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Sabrina Hutchinson of Defiant Public Relations: “Remember that we are more powerful than we realize.”

Remember that we are more powerful than we realize. It’s hard to think clearly when we are in a state of panic or dread. And when we are in fear, it can bring out the worst of each of us. Realizing we have the power to lift ourselves into a state of hopefulness — even if […]

Remember that we are more powerful than we realize. It’s hard to think clearly when we are in a state of panic or dread. And when we are in fear, it can bring out the worst of each of us. Realizing we have the power to lift ourselves into a state of hopefulness — even if it is only for moments each day — is in itself hopeful, and a reminder that we are more powerful, capable, and resilient than we may have realized.


As part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sabrina Hutchinson.

She is an award-winning entertainment publicist who founded entertainment PR firm Defiant Public Relations in 2011 and since then has worked with clients including Orlando Jones, Nicole Beharie, Brian Tee, composers Bear McCreary, Gordy Haab, Tree Adams, Rolfe Kent, and corporate clients including Whole Planet Foundation and numerous others. Crafting experiences that challenge the clichéd tactics of the past, Defiant is the PR and branding agency that connects creative people and companies with people who matter — and Sabrina Hutchinson is at the helm.


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 your specific career path?

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. My mother was incredibly creative and was an amazing hostess. I took a lot of notes from her. At the age of seven, I talked her into planning a carnival to raise money for muscular dystrophy, and more or less, I’ve been a producer and event planner ever since. As a child, I was an artist and performer. I studied fine art, dance, acted in plays, and played several instruments. Music and entertainment have always been a huge part of my life — again, thanks to my mom. Through several career iterations, a throughline is that I’ve always worked with creative talent. After studying business in college, I managed and promoted bands and other artists in the ’90s, managed recording studios, and later worked as a creative recruiter. In 2011, after moving to Los Angeles, I formed Defiant Public Relations.

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?

A book that I really like and one I recommend to anyone in a service role is called “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith. It’s a pocket-sized book with fantastic examples of how to succeed in a service business. I also love “What Color is Your Parachute” by the late Richard Nelson Bolles. There may have never been a more important time than right now to read that book. It’s an absolute must-read for anyone interested in finding a career they love.

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 fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Take care of yourself first. Each of us is likely being pulled in many directions at once right now, but it’s essential that we each take care of ourselves first so that we may be of service to those close to us. It’s the “Oxygen Mask” theory of ensuring we are each healthy — and that means not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It’s important that we remain hopeful despite how uncertain things are. Hope helps us remain calm. It helps to facilitate a state of homeostasis. It helps keep us from spiraling, panicking, and becoming anxious and/ or depressed.

Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Hope is everywhere — if we look for it! We may be struggling each day to find hope right now, but it is there. If we are struggling, we may wish to start from a place of gratitude. “What am I grateful for right now?” Is it that I still have a job? That I have a home? That I still have food in my fridge? Family? Pets? Friends? Health? Youth? Wisdom? A good sense of humor? I can begin by making a list of what I am grateful for and before long, I will develop an “attitude of gratitude” which can guide me to a place of hope.

Stay in the present moment. For many people, there is an overwhelming amount of change and uncertainty right now, which can understandably set off panic bells. But we each have the powerto quiet those alarms, to re-focus, and to look for what is OK, what is right, and even, what is great in each moment. Even for those who do not practice a religion or have a particular faith, we can still pause and ask “am I OK right now? And right now? And right now?” and with that simple exercise, perhaps gain a new perspective and a new hope.

Avoid activities that add to the anxiety. I personally limit the amount of “bad news” I take in, whether that be social media, news, or individual interactions. As I mentioned, staying in the moment helps alleviate anxiety, and ingesting “news” immediately takes me out of the moment, so I have to set limits to maintain balance.

Activities that are grounding are also essential. I’ve had amazing doctors tell me that one of the best grounding activities is to stand or walk barefoot on the earth. It can be sand, grass, or dirt. I also favor several types of meditation — kundalini, silent meditation, and guided meditation — all of which create a sense of wellbeing, and produce almost instantaneous results.

Remember that we are more powerful than we realize. It’s hard to think clearly when we are in a state of panic or dread. And when we are in fear, it can bring out the worst of each of us. Realizing we have the power to lift ourselves into a state of hopefulness — even if it is only for moments each day — is in itself hopeful, and a reminder that we are more powerful, capable, and resilient than we may have realized.

To be in a state of hope is to be a beacon of hope for others. Perhaps we never imagined that we were capable of doing great things. Perhaps we never dreamed of being a leader, or thought that we were courageous. But each of us is capable of great things that we may not even realize. We have the power to choose how we will react in each moment. Will I look for an opportunity to create? Innovate? Motivate? Serve? Learn? I look forward with hope to the greatness that will emerge from these difficult days.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

In addition to the suggestions above, I recommend connecting with others throughout the day by phone and video conferencing, spending as much time outside as possible each day, and if anxiety, depression, anger, or other overwhelming feelings persist, reach out to a trained mental health professional.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote “To thine own self be true.” More than a single story, this quote is true to my heart because it brings me to a centered and knowing place whenever I think of it. It often comes to me during times of uncertainty and it always guides me back to a place of strength and clarity, which is so important right now.

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 would encourage people to do more to support charitable organizations in whatever way they can. I would also encourage employers to provide paid time off for employees to do acts of service and also to match charitable giving. There are wonderful organizations doing great work around the world. For me, some of them include The Ocean Cleanup, Endangered Species Protection Fund, Meals on Wheels, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

On Twitter at @Brunetteinc and @DefiantPR and on Instagram at @DefiantPublicRelations

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

I appreciate you tremendously. Thank you!

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