I am really passionate about immigrant rights, everywhere, but especially in the United States. I work closely with Pamela Anchang, the publisher of The Immigrant Magazine, helping to spotlight and share the stories of the amazing immigrant global citizens of our world. I believe in the work Pamela is doing and hope it will inspire nationwide reform
As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Goesseringer Muj the founder of Kultura PR International LLC, a boutique public relations agency that specializes in international entertainment, lifestyle and cultural clients.
Previously, Nicole served as Associate Director, Worldwide Publicity, E! Networks, where she oversaw media relations for E!’s rapidly expanding international division, including the E! International Network and E!’s program sales division. She also was responsible for domestic trade and consumer publicity for E!, The Style Network and E! Online.
Prior to E!, she worked in new media/entertainment convergence public relations at mPRm Public Relations and was responsible for several high profile accounts, including Sony Pictures. Nicole also worked at Steeplechase Media, Comspan Communications and Comspan Russia as Director of Marketing Communications.
She holds a Master of Arts in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and a Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Studies from the University of Ottawa in Canada. Nicole is an experienced journalist, serving as Managing Editor, Indie Entertainment Magazine and Lifestyle & Entertainment Editor, GOTHAMOLOGY and is a contributor to Informer Media, Jetset Magazine, Azure Azure, filmfestivals.com, Destination Luxury, The Hype Magazine and Quoi de Neuf?
She is the Co-founder of French Riviera Film Festival.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I am first generation Canadian, born in Toronto and grew up in the “boonies” as they say from age three, on the shores of beautiful Lake Simcoe, Ontario. My mother was from Germany and father from Austria and I believe I was very lucky to have been raised by such amazing parents in such a calm and serene environment.
I ended up majoring in Slavic Studies at the University of Ottawa. Why? To be honest, the only reason I selected that particular major was that I loved the Russian literature, and in particular, the works of author Ivan Turgenev. After earning my bachelor’s degree, with a minor in German, I attended California State University Fullerton and earned a Master’s Degree in Communications, Public Relations. After this, I spent one year in Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow, just after the Perestroika period. To experience the Russian culture and live with the Russian people had a real impact on my life. I am still very close with many of the classmates and the friends I made during this time in my life.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Upon return from the former Soviet Union, I was able to combine my Slavic Studies and Communications specialties and began to work for a company called Comspan Communications, the first American company to bring Western entertainment content and live events to the Russian market. Comspan, incidentally, was owned by Larry Namer, who is the founder of E! Entertainment Television. To this day, Larry Namer, who now is focused on the China media market as President/CEO of Metan Global Entertainment Group, is a true mentor to me, and I am pleased to be working with him for all these years, handling his companies’ and partners’ PR.
Later, I went on to handle international and domestic trade PR for E!, Style Network and G4. I decided after five years, however, that I wanted to start my own business, so in 2006, I founded Kultura PR International. I have never looked back since then. My business began as strictly PR, and E!/Style remained my client for several years until NBC Universal took over. I then began to incorporate booking international music acts in Russia, CIS, Romania and Latin America. Highlights include being the first to present Lady Gaga in Russia, booking Enrique Iglesias in Athens, Greece, and without question, the most memorable was to organize some of the final concerts by “The Voice,” the late Whitney Houston, in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In recent years, I have expanded my work, partnering with Cloud 21 International, to work on some amazing projects at the Cannes Film Festival, including a “Salute to Akira Kurosawa,” “Global Film Showcase” in conjunction with Roskino, “Indie Entertainment Showcase” during Sundance Film Festival and “Production Without Borders” during American Film Market. Cloud 21’s president Gotham Chandna and I are co-founders of French Riviera Film Festival, which launched in 2019 during the time period of the Cannes Film Festival.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have many actually, but I can’t really reveal at this time. I can tell you they involve world leaders, scandals, dicey situations and mistruths. I guess we will have to wait for my memoir.
I feel one of my greatest professional moments was bringing the late Whitney Houston to play some of her last concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. Never before have I experienced what people describe as what a “star” really is. When Whitney walked into the room or lobby of the hotel, you immediately felt the energy change. I was honored to have been in her presence and also to possibly have played a part in making her last performances enjoyable for her and her family who travelled with her.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
There have been a few. I remember just after graduating when I had an interview for an entry level PR job in Vancouver. The interviewer (head of the company) asked me “what does PR mean to you?” I was very nervous and sort of blanked and started to say something from one of my communications theory classes, making no sense and rambling. The man said, “okay, you can stop now.” I was mortified and felt quite down and embarrassed. I didn’t get this job, but I went on to my next interview, and was offered a position with Canada’s top PR expert, Mr. Jean Cormier. Jean was such an amazing boss and truly the best of the best! I learned very much about my chosen field from him. I’m so grateful that he gave me the opportunity.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have been very lucky and have had a lot of people who have mentored or inspired me.
My late parents, Siegfried and Trudi Goesseringer, were my biggest supporters and believers in me. They were always there for me, and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. They were very proud of what I have achieved. I think of them every day. My husband Ion is also very proud, supportive and encouraging, always assisting me whenever possible. As I mentioned before, E! founder Larry Namer has had a huge impact, as well as music industry mogul Bobby Colomby and Women Documentary Filmmakers founder Sue Vicory.
The late Kay Brown Phillips was my dear friend and one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. We met a year after her second husband, legendary Hollywood makeup artist Webster C. Phillips, passed away. (Kay’s first husband was the late Phillip P. Brown, ceo and founder of California Steel & Tube.) She was a stunner, a socialite, one of the founders of the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon Committee with Mrs. Chandler, and an active member of the International Committee of the LA Philharmonic.
Kay spent her final years at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Residence in Woodland Hills and passed away peacefully at age 90. Kay was the most loyal, kind, honest and non-judgmental person I have ever met. A true original, queen of the one-liners, animal advocate, globetrotter, cultural ambassador and fashionista — all are appropriate titles, but most fitting of all is dear and true friend. I will never forget her. I miss her and think of her often.
One final person I would like to note is the late Anatoly Sobchak, the former Mayor of St. Petersburg, who Vladimir Putin served under as Deputy Mayor. I worked with Mayor Sobchak during his Southern California lecture university tour, organized by Comspan Communications, where I worked. He was such an important world figure and played a key role during Perestroika. He was a wonderful, kind man who truly cared about the law students to whom he lectured. When he departed, he expressed his gratitude for my assistance and was worried that he didn’t have a gift to present to me. (It’s a custom in Russia.) I told him that I truly was not expecting anything. He was presented a watch from a local organization during his visit, and gifted it to me as a token of appreciation from him. I still have this watch and will cherish it always. He was an intelligent and compassionate leader, and I hope his daughter Ksenia will continue to follow in his footsteps in the fight against corruption.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
I have been very lucky in my career and I can say the one piece of advice I can give is to follow your dreams and don’t be afraid to take a risk. I left my secure position at E! Networks to start my own company Kultura PR International. It was the best professional decision I have ever made.
To be honest, my path has been rather smooth. I always from an early age had a vision for myself and was able to reach every goal I have set for myself. I was lucky, though, as I had amazing parents who supported me in all of my endeavors and ideas (even if these ideas were a little out there). While I grew up in rural Canada, I always knew I would work in the entertainment industry. I seem to be very lucky as well, meeting some wonderful people along the way who have been very influential and helpful to me. Of course, there are some disappointing times when a business colleague does not act honorably or ethically, but you must move forward and learn from the experience.
What drives you to get up every day and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?
I am very passionate about French Riviera Film Festival. This year, due to the global pandemic, we had to change the plan several times. First, we were going to move our festival from Cannes, France to Santa Monica, California, with the event to be held in June, but this too recently changed. We now will be having an online film festival with accompanying Zoom events, including a Women Filmmakers Panel and Virtual Awards Ceremony live from The Beverly Hills Hotel, in September 2020. I feel that for the present time that ‘live’ and red carpet events will be limited. On the bright side, if we were to have our festival “live in Cannes,” only a limited number of people would be able to enjoy the films. However, since we are having our screenings online, we potentially can reach thousands of film lovers from around the world, all of whom can enjoy our festival without travelling to Europe.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
I am very excited, of course, about growing the French Riviera Film Festival. We hope that next year we will be ‘live’ in Cannes again. After our third year, the fest will become an Oscar-qualifying festival, which is very exciting.
With regard to my public relations work, I recently began working with Nicholas Dimitroff, the author of the best-selling futuristic thriller Dealer of Realities. I also have some very interesting projects on the horizon that I will announce soon.
We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?
Diversity in the entertainment industry is extremely important to me. I take this very seriously and would like to place the spotlight on three recent developments.
- We are having a Women Filmmakers Panel (Zoom event) during our French Riviera Film Festival this year, placing the spotlight on some of the amazing women in our industry.
- I’m pleased to congratulate and help spread the word about Pop News Edition, the new show and media content site created by Asian American entrepreneur XiXi Yang. XiXi is an example of a true immigrant success story. She was the first Asian American woman to handle the red carpet reporting solo for the Associated Press. I am pleased to help her get the word out about her journey and new venture.
- I’m also delighted to work with Armenian American Vic Gerami, founder of The Blunt Post, on his work to promote diversity within the LGBTQ and immigrant communities.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Try to focus on the big picture. If something doesn’t work out, don’t fret. Focus on the grand scheme of things.
- Don’t try to expect people will have the same ethics as you do. Try not to be too judgmental of people who don’t share the same work ethics as you. Just note it and remember when you decide on working with them again. If you follow this rule, you won’t be disappointed.
- Always treat people with respect and kindness. I have always tried to be kind and respectful to everyone I meet and interact with in both my personal and professional life, no matter with whom I am interacting — whether that might be an intern, boss, celebrity, client, colleague or friend.
- If one door closes, another one will open (eventually). Since I started Kultura PR International, I have never had to advertise or promote my business (knock wood). Most of my clients are long-term or are acquired by word of mouth or client recommendations, etc. I am very proud of this.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.
On the purely cosmetic side, I have always been very good about self care treatments at home, from facials, skincare treatments, hair coloring, etc. Due to the pandemic, I recently even cut my own fringe. I also try to cook healthy meals at home for me and my husband. Cooking is very calming and I enjoy it, especially during these times. I like to experiment with new recipes. Also, I live in a beautiful part of California by the water, Marina del Rey, and I love to take long walks (social distancing and mask on) by the boats. It’s very therapeutic and peaceful by the water.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The German idiom “Nothing gets eaten as hot as it gets cooked.” My mom used to always say this to me (actually, her translation from German was “You never eat as hot as you cook.”) when I was worried about something. The meaning is basically that life is never as bad as it seems at the moment, cool down and it will work out. This has been a very helpful phrase for me to remember, many times in both my work and private life.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I am really passionate about immigrant rights, everywhere, but especially in the United States. I work closely with Pamela Anchang, the publisher of The Immigrant Magazine, helping to spotlight and share the stories of the amazing immigrant global citizens of our world. I believe in the work Pamela is doing and hope it will inspire nationwide reform.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch on the Croisette with the great French actress Isabelle Huppert. I think she would have some great advice and amazing stories about her life and career. A few years ago during the Cannes Film Festival, I saw her having lunch at the Majestic Hotel. She noticed my delight when I recognized her and she kindly waved to me. I was star struck. I am managing editor of Indie Entertainment Magazine, and would love to feature Ms. Huppert in a feature interview for the magazine as well.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Website: www.kulturapr.com www.frenchrivierafilmfestival.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mujnicole/ https://www.instagram.com/frfilmfestival/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.muj https://www.facebook.com/KulturaPRInternational
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!