Terrie Williams has represented everyone from Janet Jackson to Chris Rock at her eponymous public relations and communications firm. This licensed therapist turned PR pro has truly seen it all and has four best-selling books to show for it.
In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do series, Williams talks leadership, mental health advocacy and, of course, unloads plenty of PR knowledge. Here, she explains how she acquired one of her first high-profile clients, Eddie Murphy:
One day I heard that Eddie was looking for a PR person. He had never had one. I was kind of self-taught. I took two six or eight-week courses, but I didn’t major in it in college or grad school. I knew I was supposed to represent him. I just knew. So I wrote him a letter. I said, ‘You don’t really know me, but I’ve been to parties at your home and we met at Miles’ [Davis] birthday party. And this is who I am. I would love to represent you.’ I got a phone call maybe two weeks later and a voice said, ‘Eddie’s here. He wants to talk to you.’ He got on the phone and just said, ‘I would love to have you represent me.’ Just like that. I was in tears on the other end. I launched my business with him. Because Eddie was on board, Miles wanted me to represent him. So very early on, all eyes were on me like, ‘Who is this person? Who does she think she is?’
For more from Williams, including her keys to an effective agency, read: So What Do You Do, Terrie Williams, Author, Activist and Public Relations Strategist?