with Pretty Little Thing. Ever since then, my content has been based around fashion with a mix of social media tips and lifestyle.

What three tips do you have for students who are longing to become content creators, but can’t seem to get started?

Three tips for students who want to become content creators, but can’t get started are:

  • Reach out to any brand even if you think they’re going to say yes or no. You would really be surprised at how many brands are willing to say yes to content creators, even if they are small.
  • My second tip is to take yourself seriously from the very first day that you want to make content. If you don’t take yourself seriously, nobody else will and this can be as little as buying a tripod off of Amazon, or a ring light.
  • My last step is to sign up for influencer platforms and agencies because many times brands that you love work with agencies to help them put together campaigns and these platforms can help be that bridge to connecting you with brands you have always wanted to work with.
Pamela Valdez shooting a campaign for Prada Beauty | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

To give aspiring students an idea, in your opinion, how much content/how many followers/how much engagement should they aim to have before they can start landing paid collabs? How much can they expect to make as small creators?

You don’t need to have a specific amount of followers in order to start getting paid because my first brand deal was the $20 for an in feed Instagram post and I had around 1200 followers. I have seen other creators on social media and collaborations, whether they were gifted or paid, with little to no followers, so brands really are willing to work with anyone as long as your content shows that you’re passionate about what you do.

– Pamela Valdez

Of course you can benefit and make more money as you gain an audience over time, but having [fewer] followers should never be a discouragement if you do want to start working with brands and make money!

Pamela Valdez shooting a campaign for Giorgio Armani Beauty | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

Are brands still paying for blog posts (e.g. on your Glamour & Guide blog) or is it all videos now?

When I was starting out as a creator back in 2020, brands were not willing to expand their budget as much as they do now, which is a huge benefit for anyone looking to get started. Although my first campaign was $20, I have friends who have made over $75-$100 from their first campaign. As of last year, I have not received any paid campaigns for my blog just because a lot of brands are really focused on video content right now, but in the past I have received paid compensation in exchange for a blog post talking about a brand. Even though I don’t make money from [my blog] Glamour and Guide, I absolutely love writing because it is a creative outlet for me!

Pamela Valdez, shooting a campaign for Home Depot | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

Can you tell us a little bit about the behind-the-scenes of shooting content for a brand? Are you free to propose ideas and shoot what you want?

Absolutely! Shooting for campaigns is one of my favorite things to do because my sister is behind the scenes with me and she makes the entire process so fun that it doesn’t even feel like work. When it comes to shooting content for a brand partnership, some brands can be stricter than others and some companies let you have more creative freedom. When brands are stricter or have a certain vision, they have a list of dos and don’ts that they want you to follow as well as a creative brief. Some brands also have kick off calls and meetings for influencers to join so that the coordinator and the influencer can meet to go over the brief and answer any questions on the spot that they might have about the campaign. Many brands that I have worked with in the past have not been super strict which is great because there’s a lot more room for your vision to be in!

How many times can a brand ask you to reshoot something? Is there anything students should be aware of when signing brand contracts?

Before shooting content, there is usually a contract that states how many times you can re-shoot something before there could be more money involved. Contracts will always have a set rate of how much you are getting paid for the content, as well as if the brand wants exclusivity, or to run your content in ads and whitelisting. Something to look out for when signing contracts is how long brands want to use your content or keep it for!

Pamela Valdez at the Claudia Li show at New York Fashion Week | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

New York Fashion Week… what are your tips for attending as a college student?

Some of my favorite tips for attending New York fashion week as a college student is to take advantage of LinkedIn and use the contact section of websites of brands that you like. For example, if you go on LinkedIn and you type in public relations, coordinator or influencer relations coordinator, you can find a lot of people who work for big brands that are going to be at New York Fashion Week.

– Pamela Valdez

The CFDA website also has a calendar that usually comes out a few weeks before Fashion Week so that you can see exactly what shows are going to be showcased. With this information of the shows, you can take that over to LinkedIn and find the people that work for these companies.

It is definitely a lot of work but if you are not going to be invited directly from the brand, then that’s one way to attend. Some colleges also offer Fashion Week volunteer work so if your university offers that I would definitely look into that as well because that’s another way to get behind the scenes of shows. For the past three seasons, I have gone through hours of emailing and messaging people just to have the opportunity to go and it is so worth it.

What are some not-so-glam parts about fashion week that students should know about?

Some of the not so glamorous parts about Fashion Week that students should know about is that it’s a very go go go week. There are so many events and shows going on at the same time that it can be almost overwhelming. This year in February 2023, I chose to sit out from Fashion Week and I did not go to anything I was invited to, or reach out to any brands because in September 2022 fashion week, it became very overwhelming and expensive and as a college student having all of that on top of school work is stressful. Online, fashion week can seem like a very fun and exciting week, which it is, but at the same time, it requires a lot of constant being on the go, Ubers, and finding people to dress you, or you having to pay for new outfits for everything that you’re going to be doing. One tip that I would say is to not let social media dictate your life and don’t feel bad that you’re gonna sit out at an event because you’re overwhelmed!

Pamela Valdez shooting a Kate Spade campaign | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

Emailing brands, using LinkedIn, connecting with PR contacts…you have many videos on this, what are five essential tips students should follow?

Editor’s Note: Some of Pamela’s most useful videos on this topic include:

  1. When it comes to writing emails, no matter who it is going to be sent to, the simpler the better. This means don’t include your entire life story and fluff up an email with info that doesn’t need to be there. This is something I learned the hard way because I used to include so much fluff within my emails and a lot of people will not give you the time of day if they see three or four huge paragraphs in an email.
  2. Have an email signature at the bottom of your email because this can make it look a lot more professional. You can buy a signature off of Etsy or you can make one for free on Canva and this has really stepped up the look of my emails.
  3. When pitching yourself to brands, always include previous content that you have made for other brands and hyperlink it. I recommend doing this because it allows whoever is reading the email to click whatever you link and they can check out your content and see if you’re a good fit to work with them.
  4. When connecting on LinkedIn with PR contacts, focus on making a connection with them and not just trying to use them. A lot of these PR people get hundreds, probably thousands of emails a day so if you can say something to stand out and not just be asking for free products they will remember you that way and possibly, you can stand out among everyone else.
  5. Use LinkedIn as if it were Instagram. You would be surprised at how many people can reach out to you through LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a feature where you can attach media to your profile such as your media kit or your resume. Take advantage of this by adding your portfolio, or anything that whoever is browsing through a profile can look and see. Because of LinkedIn, I’ve been able to not only connect with amazing people within the fashion industry and my school, but I’ve also landed a four figure brand deal by someone reaching out to me through LinkedIn messaging.
“LinkedIn – use it as if it were Instagram,” says Pamela | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

You have positioned yourself as a creator posting about transparency within the influencer/content creator industry.

Some things people may not know about the creator industry is that it is very small, and everyone is all connected to each other! There are so many contacts that I know in New York, that all work for different brands and all happen to know each other as well so that’s a great way for your name to be referenced around to different companies or brands that you want to work with! Other creator friends that you may know can also give your name out to companies that are looking to work with new people and this has happened to me and because of this it’s opened up so many doors.

Companies don’t pay you as soon as you post content online. This is something that I never knew but a lot of brands do net 30,60, etc. and this basically means you don’t get paid until 30 or 60 days after a campaign is wrapped up. For example, I did a campaign back in February and I have still not gotten the payment and it’s the end of March because we were on a net 60 agreement.

What are some things that people don’t know (and should!) about the industry?

Putting yourself out there instead of waiting for brands to reach out to you is something that a lot of creators may not take advantage of or know. I’ve received a lot of messages in the past where creators have told me that brands never reach out to them or never want to work with them, but in turn, you should also be pitching yourself every day and reaching out to companies to keep putting your name out there. I did this for the first year that I started on social media and it has really helped me get to where I am today.

Pamela Valdez’s content for NARS campaign | Photo credit: Gianna Valdez

Without hard work in the beginning and having a “why” for why you’re doing what you’re doing, it can be hard to keep going, but just trust yourself.

– Pamela Valdez

If you are a creator that is posting about brand transparency online, one thing I would say is to be private about specific things that you share, such as connections and people in the industry. I have had instances in the past where there was content that I made that was very direct and this can put the other person at risk so don’t give out emails in videos, and be very careful of the information that you share.

What are your goals as a content creator in the future? What about Valdez agency?

My goals as a creator in the future is to continue to share my life with my audience and strengthen my relationship with them! I absolutely love every single one of my followers and the messages that I received from them are so sweet and really make me grateful for everything that I do! I would love to eventually grow my blog on my agency to be really big and having an office space or turning it into a company would be so amazing.

Follow Pamela on Tiktok and Instagram. Read her blog Glamour and Guide and follow her Agency, Valdez Agency. She also has an Etsy shop. Listen to her Podcast, Pretty and Prepared, here.

Questions or comments? Follow me on IG @isabelevabohrer or TikTok and say hi! See you soon!

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