2017 B&T MAGAZINE’S WOMEN IN MEDIA ISSUE
The Women In Media issue shines a light on women in Australian media who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Alicia joins the likes of author and social advocate Yassmin Abdel-Magied and radio presenter Emma Chow in the magazine’s list of 30 women who are making their mark in the industry, which “still remains a predominantly white landscape, with just 16% of employees being non-Caucasian”.
This is what Alicia says in her interview with B&T:
“From my interning days to my current role as an editor, I’ve always wanted to highlight the importance of stories – whether on our screens, airwaves, online or in print – resonating with the multicultural society we live in.
“That’s only going to happen if we have a more ethnically diverse range of journalists and media professional audiences to engage with.
“It’s important for media companies to promote a culture that empowers female employees to put their hand up for the promotion or executive role that most men will put themselves forward for. Mentoring programs are a great place to start.
“At Yahoo7, there’s a Women In Leadership program, equipping female employees with the skills and confidence to take the next step in their careers.
“I’m also a big believer in industry-wide events for women, where accomplished female figures can share their experiences and inspire. It sends the message that women are here, we’ve got each other’s backs, and we’re going to make it to the top.”
2017 UTS ALUMNI CAMPAIGN
https://mystory.uts.edu.au/alumni/alicia-vrajlal/ — Turning a passion for TV soaps into a career
As a girl, Alicia Vrajlal loved watching TV soap operas, but as an Australian of Fijian/Indian heritage she longed to see someone like herself on the screen instead of only people of European descent. Secretly, she also hoped she’d work in the entertainment industry one day.
Because she excelled at maths at high school, she enrolled in UTS’ Bachelor of Accounting. She received an industry-sponsored Cooperative Scholarship which included two six-month internships.
During her first internship for a global accounting firm, Alicia realised that she hadn’t chosen the right career: “It just wasn’t the sort of place I could see myself wanting to come to every day,” she says.
For her next internship, Alicia went to the finance department at Yahoo7, figuring if she couldn’t work in the entertainment industry, she could at least get a glimpse of what the sector was like.
While she was studying, she’d started a blog called “I Am Star struck” and worked as a volunteer for magazines Cleo, Cosmopolitan and Mamamia. She then enrolled in a Master of Journalism at UTS.
After graduation, she got a trial role with the Daily Mail and was soon promoted to entertainment reporter. Her next position was as Deputy Editor for Yahoo7’s entertainment and lifestyle section, Be.
Her advice to other students interested in careers in the entertainment industry is to start a blog. “You can write about exactly what you want. You have that creative and editorial control. It shows employers you’ve taken initiative and you’ve thought about it, and that you’re serious about this,” she says.
She also advises taking as many internships as possible and leveraging anything you publish through Twitter. “I was tweeting my articles and then celebrities were enjoying the publicity and retweeting them, and then publicists were picking up and inviting me to events,” she says.
Alicia hopes in time to move into an editor’s position and create more content promoting multiculturalism and diversity in the industry. “I want to break down the industry barriers,” she says.
2016 B&T WOMEN IN MEDIA AWARDS NOMINEE – RISING STAR (PEOPLE’S CHOICE)
2013 MAMAMIA MOST CLICKABLE WOMEN AWARDS
Alicia Vrajlal aka Leeshie V from I Am Starstruck
Tell Mamamia readers about your blog. What do your write about? Why should they read?
‘I Am Starstruck’ is a celebrity and entertainment blog with a focus on local Australian pop culture content.
Whether you are after a ‘Home and Away’ recap, the scoop on real life celebrity romances, designer details of Jennifer Hawkins’ Logies dress or red carpet interviews with your favourite Aussie stars, ‘I Am Starstruck’ has you covered.
What differentiates ‘I Am Starstruck’ from other entertainment blogs is its extensive coverage of local content from the perspective of both a media insider and a fan. This means that followers get the hottest celebrity scoop whilst still relating to the voice behind the blog.
The blog also counts some of Australia’s most popular celebrities as followers including Firass Dirani, Jesinta Campbell, Dan Ewing, Erin McNaught, Timomatic and many more. They’ve all wished ‘I Am Starstruck’ a Happy Birthday over the last two years HERE.
What motivated you to start your blog? How long have you been blogging for?
I started my blog in January 2011. I have always been passionate about entertainment and pop culture, particularly Australian TV shows and personalities.
I noticed a gap in the Australian media market for local entertainment content so I decided to start up my own blog as the ultimate online go to destination for news and photos of Aussie celebrities.
Gradually the blog has expanded with a Youtube Channel for red carpet interviews I do as well as two spin-off blogs called ‘I Am Starstruck: Fashion’ and ‘I Am Starstruck: Bollywood’.
Do you blog full time or as a hobby? How do you balance the commitments?
I blog as a hobby and generate no revenue but I do approach the production of the blog as a full time job so I create high quality content that is up to date and captivating for readers.
I am also a business degree graduate and now journalism masters student and intern in online media.
Balancing commitments is all about timing and relative importance. When it’s the Logie Awards, university work waits and when it’s assessment time, the number of weekly blog posts may decrease.
What is the biggest lesson blogging has taught you about yourself?
Blogging has taught me that if you remain passionate, committed and have faith in your abilities, you will reap the rewards. I believe that enthusiasm is contagious and I’ve learnt to cherish all the wonderful people in my life who are helping me grow professionally and personally.
Is what you are doing now remotely like what your 16 year old self thought you would be? How has your career impacted on where you are now?
When I was 16, I wanted to be a radio announcer. Radio is still definitely something I wouldn’t mind giving a go.
How does social networking help you? What social networks do you use?
I utilise Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to connect with audiences and promote new blog posts.
Everyone has a favourite though, what is your favourite social network?
Twitter is my favourite because that is where most of the conversations between readers and myself happen. I also love the concept of retweeting, which is very popular amongst the blog’s celebrity followers.
What is your favourite item of clothing and why?
The LBD (Little Black Dress). It’s sleek and sexy and with the right accessories can be transformed from a lunch date dress to a red carpet number.
What’s your personal motto?
Confidence is the best accessory you can ever have.
What is your favourite flavour of icecream?
If we looked in your handbag right now, what would we find?
Phone, wallet, lipstick, diary and water bottle.
If you were a super hero what would your power be?
The ability to be invisible… Who doesn’t want Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak?
One of Australia’s ‘Most Clickable Women’, Alicia Vrajlal, shares her hot tips for a successful blog.
Alicia with Home and Away starlets Terri Haddy (left) and David Jones Roberts (right)
1. Find an interest: In order to be a successful and unique blogger, you should be passionate about the subject of your blog. Identifying a niche is a good idea. I started my own blog I Am Starstruck in January 2011. It is an entertainment site with a focus on Australian pop culture content. I noticed a gap in the Australian media market for local entertainment content so I decided to start up my own blog as the ultimate online destination for news and photos of Aussie celebrities.
2. Understand your audience: Think about what your audience wants to read and identify how you can remain competitive in the blogosphere. Be the number one blog for your target market.
3. Social Media: Reaching an audience has never been easier, as almost everyone uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only does extensive social media utilisation facilitate immediacy in delivering information, it is also an excellent networking tool. Twitter has particularly allowed me to build my follower base. Many Australian celebrities including Firass Dirani, Jesinta Campbell, Nikki Phillips, Didier Cohen, Dan Ewing and Timomatic show their support for the blog by retweeting links.
4. Be original: Having your own style and differentiating your blog is key. Let your posts reflect your own personality. What differentiates I Am Starstruck from other entertainment blogs is its extensive coverage of local content from the perspective of both a media insider when I attend industry events, and a fan when I review shows and music. This means that followers get the hottest celebrity scoop whilst still relating to the voice behind the blog.
5. Choose a good domain: Keeping it simple and distinguishable is key. Choose a name that is memorable and stay away from too many numbers and abbreviations that may confuse readers.
Alicia Vrajlal is a postgraduate Masters journalism student based in Sydney, Australia. She also has an undergraduate degree in business and accounting. She was nominated in the 2013 Mamamia Most Clickable Women Awards and has written for various magazines and websites whilst interning.
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