Don’t let anything or anyone intimidate you — walk right in like you belong — because you do. On my second trip to Hollywood I walked right into any group of people that looked interesting at one high profile party- and was accepted- and made great connections- every time.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tracy Lamourie,a high profile international award winning publicist. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Lamourie Media Inc. a Universal Women’s Network 2020 Woman of Inspiration Winner for the Women In Media award and the author of the upcoming book GET REPPED — Build Your Brand With Effective Public and Media Relations. She is a well-known longtime advocate on a myriad of important worldwide issues and an award-winning international publicist working across industries from major entertainment projects to small businesses. Tracy is passionate about amplifying important messages and being a voice for those who most need one. Recognized by media around the world for her 20-year campaign that ultimately helped free an innocent man from death row to her work getting clients major media attention and for her local community work, she is the winner of the FIRST PLACE PLATINUM award Hamilton Spectator Readers Choice for PR 2018, Diamond 2019. She has been frequently quoted in the international media on both human rights issues and as a Public Relations thought leader. A frequent guest on TV, radio and high-profile podcasts around the world on topics of leadership, empowerment, and entrepreneurship as well as all aspects of media and public relations. She is a 2020 RBC Women of Influence Nominee and was also recently nominated for the internationally prestigious 2020 Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.
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 was an only child growing up in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. My family moved to Toronto, the most populous, diverse city in Canada when I was ten years old. My parents divorced when I was eleven, and both re — married. My father never had any other children, but my mom had two boys — my brothers Andrew and Dominic — one born on my sixteenth birthday — and the other born when I was eighteen. So in my later teenage years I had siblings, which was awesome, even though primarily I grew up as an only child. I loved reading, and wanted to be a writer! I do a lot of writing in my work today, so I guess I am, kinda!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I came to Publicity and Media in an extraordinary way — it’s a trajectory that I don’t think any other publicist can claim — and it had nothing to do with entertainment. As an activist and advocate I was trying to get international attention for an innocent man on death row named Jimmy Dennis — who was finally released in 2017. That’s how I learned to write a press release. It was several more years before I turned my attention to the world of entertainment — and interestingly, by the time I did — Jimmy Dennis had been released from death row and was in the recording studio recording some epic music getting industry attention!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I don’t know if it’s the MOST interesting — but it’s one of my career stories attached to Hollywood that makes me laugh! It’s about my first business trip to Hollywood, in early 2018. I was sitting in a bar in Burlington, Ontario, watching a client’s band on stage with a couple of friends when I suddenly got the news that I had to hightail it out of there, get home, get packaged, get to the next city an hour away to get on an 8 AM flight to Hollywood, for Oscars night parties. Finding out I had to be in Hollywood with a client I had never met in person yet, dressed with hair to the nines ready to party less than 12 hours from the time I was sitting in a little local bar watching a show. Somehow I made it… and sure enough my client was there to greet me at the airport! I was in town for three days that first time, and managed to make it count, getting a lot of work done, making a ton of connections AND getting to know the town. I’ve really been missing my Hollywood home away from home through covid!
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?
Going back to that unexpected whirlwind trip to Hollywood for Oscar night afterparties with the Canadian client who was thrilled because I had connected him with some big names and got him access to some super exclusive industry parties… Arriving in Hollywood feeling like a lucky little lady in the city of light like the old Doors song says… with my hair a mess thinking I can get my hair done… hours before the after parties, in Hollywood, on Oscars night. There was NO ONE available. I still laugh when I think of myself in the lobby of the bathroom at the fancy W hotel at Hollywood and Vine trying to make my hair look at least half ok for Hollywood with a curling iron I bought at the pharmacy down the street. NOT happening. LOL! Hilariously, on my next trip into town I was accompanying my other client, Karen Walliington, a celebrity hair stylist and loctician founder of Modlocks and co founder of Noggin Oil- so my hair looked KILLER Hollywood good the SECOND time I hit town at least! This time I brought my own stylist… or she brought me! Live and learn!
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 a lot of people to thank! My parents Jeannine Cote and Len Lamourie for encouraging the little girl who always wanted to read and write — that taught me how to communicate and to express myself which has led to me having a strong and powerful voice which led me to this career where I am honored to amplify the voices of others and tell the stories of others …Thank you to Jimmy Dennis whose terrible case of injustice and innocence inspired me to learn how to write a press release two decades ago. Thank you to my son Cassidy and my daughter Haily -for putting up with my long hours and work obsessions and, well, just for being. And of course thanks go out always to my friend, partner in business and everything, and husband of more than 25 years, Dave Parkinson, who has been together with me for every project and every success. Thanks to my many supportive friends, online and off, who are always there with a pump-me-up encouraging word! And big thanks to the many amazing people across industries who become Lamourie Media clients choosing us to amplify their messages to the world.
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?
It might sound like a cliche but it all comes down to believing in yourself, believing in your talent and your skills, and believing that you have something to offer and that you deserve a seat at the table. The difference between those who achieve success and those who watch and wish they could be there too is simply DOING. Be there. Take the first step. To quote the Rocky Horror Picture show, Don’t dream it. BE it. Or as Nike says — just do it. Really, just do it. Then you — and others will see you can — and then you’re halfway up the mountain already.
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?
What I love is the ability to use this powerful medium to tell people’s stories, to feel the experiences of others, to create understanding, to hear their voices. The ability to bring people outside of their own experiences and personal understandings to really feel the world from the perspective of another — even if only for a couple of hours — that is magical. And like all of the work I do across industries in PR and publicity, its a thrill to help someone build their dream, to see something that developed in the mind of a creative client become real and tangible!
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?
On the TV and film side of things I’m working on three major projects right now. With Effortless Pictures, UK, I’m working on a fascinating new sci fi series in development called Secret of Svalbard and also on a film that I can’t tell you much about yet but that has something to do with the wonderful world of New York comedy. And with the incredible Anita Erskine, one of the most famous broadcasters and actresses on the continent of Africa on an international version of her acclaimed series Sheroes. And two of my other power women clients in two different industries have some major television in the works that I can’t talk about publicly yet! I’m also working on developing TV properties for a couple of other clients, so there is a lot going on!
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?
It’s absolutely important for young people to see themselves reflected in the media and even toys around them. Even as a young white kid I got some insight into this when I was young enough to play with Barbies and the like back in the late 70s. I remember clearly when they came out with Donny and Marie action figures. I had only the vaguest idea of who they were and didn’t really care — but when that Marie doll came out, I wanted it and badly. Why? Because I had never seen a doll with brown hair like mine. I wanted the Cher doll that came out around the same time for the same reason. I treasured the Marie and Cher dolls not because I knew or cared who they were at that age but because I was thrilled to have a couple of dolls with brown hair like mine in the sea of blonde. So how much must that feeling be multiplied in children who additionally deal with struggles as a result of racism and hatred. It’s important that we celebrate #BeatifulBeautifulBeautifulBlackSkin (the hashtag created by Jimmy Dennis, now freed from death row and making musical magic that matters in his song Hate The Skin I’m in, that came out this summer, a commentary on racism in America but also a call to love yourself and the beautiful skin you are in, no matter who tells you different!
3 reasons it’s important that the industry be diverse? First, every industry should be diverse, period. This is something executives, shareholders, company owners across industries need to be cognizant of and make every effort to ensure. Second- By virtue of its visibility and the attention entertainment is given, those with power in film and TV should make a special effort to get this right and to ensure they are providing an equal playing field to all and considering the talents of people of all ages, races, experiences, sexualities….both in terms of those we see on screen and the many people who work hard behind it. Third- the industry will be telling better, wider human stories if there are varied voices with the power to come to the screen.
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 let anything or anyone intimidate you — walk right in like you belong — because you do. On my second trip to Hollywood I walked right into any group of people that looked interesting at one high profile party- and was accepted- and made great connections- every time.
- Being present makes a difference. As much as I can do 98 percent of my connecting and networking in the virtual world — buying the plane ticket to show up and get some face time in makes a big difference.
- Everyone in Hollywood makes promises on awards nights and at events that fade into the ether like the champagne bubbles in your glass. Take a meeting the next day,make a deal, get it in writing.
- Know your boundaries and establish firm boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no whether it’s to a client or to an opportunity if it doesn’t align with your values, strategies or comfort zones. You will be respected more when you set limits than when you let someone walk over you.
- Make sure you know who you are working with. Don’t be fooled by those putting their best face forward — if someone has a trail of enemies and burnt bridges behind them that is a major red flag. I unfortunately ignored the very clear warning signs in one instance and learned never to do that again!
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.
Since I was very young, my hot bubble bath with a book or magazine in my hand has been my happy place. These days that is how I end every 16 hour work day, whether at home or during one of my luxe hotel forays (huge shoutout to Intercontinental Montreal that treated me so well when I was there celebrating my Women Of Inspiration Women In Media 2020 win!). Self care for me at home is pretty much a book and a hot bath but every couple of months even if we have nowhere to go we will book a luxury hotel room an hour away in Toronto or Niagara Falls just for the big fluffy hotel pillows, room service, sparkling lights out of an upper floor window…. Then back to work.
Also reading. It has always reduced any stress I was feeling taking me swiftly into another world, another mindset. I can be mad or sad and in a few pages that is all sucked away…especially if I am reading while soaking in the tub. Just talking about it is relaxing.
I am also a huge fan of medical cannabis. Nothing like a fine indica, legal in both my home country of Canna-da, and in Hollywood — after an 18 hour media workday.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I didn’t get this far to only get this far.”
I think this one is self explanatory. I say it to Jimmy Dennis a lot when we are talking these days. No matter how imperfect things might be these days he is calling from a cell phone…not from a cell on death row — and he’s in the studio making incredible music. And I was once a low level marketer making minimum wage — and now I’m an international award winning media publicist. But we didn’t come this far to only come this far — we aren’t done yet. This is a wonderful, motivating, uplifting phrase for anyone no matter where they are in life or what they have been through. So remember this, whoever reads or hears these words. This means you. You did not come this far, you did not get through everything you got through to be standing here in this time and place, to fall apart now. You got this. Keep going.
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?
An overhaul of the entire criminal justice system. That means killing the prison industrial complex, ending the death penalty across the United States, examining and accounting for how racism and the decimation of black communities contribute to incarceration rates, accountability in policing, the legalization of cannabis everywhere. My husband and business partner Dave Parkinson and I have focused a lot of our not for profit and volunteer advocacy work on these issues since the mid 90s when we met.
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 am an old jaded publicist who is rarely excited by celebrity anymore.
I would really like to have lunch with my mom who lives 12 hours away or my dad who lives just a few hours away neither of whom I have been able to see much through this whole covid mess because they have been isolating. And my old friend Laura Pardo. I miss her a ton. These are the people I would most like to do lunch with. Legit. Twelve year old me would like to throw in that I wouldn’t say no to Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr either.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!