“At the top of most PR or advertising industries, you have men as CEOs. But who does all the work? Who produces all the honey? It’s produced by bees and the bees are mostly women.”
Aurora Weiss is bold, focused and a go-getter in her field. As a columnist and founder of her own PR agency “Blazing Star” she dignifies what it is to be a PR consultant in our fast-paced modern society and shows us it’s possible to make a name for yourself based on skills and the drive to succeed. Aurora isn’t afraid to tell the truth. This is shown in our interview, as she reveals what it’s like to work independently in the area of creative communications and how empowering taking charge can be.
B: How did you get about starting your career in PR? Is your educational background related to PR?
A: Actually I started my career as a journalist when I was thirteen years old. I was very ambitious with my exploring and interviewing everyone around me. What I did was I created our (middle) school’s first radio station, which was, at that moment, very surprising. Through that, I worked as a radio host at our city’s radio. That was challenging...to produce a one-hour radio program with thirteen years. And at the age of fifteen I was writing for a few magazines and interviewed representatives of NGOs. This is how I started my career in journalism and that slowly flowed into the area of public relations.
B: What is your current work position and what did you do before that?
A: I now have my own PR agency called Blazing Star communications and I also write for different magazines in Holland. Our team works with South-Eastern European countries and aims to re-connect them through cultural topics. Through my PR work before that, I became the first female spokesperson of our city’s mayor, and I was also the youngest to ever take on this position in Zagreb. I was used to working in fashion and beauty, so that was my first introduction to politics. Managing his political campaign back then completely changed my life in communications and the diplomacy I did then played a key role for where I am working now.
B: Is there a reason you wanted to become more independent in your profession?
A: Working for communication agencies made me I realize I just couldn’t see things from a singular point of view as they did. Those who work in political communications, for example, wouldn’t have the same point of view as I did. I see things from a holistic and biodynamic perspective, that means the environment also has an impact. I see things through a bigger picture so working with people who don’t focus on details was my biggest challenge.
I saw things differently than the organizations did and it felt like I just didn’t fit anymore.
B: There are common misconceptions between PR and Advertising. How would you explain the difference to someone?
A: Sometimes that is challenging to explain. I define advertising as a one-night stand and PR as making love. Pardon my french, but to me, advertising is fast sex. It’s pushy and nobody accepts it as real. But PR is a sophisticated representation of your personality and it sends a message to the public in a less aggressive way. The image you build through PR is longer and also longlasting. Also, one of the most challenging things for me to learn was how to communicate bad news or not so appealing information in a very diplomatic way.
B: Many people believe that PR professionals often deceive and twist the truth to succeed. How much truth is there in that statement?
A: You hit the nail there. If we were to compare how often the truth isn’t told in PR and advertising, it would be the same amount. But I would say PR has a more sophisticated way of presenting a lie. I don’t use this method of representation because it doesn’t sustain. I firstly want to know the client before representing them.
B: As a PR agency you’re centered on pleasing clients. Would you say that aspect of your job limits you in any way?
A: To me it’s first of all important to realize who my client is. The people are not the project, so what I try to do is recognize who I’m working with and if they can stand behind the content they are putting out. I believe if you’re a vegetarian trying to sell meat products to the public that project will fail before it even begins. Firstly I realize who my clients are, then I reshape their identity to see how they will fit with the project in order to be represented to the public. You can sell everything, but it’s important for me that the people know who they are and what their brand is.
B: What do you think are some key qualities every person in PR should have? Do these qualities change if you’re a woman in the industry?
A: They should be able to communicate, communicate and communicate more. They should build connections with people, which goes with being social and very open. They need to be fast in perceiving the environment they’re in and they need to be educated on how to maneuver a new situation. Boldness and balance are qualities you need to have in PR.
B: That means in one way or another you follow a code of ethics and rules to achieve your goal.
What would be a code that you follow to put together a great and comfortable outfit?
A: I think in the PR world you should always be dressed for the occasion. My advice would be to dress in whatever you’re comfortable in and adjust it to your surroundings. My favorites are black trousers, an elegant blouse, and black high heels. A classic look that works for every occasion.