In January 2010, Amanda K. Ruisi launched AKR Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency, specializing in celebrity brands, entertainment, and lifestyle. AKR PR also focuses on building brands, media relations, talent relations, special events, and product integration. Prior to starting AKR PR, Ruisi served as NBC Universal's Senior Press Manager in the East Coast Entertainment Publicity department, handling not only Publicity but Talent Relations for the network as well.
The first show she launched was Mark Burnett's and Donald Trump's "The Apprentice." Even in that first concept meeting she knew that television would be changing forever and reality would be playing a much bigger part and she has been on the front end of this change ever since.
Not only has Ruisi been on the cusp of reality television, she is also leading the way in social media and has developed AKR PR into one of the top firms specializing in celebrity organic photo opportunities and social media endorsements.
Whether it be a Fortune 500 company, personal branding, or the biggest reality stars, Ruisi knows how to get a brand "on the A-List," and most importantly keep it there.
Amanda will be making her debut on "The Pauly D Project" on May 3rd in an episode that hits very close to home for her.
In this episode Amanda arranges for Pauly to make a wish come true for Dereck, a young boy with cancer through A Wish Come True Inc, a great organization in Pauly's home state of RI. This episode rings deep for Amanda who lost her mother to cancer.
We had an opportunity to chat with Amanda Ruisi herself, check out some excerpts from the interview:
TI50:In your own words, who is Amanda Ruisi?
Amanda: Amanda Ruisi is a 29 year old girl from Connecticut that owns a entertainment celebrity branding PR firm and is somebody that never sleeps.
TI50: How did you first get into PR?
Amanda: My mom actually got me an internship at NBC. It was my first taste of entertainment television publicity. From there I worked as an intern for 4 months and then I was hired on full time as a coordinator shortly after. Essentially my entire career, I was there for 8 plus years before I launched my own PR firm. When I left NBC I was handling all the east coast entertainment publicity as well as talent relations for the network. I worked on all the primetime and alternative and special programmings like Law & Order, the first show I ever launched was a show called “The Apprentice,” and all the east coast specials.
TI50: What would you say are the steps to being a successful PR Person?
Amanda: I always say honesty, integrity and loyalty to your clients, to yourself, and to your company or wherever you work. At the end of the day in this world, we are our relationships and if you lie to the press, lie to your clients or you aren’t honest in your responses and timing to responding to requests that will inevitably not only affect you but your client and your overall reputation. We pride ourselves on making sure that we are always honest and responsive and protecting our clients because at the end of the day we are the buffer between them and the media.
TI50: What made you want to start AKR PR?
Amanda: I was at NBC for a long time and I loved everybody I worked with over there. But I wanted to be able to go outside of the realm of NBC Universal and continue to help cultivate brands. My first clients ever were Hedi Montag, Spencer Pratt, and the Kardashian’s for their skin care line, and shortly after that I worked with NBC again to launch television shows like “Minute To Win It.” It was really just a great time and opportunity for me to go out and try to do this on my own. I was only 26 at the time so it was a big leap of faith.
TI50: In your opinion, do you feel that it’s harder doing publicity for reality stars as it is opposed to actors or musicians?
Amanda: I think it all really depends on what their craft is…that’s who you inevitably will target in media when you know who their direct audience is. I don’t think one necessarily is harder than the other. Years ago, when I first started out at NBC it was a lot more difficult to try and legitimize the reality shows because people were a little skeptical at first, but now it’s so widely accepted that I think it’s all fair game.
TI50: How did you first link up with DJ Pauly D?
Amanda: Pauly and I met at my birthday. I was actually working with Vinny at the time.
TI50: Did you forsee Pauly being as big of a star as he is now?
Amanda: Pauly was amazing from the get-go. Pauly really came into the show with such a talent which is obviously his music and dj career. He was so smart in using the platform of Jersey Shore and really was able to brand that into the amazing successful career he has now in music.
TI50: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about publicists?
Amanda: Essentially we are the gate-keepers so I think sometimes people tend to think that the publicist lie or it’s their job to deny deny deny…but I don’t think that’s true. I think every publicist has their own way of handling different situations and based on their relationship with the media or their client I think that they go into each situation differently.
TI50: What’s 3 Things you would say every PR person needs?
Amanda: 2 phones, an extensive rolodex, and social networks.
TI50: If AKR PR could represent any client in the world, who would it be?
Amanda: We like to work with people that we have great relationships with because publicity is 24/7, you become so invested into your clients and you become so close with them; because you’re talking to them nonstop and your involved in every aspect of their career. I like to think that we would like to work with anybody who would be open to and have the same values and essentially the same work ethic as us. We like to work nonstop; we always like to help out. I love connecting other people even if I don’t represent them.
TI50: We’re going to see you in an upcoming episode of ‘The Pauly D Project’ where you make a wish come true for a young boy with cancer. Can you tell us about that experience?
Amanda: This episode is about Pauly going to visit this great boy Dereck who has cancer. 50 actually sent up headphones and some t-shirts. The boy was a huge fan of Pauly D and 50. So it was great for Pauly to actually go there and meet him. It was just an awesome opportunity. You can’t really explain what that feels like to be able to bring that type of joy to somebody who’s suffering and can’t control their suffering, but for them to forget the pain that the cancer is causing them for even a little visit with Pauly was just unbelievable. Pauly and I both left there and were like “Wow…Imagine if we could do that every day.”For me it hit so close to home because I lost my mom to cancer and again my mom is the reason I got started in the industry. It was a very emotional day but also a very amazing day. Dereck and Pauly still keep in touch. It’s just one of those things that puts everything in perspective, and make you realize how little it takes to make somebody feel good.