Mercedes Sanchez is one busy lady. In addition to her career as a fashion and beauty blogger and as a TV correspondent, she also works as a media relations associate for a local business school part-time; has been invited to share her story as a motivational speaker at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York; and has covered fashion week for nine seasons in New York and twice in Brazil. Whew! Below she shares what motivated her to create her blog, BeChicMag.com, and the perks and challenges of such a demanding career.
Q: When did you decide to launch your fashion and beauty blog, BeChicMag.com?
A: I started it in 2006 as a means to continue writing about fashion and beauty after I left the New York Post to work as a press officer for a politician in New York City. It wasn’t until a few years later–after I was working as a television producer and got laid off due to the recession–that I decided to focus more on the blog and create my own opportunities. I reviewed makeup products, talked about fashion trends and gave my opinion on entertainment news on a daily and weekly basis, instead of just a couple of times a month. Shortly after, I started sharing my beauty and fashion tips on television networks such as CBS, Univision, and Telemundo. Just last week Cosmo named me as Blogger of the Week!
Q. Where did your love for fashion and beauty come from?
A. Growing up in New York City, I’ve been influenced by all sorts of cultures and styles. There was always something new and everyone had her own personal style and way of wearing the latest trends. I was a tween during the grunge ’90s and baggy pants era–remember the all-girl group, TLC? But I also loved going through photo albums and seeing the more classic, cleaner and often times funky styles my aunts and my mom wore during the 70’s and 80’s.
Q. You started in print, but have moved to online and now broadcast. Which medium do you prefer? What takes up the majority of your time?
A. Oooh, it’s so hard to choose one! There’s something about picking up a newspaper that never gets old– and seeing your byline after weeks/days of researching and writing an article is so gratifying.
I love online media because it gives me an opportunity to interact directly with my readers. Everything is literally instant! Being a professional blogger also allows me to use my voice in each post versus a newspaper article where one has to be unbiased and more newsy. And I love the adrenaline that goes into broadcasting. I often say that I prefer live TV over taped segments. When you’re live, there’s no turning back or “doing something over.” All three are hard work. They all consist of deadlines and research–editing photos, holding interviews, and writing content for the Web takes hours, and the same goes for writing an article for print. And many hours go into preparing for a TV segment even though they’re only three to four minutes long. For example, if I’m talking about the “must-have beauty products for the fall,” I have to make sure I have tested each and every product, memorized the official name of each product and its price, be able to talk about why it’s a must-have, and be able to tell the viewers where they can find it. As a fashion and beauty blogger and on-air style expert (and occasional freelancer), I’m constantly doing all three–at the same time!
Q. What is something most people don’t know about you?
A. That I can oftentimes be shy and reserved. Many folks think that because you’re in the ‘public eye’ or on television that you should be super outgoing. I have my times when I’m a chatterbox, but I’m usually more on the quiet side.
Q. What are some of the best opportunities you’ve had as a beauty blogger?
A. Well, being able to test many products before they hit the shelves is always fun. But I’ve also been on some pretty cool press trips because of my fashion and beauty blogging, such as covering fashion week in Brazil, attending the Alma Awards in Los Angeles, and partnering with brands on some pretty cool national campaigns.
Q. What are some of the most challenging aspects?
A. Juggling various projects at once while still trying to have a life– finding that balance seems to be the most challenging.
Q. What are you PR pet peeves?
A: When I get an e-mail that says “Hi, Sanchez,” or “Hello, Beauty Blogger” are just some of the things I delete right away. Getting phone calls from a PR person nowadays, seems pretty odd. So when I get a call, I usually ask them to re-send whatever e-mail they’re referring to. I’ve once had a PR contact call/e-mail me for three consecutive days asking when I was going to post a blog about her event. Although I usually write about events I cover, there’s no guarantee that I will, and I can’t tell you when it’s going to go live– unless it’s part of a campaign I’ve partnered with, which in that case has a deadline.
Q. Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: E-mail is definitely best–please, never text to pitch an idea or follow-up. I’ve started noticing a trend among publicists who start following and engaging with bloggers/reporters via Twitter and Facebook before they start pitching. I like that approach too.
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