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Backstage Pass Design: Access wins two golds at VMAs, delivers Bon Jovi in days.

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Natela has been working in event marketing and promotions since her
mid-teens. A former model, designer, and ’fashionista’, Natela feels most
comfortable when she is in an active work environment. She’s never shied
away from a large crowd, and is always seeking a “higher mountain to
climb.” Is it any wonder she lives in Colorado?

I got the opportunity to talk with Natela and get an insight on what it takes
to be an intrepid BA in the Mile-High City.

So where are you originally from?
I am originally from the former Soviet Union and came to this country just
shy of my tenth birthday. It was a major culture shock moving from a small
town with flat plains to the colossal buildings and mountains of Denver.
But however difficult is was to adjust, the gorgeous landscape of Colorado
made adjusting so much more pleasurable. Whether it was skiing in
the winter or hiking in the summer, Colorado is truly beautiful and awe
inspiring. What’s not to love?

How long have you been in event marketing and what got you into it?

I’ve been in event marketing for nine years. I went to modeling school and
then, inevitably, wandered my way over to event marketing. Modeling and
promotions are virtually inseparable. Whether it was a runway, a store
aisle, or a photo for a woman’s magazine, there seemed to always be a
product that needed a model standing next to it.

What was your first brand ambassador job?

When I was 16, I got to promote Axe body spray at Wal-Mart. They put
me in an angel uniform – and yes, I wore the wings. My body was covered
in football-ball styled body armor with a fake grenade belt where I held
samples of Axe. I looked pretty buff!

My job was to sneak up on random guys and covertly spray them with body
spray. Needless to say, when I initially sprayed, they got pretty angry. But
once they turned around and saw that an ’angel’ had sprayed them, they
quickly mellowed out. It was a surreal promotion.

Any specialties as a brand ambassador?

I’m really good at high-end and high-profile events. Plus, I speak Russian,
and a second language is always helpful.

I pride myself on my ability to increase sales numbers of any product put
before me. Tell me the prior top-sales number – and I’ll smash it.

The bigger the crowd, the more engaged I become. A few years ago, I
helped to organize a huge Coca-Cola’s event for a major convention in
Colorado. The crowds were crazy, but it was a blast.

What places have you traveled while working experiential marketing?

I’ve been to every city in Colorado. I know all the roads, the back roads,
the shortcuts, and the roads least traveled. There’s no need for me to carry
a GPS as I’m pretty much a walking map by now.

A good chunk of brand ambassador work consists of standing and
talking. How do you handle the long hours?

Red Bull and coffee are my friends. But seriously, I enjoy people.
Watching them interact with one another. Their humor (or lack thereof.)
The way they dress themselves and the way they address a situation. It’s
a great psychological experiment in front of me at all times. People are
funny, wild and crazy. You never know what they will say or do next.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After a long day as a BA, how do you usually wind down?

Living in Denver, I’ve acquired a very active life. Hiking, boating, or just
simple nature walks are all enjoyable ways for me to get out any stress I
may have acquired from a hectic day of promotions.

You’ve been doing promotions for a long time. As any BA knows,
there can be some crazy things that happen when you’re out in the
field. Tell us one of the crazy things that happened to you on the job.

I was working with a group of BAs under a tent in some rather windy
conditions. We were all trying to break down our event quickly before the
wind over powered us. In the process of holding down the tent and our
promotional display, one of BAs had her wig blown from her head. I didn’t
even know her hair was fake until it took flight.

All of us dropped what we were doing and began chasing after this massive
ball of hair as it continued to blow farther and farther away.

The wig eventually found its way into a passing car that had its window
rolled down. The driver was completely spooked, thinking that a fuzzy alien
had suddenly flown in through her window.

We all I had good laugh when we finally retrieved the wig. Though the wind
put a damper on our event, it made what could have been a disastrous
situation into a memory that will last me a lifetime.

Where do you want to go from here? What are your long term goals?

I want to be a professor of political theory in the college or graduate school
environment. Being in promotions has given me a profound interest in the
minds and actions of people. I’ve seen a lot of individuals who continually
make bad or ill-informed choices. I want to make an impact and influence
young minds in order to help them make better, more thoughtful decisions,
and ultimately, become better people.

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