It is sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. I would much rather reach out to casting or a director and bug them and get a no for my client than to not try at all.
If you get a no at first, ask again. Many times you get a no because you are asking at the wrong time or someone is in a hurry. Or they just want you to ask again. No is not always really a no.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Ek. She got her start in the business as a talent manager. But, it was her strong head for business and ability to spot talent that encouraged her to launch her own management company. When asked to join Eris Talent Agency, she was instrumental in helping create a vision for the company’s success. To date, Rebecca has launched the careers of many actors and continues to be recognized in the industry as a powerhouse agent.
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 grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was raised by my maternal grandmother and Step-Grandfather. I was always in love with the entertainment industry and always thought I would grow up to be an actress. I participated in school plays and talent shows and would “act” in the mirror. I wrote and directed an Episode of “Charlies Angels” in the elementary Talent show.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My son was 6 y.o. when he decided he wanted to be an actor. He was quickly signed by an agent and a manager and I observed from the sideline. So, I learned about the agent and manager side from being a “Momager”. I decided after about a year with my son being in the business that I would be skilled at managing actors. I knew what it took and had the business acumen to be successful. I opened my own talent management company, FHL Entertainment, and rapidly built a strong roster of talent booking actors. My first actor booked within 15 days of opening and I was off and running. It was through my management company that I met my incredible first business partner, Tina Contogenis. Tina and I immediately hit it off and, when she left her position at a different agency to launch Eris, I joined her 2 weeks later. And suddenly I was an agent.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? 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?
Not too long ago I was calling a casting director to pitch a client. I got their voice mail. I knew exactly who I was pitching and when I started leaving my message I told them why they should see him and his credits and then completely blanked out on his name. I could see his face in my mind but his name was just a blank. I just said “Oh my God, oh my God” and hung up. I emailed them and made up a lame excuse that my son spilled something and distracted me. They said my message made their day and they gave me the appointment.
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?
My husband. He knew this was the right career path for me and has stood behind me every step. I left a job with a great salary to become a manager who works only on commission. And he supported me when I decided to close my management company to become an agent and start with zero clients. He puts up with me up all night click-clacking on my laptop next to him in bed and then up early doing the same thing.
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?
Just do it! Work hard, be honest, be kind and don’t give up.
What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?
The excitement of helping someone achieve their dreams. Seeing and hearing my clients book a job and then seeing their work on the screen never gets old. More wholesome programming — Not everything has to be so raunchy, less gratuitous sex. And profanity is not always needed to tell a story. Honest stories that move people.
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?
We are doing some amazing work with writers, producers and directors. We are growing when many agencies are closing. I see us continuing to expand and grow.
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?
Everyone wants to connect and feel empowered by the people and stories they see on the screen. People feel connected when the people telling the stories look and act like them. Our youth need to see that who they are, and where they come from, has value and a place in the world — That they matter. No one should be excluded. We grow as a culture when we listen and offer humanity and respect.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Just start. Don’t wait for permission from someone else. I waited and asked lots of people in this business how to get started. Quite a few would not help me and were downright rude about it. But I persevered and made it happen.
2. Don’t let other people dictate what you can do. Sometimes people have their own insecurities and they reflect them onto you and it really has nothing to do with you.
3. Stay in your own lane. When I was a mom of a child actor, I listened to all the other moms and would think their kids were getting some magical opportunities that my kid wasn’t getting. People love to put things out on social media that is not always true. Most of the time it was just casting hadn’t done all their scheduling yet.
4. It is sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. I would much rather reach out to casting or a director and bug them and get a no for my client than to not try at all.
5. If you get a no at first, ask again. Many times you get a no because you are asking at the wrong time or someone is in a hurry. Or they just want you to ask again. No is not always really a no.
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.
I like to pray and spend time with God in the morning. I find when I take time to be grounded spiritually the rest of my day goes well. I also like to take walks and hike when I can to stay fit.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Don’t be afraid. Don’t let fear hold you back.
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?
Love thy neighbor as you love thy self. Rings so true. If we love others as ourselves what a difference that would make in our world.
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!
Shonda Rhimes, she is such a powerhouse! Producer, Screenwriter and show runner. I love her stories and would love to hear how she does it all!
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Yes, follow @eristalentagency and I try to stay active with my own IG @rebeccaekagent
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!