…sometimes hope is all we have, so we have to try and be positive on a daily basis. It is hard, no doubt, and yes, it is much easier to be down and sad, but ultimately that is no way to live. As humans, I think we should ALWAYS remain hopeful. While it’s sometimes unfathomable to think about, this is, after all, a GLOBAL Pandemic
I had the pleasure of interviewing Rembrandt Flores of Entertainment Fusion Group.
Widely known as the Event innovator and for his celebrity studded and buzz worthy events and most recently as a brand whisperer getting unparalleled attention for direct-to-consumer brands; Rembrandt Flores has been part of a diverse portfolio of companies over the last 15 years. Rembrandt is a disruptor, super-connector and conversation starter who’s garnered media attention for brands such as Diageo, LG mobile, Casper, Neon Carnival, Away, Macy’s, ASICS, VEVO, Oakley, Sonos, and Electronic Arts to name as few.
As the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Entertainment Fusion Group, he showcases brands to create global awareness within the ever changing world of influencers and digital media to maximize press awareness. He was also co-founder of Ad.ly, the most influential and successful celebrity in-stream ad network of its time, and part of the founding team of Tinder. As a 1st generation Filipino-American, Los Angeles City Council proclaimed October as Filipino-American History Month, and he was among 5 people being honored by the city at the ceremony; recognized for his excellence in the entertainment industry.
During COVID’s shutdown of the entertainment industry, he decided to launch a short format talk show, 1 Minute with Rembrandt to connect with his friends in a way that has not been done before. Referred to, by his peers, as the “TIK-TALK” show, exclusively on TikTok, new episodes launch every Friday on @1MWR at 12pmPT; guests have included Kaitlynn Carter, Ally Maki, Paris Berelc, Logan Browning and Ian Bohen, where they touch upon experiences during this pandemic and share intimate life news.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to the world of PR?
Well, I was working on a show at E! Entertainment TV at the time and I had to go on a talent shoot in Vegas for a TV show, and I ended up talking to the talent and their publicist throughout the entire trip. They decided, right then and there, that I should switch gears from TV producer to PR executive, lol! And a few months later I found myself doing just that, I started my own agency with that same publicist, and as neither of us had started or owned a business before, we literally went to Borders (bookstore), sat down, came up with a name, logo, font, a basic business plan and we were off to the races. Needless to say, that Vegas trip changed my life forever. Ultimately, she made me realize that I was born to be in PR and marketing and I think she was right as I never intended to be, but both her and PR found me- so here I am. During this pandemic, I have been extremely lucky and continue to thrive, so I guess my PR journey is not ending quite yet.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I have to admit, and something that I would never advise a client to say but, I don’t get the opportunity to read a lot of books. But I do an unimaginable amount of reading and research every day. It’s not uncommon for me to spend 3–4 hours a day reading, which includes reading ALL sides of the news from CNN to FOX so I can keep a perspective and have a true picture and understanding of the whole world, not just what I want to hear or agree with.
I also do a daily dive into Huffington Post, Heavy, Upworthy and NPR. At a minimum, I scroll through a variety of publications, again, for perspective and so I can stay ahead of the news cycle, these range from TechCrunch, The Economist and Mashable to Variety, THR, The Wrap, JustJared, People, Byrdie, WWD, etc. the list goes on. It’s my job to know how the news is shaping the world and how it may pertain to the industries of our clients. I also listen to a couple of podcasts religiously, such as How I Built This with Guy Raz, The Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness, Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman and Pivot hosted by Kara Swisher & Scott Galloway. I think what resonates with me most is that you have to really be willing to hear everything from all sides to be able to build empathy and compassion and get to the root of why people do what they do and say what they say — It’s the only way to have a comprehensive understanding of the world.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fear of the unknown related to the coronavirus pandemic and the protests and race relations have heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, and loneliness. Can you share your “3 Reasons to Be Hopeful During this Unprecedented Time”?
I think there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful, here are a few:
YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF: What is the alternative, especially during this uneasy time? My theory is that sometimes hope is all we have, so we have to try and be positive on a daily basis. It is hard, no doubt, and yes, it is much easier to be down and sad, but ultimately that is no way to live. As humans, I think we should ALWAYS remain hopeful. While it’s sometimes unfathomable to think about, this is, after all, a GLOBAL Pandemic. It is not just affecting me, or you, or one segment of society or country, we are all affected in our own ways. I’m hopeful that we can show some solidarity to each other, for our friends, for our family, our pets, our dependents, even for the people we don’t know, and to lift each other up. While some may joke about it sounding cliché, the pandemic is a harsh reminder that we only have one life to live. I think we need to find a way to live it to the fullest (CARPE DIEM!) and keep reminding each other that this won’t be forever.
THE RESET: We get the opportunity to hit the reset button and take that mulligan. I feel like this has leveled the playing field in some ways. We can look at everything with fresh, and “new” eyes, in TIME and space to process and then execute socially, politically, creatively and economically. The best example I can give here is the civil rights movement that is happening now in 2020. The unnecessary and untimely deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of the police coupled with people having the time and space without distractions from work and the things that keep us “busy” so that we, the whole world, could finally give our HYPER FOCUSED attention to these injustices. Once and hopefully for all, the whole world is finally talking about race! Deep diving into our history and our past (and current) mistakes to try and atone & begin to dismantle the behaviors and institutions that keep systemic racism alive. We are now, looking at these issues head on, and hopefully fixing them from a local to a national and a personal to corporate level.
I’ve always hoped there would be a reckoning when it comes to race, but to be honest, while we have so much further to go, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure that we would make the kind of changes I see happening as a society so swiftly and with such great momentum as we are right now. Think about it, the government has forced Americans to shelter-in-place for over 4 months and then see these atrocities; What did we think was going to happen? Unhappy people who have more reason to be EVEN MORE upset and feel disenfranchised in this country and finally say enough is ENOUGH. Black Lives Matters. People are finally being held accountable and there are finally consequences to bad behavior. People are also feeling empowered to have a voice and be less afraid to speak up when they see injustices and I am hopeful (because I see it happening behind the scenes) that this will start to apply to ALL industries. I have even reflected on my own personal experiences and I am taking full responsibility that I need to change, learn and grow as well. I think we should all consider this a blessing that we are all able to make these changes in our lives.
THE ENVIRONMENT: Somehow the health and safety of our planet and our well-being have become politicized and people rail against just doing what’s right. We were in a place where it was easy to lose hope that we would course correct the devastating human impact we had made on the planet, but, because of the quarantine, we have had significant and lasting improvements on air and water quality. The reduction in traffic has led to less pollution in sea, air and land. In Venice, Italy the canals were clear, in India they saw blue skies and the lowest pollution levels and even our own city of Los Angeles once famous for its SMOG has had some of the best air quality in decades. I will say, as restrictions lift, I can see us falling into bad habits again, so I bring this up in the category of hope, so that we can continue to be aware and make adjustments and let mother nature keep healing herself.
From your experience or research, what are five ways we can effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious?
Though one because there are so many, but some of the more important once and the once that has helped me in my own life are:
-Be Positive; I believe there is enough negativity surrounding us, in our everyday lives, that are simply out of our control; One thing I have learned as a seasoned PR and Marketing executive is that the media loves negativity and many people thrive on it. There is an expression, “schadenfreude” — defined as “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune”, but I think it is important not to fall into that and to make an active choice to spread positivity and to help reinforce positive message, not just for ourselves but also for the world around us.
-Be Supportive; it’s important to be supportive and understanding, and that each and every one experiences anxiety for different reasons. What makes you anxious may not bother me at all, and vice versa. It’s important to be supportive no matter what the reasons or the circumstances are.
-Be Understanding; Again, as I mentioned above, it’s important to be supportive and in that same sense, be understanding. We don’t all experience the world the same way and therefore it’s important to understand that each of us experience and deal with anxiety in our own way.
-Be Helpful; A little help can go a long way and quickly put a smile on somebody’s face. Small gestures of kindness or just taking mundane tasks off another person’s plate can change someone’s day. it’s amazing what a little good deed can do to someone else’s life, but also amazing what a little good deep done for someone, can do to one’s own mental health.
-Be Nice; I say this over and over, and I don’t think it can be repeated enough. “Being Nice” takes very little effort on one’s part, (being rude requires much more work) and it’s amazing what that can do to someone else’s day. A simple “Please”, or “Thank You” or “I’m Sorry” goes a long way — and a simple smile even further. I’ve seen this again and again; positivity is infectious. Simply being nice with a smile on your face can help others feel more at ease and less anxious. Now, its easy for me to say these, but it doesn’t mean that these 5 things always come naturally. Even I sometimes have to catch myself.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
To be honest, I was not good at helping myself until this year but let me tell you SELF CARE is and should always be a priority in one’s life. If you aren’t well, you can’t help others. My team needs ME healthy. My clients need ME to be healthy, so I choose to pay much closer attention to my physical and mental health, and I am not sure why we don’t talk about it more openly. I am very fortunate I have such great mentors, role models, friends and family who are constantly reminding me to take care of myself. Here are the Five Steps I have found to be helpful with my anxiety so that it can help with anyone else feeling this way:
-I learned that CBD works wonders when dealing with the stress. I really love the brand Altwell and to find CBD in the form of a protein powder was a game changer that has definitely reduced the anxiety when I need it the most.
-Before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning before I get stared with my day, I try and meditate for 5–10 minutes. It may not seem like enough time, but that quick “me” time, gives me the grounding I need to feel worthy and less overwhelmed. Life is hard and now even more so with what we are dealing with in the world at the moment, its important to take a few minutes for yourself.
-One of my friends taught me a surprising trick, which was to up my skincare game. Who knew that doing a regimen would help reduce anxiety? EVERYONE should do this, and full disclosure, I am involved in this new skincare line called American Vanity but I’m telling you, I truly underestimated how amazing I would feel once I just spent a little time and got a few good products (like moisturizer and serum); It has been a gamechanger.
-There is not a day that goes by that I don’t do some form of exercise and break a sweat to reduce my anxiety and stress. I prefer to take an hour bike ride, or I do an online LIVE workout from HEALTH HOUSE at HOME… BUT I will admit, I do miss my gym.
-My friend, Chris Pan, who founded MyIntent, just started MYINTENTLIVE with free seminars and classes and I have been taking full advantage. These classes range from breathwork to positivity courses to meditation. Hundreds have been attending virtually and I hope more and more people use it as a resource. It’s free! There are roughly 40 Million people out of work (and rising) at the moment and we need to take care of these people because if we don’t, we are about to have a different type of pandemic on our hands come this fall/winter…
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Here is one of my favorite quotes: “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end” by John Lennon. I remind myself of this daily. If something bad happens, I think… Okay that is not how I want this to end. It is up to me to figure out how to create that happy ending for myself. This pandemic has been a perfect example of this. Most people saw the past 4 months as the worst 4 months of their entire lives. To be honest, I felt that way for the first 3 weeks. I couldn’t sleep, I was eating the worst food, I was feeling sorry for myself and couldn’t believe that I lost a portion of my business overnight (events) and it felt like everyone was just freaking out. Then I remembered the quote and said to myself, this isn’t the end. It can’t be. I won’t let it be. So, I changed my perspective and then I just focused on what I could do with what I had in my arsenal. I couldn’t do events for my clients; no problem, let’s do an influencer campaign instead. We can’t do traditional in person press meetings; no problem, let’s do a virtual summit where we can introduce products to the media. Here is the best part, after I changed my perspective, these past 4 months weren’t that bad at all. I have to admit, I’ve learned to be more resilient and innovative now, and have a renewed excitement like when I first started the agency! It’s actually breathed new life into me. I realized quickly that I didn’t have the option of stopping and becoming a victim, I needed to make sure I kept the company healthy, not just for me but my employees and my clients. By the grace of God, we are in a great place. Everything at EFG has gotten into a groove and we have been managing this working from home/ Zoom communications pretty well. Dare I say maybe as productive as when we were all under one roof.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have actually been thinking about this lately. I’d love to start “The Good Movement”. Where the media highlights more of the GOOD and important things that people are doing. My Partner always says to me: “Where is the modern day Bob Hope of WWII?”; we look to the news and its overwhelmingly bad, no one has said, enough is enough, our society is too focused on the doom and gloom and I don’t want to point fingers but again, I do know the media has to take some blame here. We need to find the good stories in the bad and stop the spin. We need inspirations and hope, someone to tell us it’s going to be okay. There is light at the end of the tunnel. During the height of the protests I saw so much reporting on “looting” and the negativity of the demonstrations, the sensation, but not nearly enough news focus on the actual movement itself, the WHY it’s happening! It’s a civil rights revolution and the media just does not do a good enough job highlighting the important stories to help the world understand WHY it’s happening and WHAT we can do to support and change things as a society.
What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?
The best place is my Instagram @REMBRANDT and my newly launched talk show on TikTok appropriately named 1 Minute with Rembrandt. You can follow my “TOK” show @1MWR and watch me interview my favorite celebrities, CEOs, artists, leaders to find out more of what makes them “TIK”. I introduced a new segment on the show called Minute to Win it where I play these silly games with them so if you want to see me and some of the most interesting people in the world get a little ridiculous, come check it out. We all need some levity right now, even for just one minute.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in all of your endeavors!
Thank you for interviewing me. It’s a crazy time and I am grateful to be able to share a little bit of my perspective in hopes that it might help remind some people that they’re not alone. We are truly all in this together.