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A creative blog by Tracy Larrua on The Whole 9

Tracy (or Trace, as friends call her) Larrua lives and works between Hawaii and L.A. A seasoned pr/marcom specialist who has worked primarily in the hospitality and entertainment industries, she enjoys teaching her “Get The Word Out” pr workshops and volunteering her time with non-profits. When not glued to her sassy MacBook, you can find her relaxing at the beach, enjoying live theatre, or at a BBQ with friends.

An Inside Look At The Media Grid

As a publicist, I’ve pitched to “the other side” my entire life.  You know, journalists and the like, persuading them to cover stories from concerts to food, art to fashion, tourism to non-profits, and everything in between. Sometimes during the process you get to know the journalist a bit more than just their name, title, email address, and beat. Sometimes you become friendly. And sometimes you really hit it off and become (aghast!) friends. For example, one day the editor of a fashion magazine came into the hotel that I was representing at the time. She explained to me how they lost a location at the very last minute for a story and photo shoot, and how they needed help with a new location asap because of course, they were on deadline. Long story short, I helped them out in a jam and not only did the property receive some great coverage as well, but I’ve been friends with this person ever since (the editor was Alexandra Kotur of Vogue and the story was on then unknown female boxer, Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali).  This was one of the first times that it hit me.  You know, the realization that this person, this editor, is just like me and just trying to get her job done.  This person just happens to work on the other side of the fence.  The experience of that shifted me into viewing the way I see people, especially the scores of media that I work with on a daily basis, in a different light.

Fast forward to June/July/August 2010 and my most recent example of that?  The annual Gridiron fundraiser in Honolulu which is put on by SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) which gives scholarships to those youngin’s looking to get a start in the industry.  [A note to all my male friends:  No... this has nothing to do with football.]  Anyway, this satire, which has been referred to as a Hawaiian version of Saturday Night Live,  has been proudly presented for hundreds of  years (ok, I’m exaggerating) and features some of Hawaii’s finest media darlings in print, broadcast, online, etc. (plus some ringers) who bring their acting, singing, and dancing talents to the stage.  I mean, Gridiron pokes fun at everything including politicians and anyone or anything that has been covered by the news media.  In all my years living in Hawaii prior to my living in Los Angeles, I had never seen a Gridiron.  Why?  That’s because it was always sold out or I was out of town.  This year, I fought back my fear and became (gulp!) an actual participant in Gridiron 2010’s “There’s No Business Like NO Business.”  Yep!  Yours truly sang, danced, wore wigs (and ok, a mustache), proudly donned drag queen-esque stage make-up, and made merry alongside a bunch of other colleagues, all for a good cause.  We even sold out all four shows at a major theatre venue!

What I learned:  Not only was this experience an amazing creative outlet for me (I hadn’t done anything like that in about 12 years or so) but I met and re-met some wonderful and talented people who were at times only considered my colleagues, but who are now… my friends.  I am not only amazed by the skills that many of these individuals bring to the public in their professional lives, but also by the unknown skills that the public don’t get to see at all such as their comedic writing, strong vocals, and crazy-ass dance ability.  That’s right.  I said crazy-ass.  Who knew?  So, I will end with this.  You can be friends with those from “the other side.”  I only wish I did it sooner.  Now I find myself missing the nightly and weekend rehearsals, the easy-going camaraderie, and the daily texts from the stage manager asking “Are you en route?”

Hana Hou Gridiron Show!  And, thanks for the memories;)  I’m already working on a little skit sung to the tune of “Surrey With The Fringe On The Top” from “Oklahoma.”

  1. Sometimes it comes down to that age old piece of advice that Mr Ringo Starr gave us. I get by with a little help from my friends. As well, it sure as hell isn’t detrimental to reach out and make some new ones in the process. :) People definitely make the world go round, and we all sometimes just need a helping hand that can lead to enriching those around us just that little bit more.

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