Laid-back, friendly and humble are just a few words to describe media maven and content creator, Erin Ashley Simon. Above all though, she’s a go-getter whose admirable view of life has helped to shape her career and journey.
During the times Simon bore witness to her mother’s battle with health issues, she didn’t realize the effect it would have on her perspective, and how that perspective would enable her to attract nothing but positive vibes and people.
“My mom doesn’t allow her health or negativity to consume her or get in the way of her happiness,” Simon said. “That really inspired me. Anytime I’m feeling a certain way I tell myself, ‘you know, there are people going through worse things than I am. This obstacle isn’t as bad as it seems.”
With that positive attitude and 18 years of athletic training under her belt, Simon is currently using that frame of mind to help turn her passion for both music and sports into a rewarding career.
How did you transition from a life in sports to a career in marketing and journalism?
During high school, I didn’t have a lot of vacation time. Anytime we had a break or vacation it was usually a soccer tournament. When everyone was on vacation I was home with my parents and I created a blog called boxofmess. It eventually started to resonate to the point where I was getting thousands of views from the interviews and I was like “whoa, this is actually fun.” This was a pivotal moment where I realized I really liked writing. And I found that I could take that and add that to things I’m passionate about.
You’re now a Social Media Producer for Revolt TV. How would you describe what it is you do and what do you like most about that job?
The best way to describe my job is content development: creating content on various platforms, from TV to online and social. I also initiate conversations with other brands to develop content segments, series or even possible events and partnerships with Revolt.
I’m happy I get to wake up every single day and do what I love to do and what I’m passionate about. If you’re truly happy with your job you’ll do the best work and for me, having the ability to potentially change a culture is truly amazing.
What I love most about Revolt is that it doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, people are open to hearing what ideas you have. They’re interested. I love that because I don’t believe your age should dictate how well you know something. It should be based upon knowledge and experience.
Tell me a little bit about your Uber ride interviews. How’d you go about making that happen?
My publicist elected that if I’m going to brand myself I have to find something unique to me and that I’m known for. From there the concept to have an [interview] car series with Uber was developed. Now we’re working on having this content be for Revolt TV. The Uber series has encouraged me to think of myself more as a producer and a strategist, not just a journalist. It has changed my career track.
What’s your favorite type of story to do? Whether that’s a feature, an exclusive or something from the business side of things?
I would say the most interesting stories, for me, are human interest stories. One of the stories I’m most proud about is a suicide piece I did for a regional newspaper in college where we spoke with a suicide victim. Those are usually the people closest to those who take their own lives.
The stories that make a difference and cause an emotional attachment and response from people are the kinds of stories that I like.
What would you say is the hardest part about what you do/your job?
To juggle work and maintain relationships. In the media life, you’re not quite able to have a typical nine-to-five. You may have to work during the weekend. Because of that, I have to make sure I’m doing what I need to do to maintain personal relationships.
So how do you balance your career endeavors while still leaving some time for yourself?
I’ve learned that if you want to make something work you have to make sacrifices. If that means I have to sacrifice an hour of sleep just to make sure that I call my mom back at 11pm, I do that. Another thing I do is designate one day during the weekend where I watch a movie, go to sleep early or go to some events by myself. I just always try to have one day where I don’t do any work. I also have designated hours where I don’t touch my phone or work at all. After 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, I’m trying to turn up!
Who’s your current career inspiration?
It’s cliché, but I have to say, Oprah Winfrey. One, she didn’t allow someone to tell her she wouldn’t be good enough for something. Two, she knew what she was good at and she excelled at that. Anything else she was not good at, she developed and built on. She didn’t learn everything in one day. Three, I’ve learned from her that the more you help others, the more you will receive in return. Oprah is one of the smartest and most successful content aggregators. She wanted to create a platform and help other people do the same. That inspires me because too many times in this industry, [there are] people who have selfish initiatives.
How do you spend your downtime?
I like to read. If you’re truly a journalist or an artist of your craft, I believe that you should read because aside from building up your vocab, you can also grab inspiration from it.
I’m also a little bit of a nerd and I’m techy. I love watching the Discovery Channel, the Food Network and the History channel. I also enjoy watching foreign movies. In my spare time, I like to learn and experience different activities, foods and cultures. I like to dive into things that aren’t custom to what people my age like to partake in. Doing that only further helps me and my job and in the end, I feel more connected. The more I learn, the better conversations I can have.
Given your passion for music, who would you say are your top three favorite artists and why?
I like different artists for different reasons but I really like Chance because he’s bending the rules. I like Kendrick Lamar because he brought back conscious music and showed everyone that it’s OK to spit lyrics that are poetic. Last, I like Outkast because I love artists who change things and create movements. Outkast created the southern movement.
What’s your favorite show right now? Why?
Quantico. I like how the main character is a minority. We don’t see that too often. I also like seeing women as lead characters too and not be presented in the stereotypical or negative way that the media can sometimes portray different women and different minorities.
What’s something interesting or unique about you that people don’t know?
People know that I’m mixed but most people don’t know that I’m eight things: I’m mostly black and Puerto Rican. Within my entire background, though, I’m Spaniard, Italian, Irish, German, Native American, Egyptian and Moroccan. My family was mixing when it was illegal!
What’s the best advice you’ve received so far?
Just because someone thinks you can’t do something doesn’t mean you can’t. It’s just a reflection of what they think they can or cannot do. Do not limit yourself because someone else is going to set those limitations. The only person that can control what you can and are able to do, is yourself.
My parents have also always said, “Whatever you want to do, just make sure you’re happy. Through all the struggles and all the issues, your main objective is to ensure the happiness within yourself.”
How would you describe your journey so far? And what do you hope to get from it?
My journey has ups, downs, curves, dips and hills. No one’s journey is a straight shot. I think the one thing we miss sometimes is that we don’t take the time to enjoy the process. We’re so focused on the ending. So I’ve been enjoying the process and looking back at where I came from. When I got out of college, I didn’t get a job right away. It took me awhile to get a job. I’m also looking to help others avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve always tried to mentor people, especially artists…I do this now on social media.
I just hope throughout the journey I can look back and be happy about the choices I made and see that I haven’t lost myself throughout the process. I try to stay true to myself. I know where my weaknesses and strengths are and I know that whatever environment you’re in, it’s good to adapt, but it’s never good to change yourself completely.
Tamara Shanice is an actress, writer, lyricist and fashionable hustler who takes pride in entertaining and educating through her art. She’s a wandering spirit who loves to travel the world and marvel at the works of God’s paintbrush.