The spotlight was turned on the media Tuesday evening at the Bay Gardens Hotel at a seminar focused on retooling the industry’s image. The event was the brainchild of long-serving media professional, Sharon Williams-Black, who enlisted the services of image consultant, Patrice DaCosta.
DaCosta is the owner and president of Stoosh Images, a New York-based company dedicated to personal rebranding. The name is a nod to her Jamaican heritage and as she tells it, “Stoosh is stylish, sophisticated, and successful. The fact that we are alive, we should all want to develop.”
DaCosta has worked with the press on numerous occasions and was eager to help facilitate change in their presentation on and off camera.
“Based on going to different functions and having international experience, I know that our Caribbean media tend to think that they’re just here to give a report. And so they just come anyhow, attitude anyhow, look anyhow, and yet still expect to be taken seriously, not realizing that they’re hampering their own growth and their company’s growth by their brand, which is their image. My philosophy is not because we are a third world country we have to look or act like it.”
The presentation was titled ‘How to create a global image for the 21st century’ and DaCosta let attendees know off the bat that she understood their passion for the business and was intent to assisting then in reaching the pinnacle.
“When you think about news reporters, I have to deal with a lot of them. I groom a lot of them here (the Caribbean) and in New York. And it’s amazing when I hear their stories and how they started from humble beginnings and they just knew that they wanted to be the best radio disc jockey or the best magazine writer. But you have to know where you want to go in order to go there.”
One of first topics tackled was first impressions. She cleverly employed the assistance of Choice’s Oneka McCoy, who stood before her peers as they blurted out what came to mind at first glance. Based on her appearance she was described as down to earth, approachable and relaxed. This kind of scrutiny is not uncommon on a daily basis.
“What was just done to Oneka is done to you every single day whether you want to believe it or not. Every single day you are dissected from the waist up and the waist down. And so my question to you as reporters, as brand ambassadors for yourself, and the organization that you are with, what message are you sending on a daily basis? On an hourly basis? Is it ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I’m just a reporter so I’m going to be incognito’? Or is it that I am a reporter that wants to be globally ready and be a part of the 21st century, and the CNN reporter for the Caribbean. You are in charge of this. No one else.”
The fashion guru also called out those who don’t necessarily work on camera but are still a vital part of the industry and so need to dress the part.
“Those who are in radio and those who are behind the scenes, one of the things I know for a fact is that you tend to think that oh, I’m just in radio so I can dress anyhow. But just be mindful that opportunities come to you anyhow and any day. So please stop limiting yourself. Dress as if this is the day that you will have the best opportunity you have ever had in your life.”
DaCosta shared several simple tips to aid both sexes in stepping up their fashion game.
Ties express your personality, gents. Your tie should be the center of your belt buckle, not above and now below, and it should not clash with patterns on your shirt or suit.
One thing to be mindful of with your trouser length is that you should have a break or indentation. If you have none you’re expecting a flood.
Never button the bottom of your jacket. The middle should always be buttoned, as long as you are standing up.
Your make-up does not have to match the colour you are wearing. Make up should not be a distraction.
Take care of your skin. Always wash off your make-up before bed. Exfoliate at least once a week. Moisturize and use sunscreen.
Before you purchase something think of three places to wear it to, three things to wear it with, and three ways to accessorize it.
Keep it simple. Stay with classic cuts. What is in style is not always professional.
Acquire a set of pearls. Whether authentic or knockoff, anything pearl looks like a million dollars.
Buy what you need and not what’s on sale.
The seminar was attended by employees from Radio Caribbean International, Choice, The Wave, Hot FM, Monroe College, The Voice, and The Star Publishing Company. Sponsors included Brydens and Partners, Bay Gardens Hotel, LIME and Indulge St Lucia.
DaCosta left the group with a final, motivating nugget.
“All I am encouraging you to do is think big. You never know who is going to walk through the door and give you the assignment of your lifetime.”